Monday, 9 June 2008

Hodge hassled

Over at the Palace of Westminster, it looks like it's time to break out the coffee and biscuits:

Tourism Minister Margaret Hodge was involved in an extraordinary slanging match with one of the leaders of the British holiday industry at a cocktail reception on the House of Commons terrace.

Guests were shocked as Mrs Hodge stormed off after clashing with Philip Green, chairman of UK Inbound, a trade group that encourages foreigners to take holidays in Britain.

She was furious after guests booed her speech. One heckled: 'You don't know what you are talking about,' and she fired back: 'Yes I do, you are totally wrong.'

Mr Green had enraged Mrs Hodge by accusing the Government of driving away foreign tourists with 'high taxes disguised as green initiatives, ridiculous red tape and a schizophrenic approach to air travel'.

She stormed: 'I came here for a pleasant summer evening on the terrace, not to be lectured.'

Mrs Hodge then claimed British hotels were overpriced and big visitor attractions offered poor service - and left the moment her speech was over.

One guest said: 'I have never seen anything like it on the terrace before - there was heckling and even booing.'
I can't profess to be an expert on the state of the British tourism industry, but if the government's handling of tourism has been anything close to its handling of the rest of the economy, and, indeed, the nation as a whole, then Philip Green probably has every right to feel aggrieved. And you can hardly blame him for acting as he did. After all, if you had the opportunity to tell Margaret Hodge, or any other government minister, what you think about the way they're running the country, would you pass it up?

But in any event, isn't the mental image triggered by this story absolutely wonderful? I wouldn't generally advise overindulgence in hubristic schadenfreude, but surely the thought of the odious Hodge being jeered and then throwing a childish tantrum merits at least one discreet chuckle!


Alex said...

So Madame Hodge appears on the Commons terrace with her cauldron of cant and gets heckled while ladling it out to a tourism trade group. I don't care what the 'issue' was about, I'm just happy to hear that the ghastly Hodge was choked off.

Anonymous said...

I don't wish to be rude, but if you don't get your country back soon, you can kiss any and all tourism revenues good bye, permanently. Tourists come to see England, not Northern Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

I truly believe NuLabour are suicidal and want to take the rest of the country with them.

Anybody from anywhere is being invited to work at British 'sensitive sites' such as the nuclear waste storage facility at Sellafield.

It only takes one Muslim with a low yield suitcase-sized nuclear weapon expoded in the right place in Sellafield's high-level waste-storage to take out most of Western Europe. Even a conventional explosion would make a hell of a mess.

A Muslim inside a nuclear power station wouldn't need to smuggle any explosives in do a reasonable repeat performance of Chernobyl, which after all was an Homer Simpson style 'accident' rather than deliberate sabotage.

Sound far-fetched? Check out these links:

"And Jack Straw's mullah-coddling is particularly unworthy in that, insofar as Iran has a strategy, the president's chief adviser, Hassan Abbassi, has based it on the premise that "Britain is the mother of all evils" - the evils being America, Australia, Israel, the Gulf states and even Canada and New Zealand, all of which are the malign progeny of the British Empire. "We have established a department that will take care of England," said Mr Abbassi last May. "England's demise is on our agenda."


"The newspaper has a tape recording of Abbasi when he spoke of Iran's secret plans, which include "a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization." To bring this about, Abbasi said, "There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them."