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Sugar clubbed

David Mitchell’s own opinions are a bit right-on for me (right-on generally being the opposite of right, in either sense). But unlike the ordinarily right-on, he is prepared to countenance being mistaken, and frequently an acute critic. This bit of his latest Observer column is lucid and perfectly to the point:

Gordon Brown is either so short of ideas or so despises the electorate that he thinks the best way to demonstrate that the government is coping with the biggest business crisis in a century is to make it the responsibility of a man whose day job is telling self-regarding mediocrities that they should take off their Mexican hats before trying to put on their jumpers. A man who has made himself rich, but whose career as a tycoon has gone sufficiently quiet that he’s got time to do TV.

Top-end billionaires are too busy for that – Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson don’t have their own programmes, they have their own channels. Alan Sugar is no longer primarily a businessman – he portrays one on TV. Brown might as well have given the new tsardom to the bloke who played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses

What is even more depressing than Brown thinking that this might impress people is that the Tories, the only plausible alternative government, agree.

Sir Alan’s TV role is caricature capitalism. (Am I the only one who hears the the Fry & Laurie Dammit sketch, itself mocking business-set melodrama, when the apprentices talk?) It is alarming if the Tories think that the public might think that the appointment is any more than more window-dressing, and more alarming that they are engaging in manoeuvres to reinforce that impression. They should be mocking a Government that holds reality TV to be a model for reality.

But what if both Mitchell and I and all the other cynical commentators are wrong, and the Conservatives are wisely containing a real threat? What if the public is impressed?

8 comments to Sugar clubbed

  • RayD

    For those with long memories I would have favoured Arthur Daley for business, and for those with even longer memories, Flash Harry for education. I’m sure George Cole would also play a very convincing lord.

  • Kevin B

    Alan Sugar has always struck me as the business equivalent of the plucky British athlete who records a personal best at the Olympics and just fails to qualify for the semi-finals. Celebrated and begonged by the establishment for ‘services to whatever’, but totally irrelevant on the world stage.

    Perhaps Gordon should have co-opted the coaching and management teams who turned our cyclists or rowers into gold medal winners. (Perhaps he tried and they told him they don’t associate with losers.)

    Sadly, the one area where we once boasted world class performance – the City – is being blamed, along with the dastardly Yanks, for our current predicament and will soon be regulated into mediocrity.

  • David Gillies

    The distinction between faux tycoons having TV programmes vs. real tycoons having TV networks is a trope of abounding genius.

  • RAB

    Given that 90% of Lord Spoonfuls current portfolio is in Property, not industry, it just goes to show how totally Broon has lost the plot.

    Oh and his sons seem to be the CEOs of the various companies.
    I dont remember seeing any of them on the Apprentice!
    Howd they get the job I wonder?

    And a Socialist Capitalist is a running dog that should be shot on sight!

  • John K

    Normally Mitchell gets on my tits, but he’s right about this. Mind you, Lord Sugar isn’t going to be in charge of anything. Even he doesn’t seem to know what he’ll be doing, or even if he’ll be part of the government. I think this just serves to show that this appointment was made on the hoof by a PM desperate to find anyone who’ll love him enough to be in his big tent.

    I do hope Lord Sugar’s property empire is doing all right. At the start of “The Apprentice” they always used to say he had a £600 million business empire, then the next year a £700 million business empire, then an £800 million business empire. This year it was just “a vast business empire.” Oh dear, I do hope he can continue to find a job somewhere in his vast business empire for his next apprentice.

  • Sugar is a dreadful cunt. End of.

  • Eric Tavenner

    If the public is impressed the only thing that will possibly benefit you is to run for cover.

  • watcher in the dark

    It is possible that Broon sees himself as Sugar: him on one side of the big table saying things like “It’s an absolute shambles” and “I don’t want to hear any more” while the rest of cabinet are sheepishly gathered on the other side of the table, being browbeaten and made to feel small.

    But I want to know then just who Broon’s Nick and Margaret are.