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Subject: "Politicians at the Ballet" Archived thread - Read only
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Brendan McCarthymoderator

14-06-01, 10:08 AM (GMT)
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"Politicians at the Ballet"
   There's an interesting potential conflict of interest for Baroness Blackstone, who has been appointed Minister at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. She is still a Governor of the Royal Ballet. Several years ago she actually chaired the ballet board, and played a walk-on part in the BBC documentary "The House" (I can't remember the context. Can anyone?) She declares her membership of the RB Governors in the Register of Lords' Interests. While there was no undue conflict during her time as Higher Education minister, will she now have to resign?

I'm hard pressed to think of serious political players who have had a warmth towards dance. There was John Maynard Keynes of course, and Harold Wilson had a particular affection for 'Swan Lake', which he saw many times. But of the present generation Michael Portillo is one of the very few I have seen around the foyers.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Politicians at the Ballet Robert 15-06-01 1
     RE: Politicians at the Ballet timpow 15-06-01 2
     RE: Politicians at the Ballet Jonathan 16-06-01 3
  Does Michael Portillo read this site? Jane S 16-06-01 4
     Politicians and dance Susan Black 19-06-01 5
         "Like politics, ballet is harder than it looks" - Tory chall... Brendan 19-06-01 6

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15-06-01, 07:58 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Robert Click to send private message to Robert Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "RE: Politicians at the Ballet"
In response to message #0
   Although I am pleased that a ballet supporter has been made Arts Minister, I am surprised. During the turmoil time at Covent Garden Baroness Blackstone did not fight a good corner for the Royal Ballet. Poor Anthony Dowell got the blame, and she is now rewarded. Presumably she will now resign from Covent Garden even though some predict the Arts Ministry will not last long.
Another conflict of interest (not a ballet one) could be that Sir Colin Southgate is boss of EMI . and Covent Garden may start Sunday concerts of pop music by EMI artists.
Finally Harold Wilson’s interest was not really in ballet but Gilbert and Sullivan, his son wrote a book about them and he wrote the preface. Mo Mowlem was keen on Matthew Bourne’s ballets, I hope it did not lead to her demise! Peter Mandelson was supposed to be interestd in dance but has anyone seen him in the audience? Quite a few Tories were and some still are attendees at the Opera but New Labour are more interested in Football Motor Racing and Pop.

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15-06-01, 08:18 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail timpow Click to send private message to timpow Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "RE: Politicians at the Ballet"
In response to message #1
   This is almost prehistoric and certainly Old Labour but I remember that Anuerin Bevan and his wife Jennie Lee were both to be seen at the ROH appreciating ballet performances.

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16-06-01, 06:46 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Jonathan Click to send private message to Jonathan Click to add this user to your buddy list  
3. "RE: Politicians at the Ballet"
In response to message #1
   >Although I am pleased that a
>ballet supporter has been made
>Arts Minister <...>"

A minor point, but we don't have Arts any more, we have Culture, Media and Sport. Call it celebrating diversity. Or embracing equivalence maybe.

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Jane S

16-06-01, 09:54 AM (GMT)
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4. "Does Michael Portillo read this site?"
In response to message #0

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Susan Black

19-06-01, 12:05 PM (GMT)
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5. "Politicians and dance"
In response to message #4
   Quote from an essay by Michael Linton in the American literary review, "First Things" (http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9903/opinion/linton.html

Plato’s ideal state was never established in antiquity. But his musical ideas weren’t forgotten. In 1570, as France was being torn by the wars of religion, Charles IX’s Catholic intelligentsia prodded him into creating the Académie de Poésie et de Musique. In the lettres patents which created the academy, the king declared that "it is of great importance for the morals of the citizens of a town that the music current in the country should be kept under certain laws, all the more so because men conform themselves to music and regulate their behavior accordingly, so that whenever music is disordered, morals are also depraved, and whenever it is well ordered, men are well tutored."

"It was the king’s hope that proper music–making would restore order to his land, ending the bloodshed between Catholic and Protestant, or, if not ending it, at least making the Protestants take their humiliations a little more quietly. Here we have the "Mozart effect" roughly two hundred years before Mozart’s birth. Problem is, it didn’t work. French Protestants and Catholics did not lay down their arms and embrace each other upon hearing the strain of fifes playing music in the Dorian mode. Plato’s educational theories—on this point at least—are sheer nonsense. Do we really believe that training in ballet (which is really the union of gymnastics and music that Plato is talking about) is the best preparation for politics? Should Winston Churchill have spent more time in a tutu? The idea that requiring boys to listen to music in a particular mode will make them act with courage is perhaps the stupidest notion a great mind has ever come up with. Play whatever music you like for them—boys will be boys. And Pythagoras was wrong. The perfect fifth is not the temporal manifestation of supra–cosmic divinity sent to illuminate the land with transcendence. Moses did not come down the mountain with a tuning fork (nor, for that matter, did Muhammad or Jesus or Joseph Smith).

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19-06-01, 01:27 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan Click to send private message to Brendan Click to add this user to your buddy list  
6. ""Like politics, ballet is harder than it looks" - Tory challenger"
In response to message #5
   After Michael Portillo launched his campaign for the Tory leadership with a photocall at ENB, it now turns out that Ian Duncan Smith's mother was a ballet dancer. This excerpt from Michael White's piece in today's Guardian:

"Smithy" (Duncan Smith's father)" was still flying combat missions in the Malayan emergency in the 50s, though by now he was married - to a ballet dancer he met in Naples in 1946. "Politics is war and poetry. Like politics, ballet is much harder work than it looks," their son says".


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