..was the response from the satirical impressionist Rory Bremner to Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain’s accusation that he was “spreading cynicism and embitterment about politicians”. Both were appearing on the BBC’s Sunday AM politics show with Andrew Marr – clip here [Realplayer file] – when the discussion, on Bremner’s slightly dodgy phone-calls to certain ministers of state, got a little heated – one was promoting a new TV series, the other continuing his campaign to be deputy leader of the Labour Party.. another candidate, Hazel Blears, was on The Politics Show later in the day. The apparent trigger for the row was Bremner’s question – “I want to know who’s impersonating Peter Hain? Because I remember you as a leftwing, ideological figure.”.. btw here’s the Guardian’s Michael White with a reasonable take on the row. Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon picks up the sceptical baton, and points to the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, praising the advantages of a city-centre based stadium over a suburban one… Of course, Peter Hain made these comments whilst wearing his Welsh hat..
Mr Hain’s direct rule team has repeatedly dismissed calls for a new sports stadium for Northern Ireland to be located in Belfast rather than the former Maze Prison site near Lisburn.
But, comparing the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to the new Wembley Stadium in London at the weekend, Mr Hain said that holding events in a city centre rather than the suburbs created a “wonderful atmosphere”.
Mr Hain told BBC Radio Five Live the Millennium Stadium was “probably one of the best in the world”.
He emphasised the advantage of it being “right in the centre of Cardiff” , and continued: “there’s a wonderful atmosphere of people milling around the streets, which become pedestrianised, coming in and out of pubs and restaurants and cafes and flooding into the ground.
“And it’s a great sense of occasion, much more so, I think, than it will be when the … new Wembley Stadium opens, because Wembley is in a suburb rather than a city centre.” [added emphasis]
The comments have met with approval from many of those opposed to the siting of the stadium at the former prison, who claim it will be hard for supporters to reach.
“This obviously vindicates what we and others have been saying in that a stadium in a city centre is what would be best for Northern Ireland, and even the Secretary of State knows that’s the case,” said Gary McAllister, a spokesman for the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs.
But, it could also be said that the Secretary of State for Wales etc isn’t slow in encouraging cynicism about other politicians when he sees fit.. nor is the NIO come to that..
Remember. Not cynical.. just sceptical.