Frank Field MP
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More Simon Cowells Please

The Independent on Sunday yesterday carried the '50 smuggest Britons'. How did they make this choice? The article was billed in the following terms:

'They are pleased with themselves, very often with no discernible cause, and our stand-in PM, Lord Mandelson, proved last week he is the Daddy of them all'.

The IoS assured its readers that it had deliberated long and hard over who should feature in their 50 'cats that got the cream'.

One of these, high up in the table, is Simon Cowell. The IoS bills him as 'the man who owns the TV show which makes the stars who make the records which Simon sells by the truckload'.

That is one description of him. But there is another, much more flattering reading of his abilities.

He thrives in a host of talent-spotting shows by being brutally frank. Goodness knows why most of those appear wish to appear. Some of them must be chosen because they are so inept, and one hopes they can put their lives together quickly enough after the audience has ceased laughing at them.

But Simon Cowell's strength, as I see it, is not simply in allowing and indeed encouraging people to make fools of themselves, his specialism is being frank about their talents.

Part of his appeal is that this sort of character, that used to be common in all different stages of our lives, is now almost absent. People are not told early on that they are wasting their time and that their talents could be better used in other directions.

It seems to me we don't want less of what the IoS describes as ‘the smug Mr. Cowell'. We want more, although not necessarily of him, but of the brutal truth that he brings to his role as decision maker.

One can but imagine how different the British economy would have been if employers had had his insight, and backed it with the necessary ruthlessness, in ensuring that British manufacturing modernised. Instead of earning their pay, all too many of these employers took the quiet option, took the money and never confronted their labour force with brutal truths about international competition for a country so dependent as we are on international trade.

Likewise wouldn't the Labour Government have turned out so differently had Tony Blair had the courage after John Smith died to tell Gordon Brown to challenge him? Instead of being brutally frank, telling Gordon that he welcomed a challenge and that he would humiliate him - as I believe he would have done - the weak compromise was born of an inoperative power sharing agreement which crippled the last three Labour governments.

So three cheers for Simon Cowell. The PLP could do with someone of his abilities to tell them what the options are if the party is not to collapse into a mega electoral defeat next year.
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Showing comments 1 to 2 of 2

You are Labour's Simon Cowell but they won't listen. You deserve more than being part of such a discredited party.
Comment by Anonymous on 15 Jul 2011
A mega electoral defeat next year - I can't wait!!
Comment by Anonymous on 15 Jul 2011

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