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Monday, 6 June 2016

The slippery slope to satirising standards regulators

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer famously took the awarding of a Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger as his cue for retirement from writing satirical songs. He said that that choice of Nobel Peace Prize winner betokened the death of satire, as satire had become reality.

Tom Paxton who had recognised Lehrer as a model in his own path toward writing satirical songs took that Peace Prize award for Kissinger as his cue to write a hard-hitting song about just some of Kissinger's 'accomplishments' in a song called The White Bones of Allende.(1)

I was reminded of that Tom Lehrer story by my discovery over the weekend of who the current Conservative Government had chosen to operate as commissioners of the Care Quality Commission that is supposed to help regulate services dedicated to the well-being of vulnerable people in care homes, etc.

A big difference between the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize for 'Dr K' and the Conservative Government's choice of Care Quality Commissioners has been the level of publicity given to those two events. I would argue that my discovery via the Disability News Service website of the fact that the Care Quality Commission has in effect been privatised serves to emphasise for me the enormous need for the Disability News Service in publicising what we the public would otherwise be largely ignorant of.

I already knew from discussion at a Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group meeting that the current Conservative Government had sold the previously State-owned Remploy to Maximus, the company that took over from Atos Healthcare in administering Work Capability Assessments for the Department for Work & Pensions. For further information, go to Disability News Service article Cancelled inspections by care watchdog rise 360 per cent in one year.


  1. http://www.funtrivia.com/en/Music/Paxton-Tom-18070_2.html
  2. http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/cancelled-inspections-by-care-watchdog-rise-360-per-cent-in-one-year/


  1. Thanks, Dude, for reminding me of the singer, Tom Paxton (and for providing the link to this blog in a comment on "Wembley Matters").

    I remember going to a concert of his in Hammersmith, around 1975, and the lyrics of one of his satirical songs have stayed with me ever since. I will set them out, in full, below.

    The song was about Richard Nixon's first U.S. Vice-President, and was called "The Ballad of Spiro Agnew". It went:
    'I'll sing you a song about Spiro T. Agnew
    and all the good things he has done.'

    Long live satire!


  2. Thanks, Philip.

    Yes, I remember it well, though I'd say that there have been far better Tom Paxton satirical songs since, such as If You Love That Politician (Pull the Chain) and We All Sound the Same.

    Paxton is still going very well musically for a smoker, and his website is TomPaxton.com, though my enthusiasm for his stuff has been somewhat compromised by his choice of distributor for his latest album, as advertised on his website.

    Dude Swheatie of Kwug