Down with Thatcher and Reagan!

268 - Down with Thatcher and Reagan!

Speak Up features an interview with the “performance coaching” guru Sir John Whitmore. In the interview he talked about the culture of irresponsibility that helped create the recent financial crisis. Here he discusses the role of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan:

Sir John Whitmore (Standard British accent):
Thatcher and Reagan were very retrogressive, in terms of producing a form of economic structure that was very selfish and self-centered: the glorification of the individual. And actually, in the short term, there were some economic benefits in that; in the long term there have been serious social damage from that.
The English-speaking countries have a higher degree of stress and distress among societies, manifesting itself in obesity, childhood… teenage pregnancy; Britain is the worst in Europe in those… in those problems and it all comes out of, it’s all attributable to this focus upon the importance of the individual, and the success of the individual, which actually… meant the failure of the majority. And, of course, other cultures, like the Scandinavian culture and, more so, the Asian culture, are much more collective in their thinking and it was that selfishness that was adopted by America and… and Britain, and passed onto Canada, Australia and New Zealand, that was really the problem. So, yes, they have a lot to answer for. They were a major part of the problem, but they thought they were sort of the solution, at the time. (Sir John Whitmore was talking to Mark Worden).

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Detroit Rocks!

268 - Detroit Rocks!

Mark Worden (Standard British accent):
Speak Up contains an interview with the rock star Suzi Quatro. In this out-take she explains why her home town, Detroit, Michigan, has produced so much great music:

Suzi Quatro (Standard American accent):
It’s… don’t forget we had Motown, which was superb, that was the black movement, and then we had this white energy rock movement, you know. It’s an industrial city, it’s rich, it’s poor, it’s black and white, so you’ve got this real fight, this real “We gotta get out of this place” type of feeling, you know, and I grew up with all those bands, we played our gigs together. Musically, I think, Detroit’s probably one of the best cities. And all that great… that great Motown influence: that also came out in the white bands.
The poet of Tara

268 - The poet of Tara

Mark Worden (Standard British accent):
Speak Up contains a feature on the ancient Irish site of Tara. In this out-take Liam O’Cahan, who is protesting against plans to build a motorway near there, recites a poem:

(Music: Liam O’Cahan plays his tin whistle)
Liam O’Cahan (Irish accent):

Long ago, beyond the misty space
Of twice a thousand years,
In Erin old there dwelled a mighty race,
Tall as Roman spears;
Like oaks and towers that had a giant grace
Were fleet as deers,
With winds and waves they made this their biding place,
Those western shepherd seers.
Their Ocean-God was Manannan Mac Lir,
Whose angry lips
In their white foam, full often would inter
Whole fleets of ships;
Cromah was their Day-God and their Thunderer
He made morning and eclipse;
Bride was their Queen of song, and unto her
They prayed with fire-touched lips.
Great were their deeds, their passions, their sports;
With clay and stone
And strath and shore
They piled those mystic forts,
While youths alone,
With giant dogs, explored the elk resorts,
On cairn-crowned hills
They held their counsel courts.
Of these youths was Fin,
Fin the father of the Bard,
Who was king on this hill,
Married Gronia
The golden-haired, the fleet and young
From her the lovely, and from him the feared,
The primal port sprung.
Ossian! Two thousand years of mist and change
Surround thy name
Thy Fenian heroes now
No longer range these hills of fame
The very name of Fin and Gaul sound strange
Yet thine the same -
Thy miscalled lake and desecrated grange -
Remains and shall remain!
The Druid’s altar and the Druid’s creed
We scarce can trace,
There isn’t left an undisputed deed
Of all their race,
Save the majestic song, which hath their speed,
And strength and grace;
In that sole song, they live and love and bleed -
It bears them on through space.

(The poem is attributed to Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825-1868), an Irishman who settled in Canada, where he also had a political career. McGhee was assassinated in Ottawa, where you can find a statute of him today. He is said to be the only Canadian politician to have been assassinated).