Catch21 - Our Charity ArmCatch21 is a charitable production company set up in 2005 which trains young people to make videos and engage with their communities.Catch Creative - Our Video Production ArmCatch Creative offers a complete video production service, from Conception to Distribution.Catch EngagementCatch Engagement is the new video interaction platform from Catch21 which allows you to run a campaign using both user generated films as well as professionally shot ones which are displayed via Video 'Walls'. Catch Engagement is all about using films to build an online community - welcome to the future of video.

We shoot cutting edge videos and provide a forum to give people a voice.
Engagement. Discussion. Empowerment.


All content featured on our charity site is produced by young volunteers with the support and mentoring of our professional production team.

Blog no image

Published on October 7th, 2011 | by Seamus Macleod
Image © [caption id="attachment_3939" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Soft and cuddly or the next leader of the Conservative Party? © Matt Brown"][/caption]

Conference season has come and gone once again. These three tedious weeks of posturing, gaffes, theatrical and shallow soul searching, gaffes, posturing, political infighting, and gaffes dominate autumn for those of us masochistic enough to pay attention to the proceedings. The reward for this political penance is the annual highlight of news coverage in the UK. I am of course referring to the inevitable moment when Jeremy Paxman and Boris Johnson meet in what could inaccurately be described as a battle of wills. More accurately it could be described as the meeting of an irresistible force and an immovable object if one takes "force" to mean "tide of charming insanity" and "immovable" to mean "visibly frustrated and increasingly irate."

This conflagration of nonsense established its entertainment credentials in 2009 when these two giants of British public life met in a Newsnight interview. After failing to nail Mr Johnson down with his inimitable interviewing style - hardly surprising given that in such situations Boris tends to float like a butterfly and sting like a good natured classics professor - Paxman was driven to relinquishing control of his programme's broadcasting equipment and allowed Mr Johnson to extol the virtues of David Cameron as a future Prime Minister direct to camera. 2010 brought similar joy when Paxman once again failed to turn the tide of whimsy as Mr Johnson cheerfully answered his questions about relations within the coalition with the revelation that the mooted cable-car across the Thames was to be named after his cabinet colleague Vince Cable, as a sign of unity. Once again conventions of news broadcasting were shattered when, under hard questioning, Boris once again broke the fourth wall and reminded the British public that the unelected and unaccountable Jeremy Paxman enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle on funds drawn from our pockets.

Each year the encounter is a delight and this year's outing was no different. Whilst an almost familiar rhythm has clearly developed and Paxman now seems more resigned and amused than genuinely irritated, the joy remains palpable for those of us who enjoy politics with a dash of the absurd. The interview opened with Paxman attempting to highlight the apparent gap between Mr Johnson and David Cameron's diagnoses of British society's ailments. Mr Johnson has, in the past, described Mr Cameron's claim that Britain is broken as "piffle" and the reactions of these two Tory giants to recent rioting appear to show this rift growing. Within seconds the line of questioning had descended into semantics over whether - "in common parlance" - a broken camera would or would not retain its function. I will not attempt to narrate how this tangent became prominent. Watch the interview.

Next in Paxman's crosshairs was the possibility that Mr Johnson might lead the Tory Party once Mr Cameron's reign ended. Speculation as to Mr Johnson's future ambitions has surfaced and it was clearly Paxman's intention to cause embarrassment for the blonde haired bumbler. Once again pantomime dominated politics with Mr Johnson stating that Mr Paxman's chances of leading the Conservatives were higher than his own and - after further badgering - offered to run Mr Paxman's campaign. Finally, the exchange descends into jibes about Mr Johnson failure to match Mr Cameron's first class degree and takes on the tone of two old friends sniping at each other good naturedly over a couple of pints. Paxman maintains the illusion of professionalism until Johnson closes proceedings with the statement that "this is playground stuff," and his interlocutor is forced to agree. "Playground stuff" it may have been but it was magnificent none the less.

So elated was I that the more mundane fare that proceeded the interview could not satisfy and so I took to the internet with the intention of basking further in the glory of Boris's oratory. Google threw up some surprises. First, Helen Lewis-Hastley proved herself to be a joyless soul. Admittedly, a writer showing a distaste for the antics of a toff - and worse, a populist toff - is not terribly surprising. What did genuinely surprise me - and perhaps this shows how clouded with happiness my mind had become - was this article from the Huffington Post. It accuses Paxman of "giving Johnson something he rarely does with his subjects – an easy go." The accusation is a hard one to deny, as are the twitter complaints from Polly Toynbee and Harriet Harman. Mr Johnson is the elected Mayor of London, after all. It's certainly unimaginable that any other elected official would be treated with the warmth and humour that Boris seems to elicit in the normally fearsome Paxman. This idiosyncratic and - to my knowledge - unique political position that Boris Johnson appears to inhabit is under threat - or at least perhaps should be under threat - not only from his position as a relatively major elected official but also by his increasing credibility. His transition from loveable buffoon to stealth-serious politician (at least in the eyes of the media) is summed up by this Telegraph article which describes his conference speech as "shockingly "on message."

The question of how the media should scrutinise the inscrutable Boris Johnson will become an increasingly important question if he wins re-election as London's Mayor. More important still if he - as ridiculous as this sounds - becomes leader of Britain's ruling political party. I find that I cannot bring myself to criticise Paxman's rare weakness on this occasion. I find myself reminded of Paul Merton's words on the subject from 2005: "I would make an exception for Boris definitely... I would be very happy for him to become our PM and represent us throughout the world. Wouldn't it be great? Just for a week."

0

The Boris Johnson Experience

Soft and cuddly or the next leader of the Conservative Party? © Matt Brown

Conference season has come and gone once again. These three tedious weeks of posturing, gaffes, theatrical and shallow soul searching, gaffes, posturing, political infighting, and gaffes dominate autumn for those of us masochistic enough to pay attention to the proceedings. The reward for this political penance is the annual highlight of news coverage in the UK. I am of course referring to the inevitable moment when Jeremy Paxman and Boris Johnson meet in what could inaccurately be described as a battle of wills. More accurately it could be described as the meeting of an irresistible force and an immovable object if one takes “force” to mean “tide of charming insanity” and “immovable” to mean “visibly frustrated and increasingly irate.”

This conflagration of nonsense established its entertainment credentials in 2009 when these two giants of British public life met in a Newsnight interview. After failing to nail Mr Johnson down with his inimitable interviewing style – hardly surprising given that in such situations Boris tends to float like a butterfly and sting like a good natured classics professor – Paxman was driven to relinquishing control of his programme’s broadcasting equipment and allowed Mr Johnson to extol the virtues of David Cameron as a future Prime Minister direct to camera. 2010 brought similar joy when Paxman once again failed to turn the tide of whimsy as Mr Johnson cheerfully answered his questions about relations within the coalition with the revelation that the mooted cable-car across the Thames was to be named after his cabinet colleague Vince Cable, as a sign of unity. Once again conventions of news broadcasting were shattered when, under hard questioning, Boris once again broke the fourth wall and reminded the British public that the unelected and unaccountable Jeremy Paxman enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle on funds drawn from our pockets.

Each year the encounter is a delight and this year’s outing was no different. Whilst an almost familiar rhythm has clearly developed and Paxman now seems more resigned and amused than genuinely irritated, the joy remains palpable for those of us who enjoy politics with a dash of the absurd. The interview opened with Paxman attempting to highlight the apparent gap between Mr Johnson and David Cameron’s diagnoses of British society’s ailments. Mr Johnson has, in the past, described Mr Cameron’s claim that Britain is broken as “piffle” and the reactions of these two Tory giants to recent rioting appear to show this rift growing. Within seconds the line of questioning had descended into semantics over whether – “in common parlance” – a broken camera would or would not retain its function. I will not attempt to narrate how this tangent became prominent. Watch the interview.

Next in Paxman’s crosshairs was the possibility that Mr Johnson might lead the Tory Party once Mr Cameron’s reign ended. Speculation as to Mr Johnson’s future ambitions has surfaced and it was clearly Paxman’s intention to cause embarrassment for the blonde haired bumbler. Once again pantomime dominated politics with Mr Johnson stating that Mr Paxman’s chances of leading the Conservatives were higher than his own and – after further badgering – offered to run Mr Paxman’s campaign. Finally, the exchange descends into jibes about Mr Johnson failure to match Mr Cameron’s first class degree and takes on the tone of two old friends sniping at each other good naturedly over a couple of pints. Paxman maintains the illusion of professionalism until Johnson closes proceedings with the statement that “this is playground stuff,” and his interlocutor is forced to agree. “Playground stuff” it may have been but it was magnificent none the less.

So elated was I that the more mundane fare that proceeded the interview could not satisfy and so I took to the internet with the intention of basking further in the glory of Boris’s oratory. Google threw up some surprises. First, Helen Lewis-Hastley proved herself to be a joyless soul. Admittedly, a writer showing a distaste for the antics of a toff – and worse, a populist toff – is not terribly surprising. What did genuinely surprise me – and perhaps this shows how clouded with happiness my mind had become – was this article from the Huffington Post. It accuses Paxman of “giving Johnson something he rarely does with his subjects – an easy go.” The accusation is a hard one to deny, as are the twitter complaints from Polly Toynbee and Harriet Harman. Mr Johnson is the elected Mayor of London, after all. It’s certainly unimaginable that any other elected official would be treated with the warmth and humour that Boris seems to elicit in the normally fearsome Paxman. This idiosyncratic and – to my knowledge – unique political position that Boris Johnson appears to inhabit is under threat – or at least perhaps should be under threat – not only from his position as a relatively major elected official but also by his increasing credibility. His transition from loveable buffoon to stealth-serious politician (at least in the eyes of the media) is summed up by this Telegraph article which describes his conference speech as “shockingly “on message.”

The question of how the media should scrutinise the inscrutable Boris Johnson will become an increasingly important question if he wins re-election as London’s Mayor. More important still if he – as ridiculous as this sounds – becomes leader of Britain’s ruling political party. I find that I cannot bring myself to criticise Paxman’s rare weakness on this occasion. I find myself reminded of Paul Merton’s words on the subject from 2005: “I would make an exception for Boris definitely… I would be very happy for him to become our PM and represent us throughout the world. Wouldn’t it be great? Just for a week.”

Tags: , , ,


About the Author



Back to Top ↑