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  Opinion   Columnists  16 Oct 2023  Kishwar Desi | Madonna gives the world hope; Keir Starmer is the coolest one

Kishwar Desi | Madonna gives the world hope; Keir Starmer is the coolest one

Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.
Published : Oct 16, 2023, 12:42 am IST
Updated : Oct 16, 2023, 12:42 am IST

Madonna re-imagined life for post-menopause women with six children

Singer Madonna (Twitter)
 Singer Madonna (Twitter)

As Israel gears up for a grim retaliation following the clandestine attack by Hamas, the UK appears to be divided in its sympathies. Nothing described this better than the fact that the doors of the flagship BBC building were painted red by alleged pro-Palestine protestors who feel it has been biased in its reportage. But there are equally others who are angry that the mother of news reportage has not described the Hamas as “terrorists”.

Of course, the government line is that we are with Israel, but the battle rages on whether people are willing to take sides openly on one side or another. While pro-Palestine protestors have come out in cities like Manchester, and even London — there are questions why football players this weekend have not expressing their solidarity by going down on one knee as they did for Black Lives Matter? Indeed the Football Association will not even light up the Wembley stadium in Israeli national colours. Too controversial they say. So our local battle goes on just as strongly as the real one.

Party conferences have concluded at least for the principal parties, Labour and the Tories. As always, the question is, did it help the governing party or the Opposition party? The main issue is about the speech of the Leader — the present Prime Minister or the Challenger. Despite the attack on Israel, and the ensuing enormous media coverage, as well as a charming turn by Akshata Murthy supporting her husband — it would be some comfort to Labour that Keir Starmer has maintained his lead over Rishi Sunak. And if the present figures hold, he is all set to become the next Prime Minister. His cool reaction to a protestor who came on stage to shower him with glitter also helped. Instead of getting agitated he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves — and continued his speech with his hair covered with glitter.

Things turned unexpectedly turned interesting at the Conservative Party conference where conspiracy theories reigned — and there were at least four aspiring candidates ready to replace Rishi Sunak. They were all women including two ministers in his cabinet — Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman who both represent diversity being non-white. The other two are Penny Mordaunt who had a starring role as a sword carrier at the Coronation and last but not least Liz Truss the has-been “50 days Prime Minister” who is hoping for a comeback. It is a lucky country which offers such a wide choice. With Parliament opening today — things may turn interesting as there is even a call for early elections.

Rain has returned after days if not weeks of sunshine. It makes life much more familiar since unrelenting sunshine is so un-English. But strikes continue to be in the news and inflation is reluctant to come down. Mortgage interest rates are up and house prices down… 

…and in the middle of all this, the one constant is 65-year-old (or is it 64?) Madonna, who opened her concert on the weekend despite the ongoing international crisis. She spoke about her near-death experience in June due to a severe bacterial infection, and got a rapturous response when she broke into “I will survive”. This seems to describe the state of many things right now — as we cannot imagine a world without Madonna. If she can celebrate her 40-year career with a 44-city tour at an age when most men and women would be warming their socks by the fireside, it gives the world hope, as she has re-imagined life for post-menopause women with six children.

Another cheering thought is that our new King Charles the Third has refashioned the coins on which his name and head are displayed. Instead of some dull image of Britannia, he has opted for portraits of the endangered species of birds and bees. This amply illustrates his abiding interest in nature. We have the red squirrel, the Atlantic salmon, the bee and the dormouse (now endangered) all appearing on one side of a coin of different denominations with the King’s portrait on the other alongside the Latin inscription — Servitio Omnium — “In the service of all.”

This also reminds us about impact of climate change on flora and fauna, and the necessity to preserve them.

These are sure to become collectorsitems.

Many will remember the TV show, Yes, Prime Minister. Now someone has had the great idea of revisiting Sir Humphrey and the Prime Minister Jim Hacker in their retirement years. It is on stage in the West End with the title I'm Sorry Prime Minister. I Can't Quite Remember. Looking forward to catching it and having a good chuckle!

Tags: kishwar desai, madonna, hamas