Our democracy allows the voters to change the government every five years. This referendum decision is permanent; the signatures ineffaceable. Is democracy therefore the ideal operative principle, in context?
The Post penned the above in an open letter to Lord Hennessy, the constitutional historian, the day after the referendum. In an interesting Newsnight interview, the veteran Labour MP, Sir Tam Dalyell pointed out the other night that around 500 MPs had voted to Remain in the EU, a massive majority. They should, he growled, have the balls to stand up and tell the British electorate that Parliament is sovereign and no, they’re not going to Leave the EU, whatever anyone says.
There’s a precedent for it. Successive governments have known since 1965, when Parliament voted to abolish capital punishment, that if the British people were ever asked for their view in a referendum, we should have half the population swinging from the gallows at Tyburn before breakfast. (A new twist on Strictly Come Dancing?)
The British have certain atavistic tribal instincts that aren’t safe to be let out in the modern world. We need to be protected from ourselves; which is why we created Parliament in the first place: a room full of supposedly rational people who can make informed decisions we may not like, but we go along with. And if the decisions aren’t rational, there’s an even more rational upper house that can supposedly push them in the right direction before we need to reach for our pitchforks.
Sadly, the events of the past few days suggest that a zombie horde has occupied Parliament. MPs on all sides are staggering about groaning, covered in blood, eating each others’ faces. They have become slaves to the ‘electorate’ – a disparate body of semi-comatose ignoramuses.
It’s not a pretty sight, and it doesn’t bode well.
The Brexshits: can you tell one from another?
So it looks like I was wrong about Boris Johnson, the shambolic albino bear-man in the Conservative leadership race, who has pulled out. Pulling out being the cheapest method of not getting your mistresses pregnant.
It seems he is not the only Conservative politician willing to take any position in the EU debate, to tell any lie, shaft any colleague and even to change sides several times, if it will enable them to seize power from the shining booby, Mr Cameron.
As an oracle, I can occasionally be pushed off-track by events. Sorry, I hope you weren’t relying on my advice to improve your position vis-à-vis BetFred. But he has, and I missed the signs.
Having knifed his ‘friend’ Dave Cameron from behind, switchblading from pro- to anti- EU campaigner in the slash of an artery, ‘Justice secretary’ Michael Gove, staunch supporter of the Johnson leadership bid (what, did you honestly believe the EU referendum was about Europe? Get off the Prozac!) has sliced through his ‘friend’ Boris’s jugular too, pushing himself forward as the swottily bespectacled, chipmunk-lookalike, post-intellectual candidate ‘Captain Britain’, with a tearful speech ruefully regretting that, perhaps, dear sweet Boris wasn’t quite the man to cometh at this hour.
(Postscriptum: he has now spoken to the Nation to say that he woke up early that morning, and decided to become Prime Minister so that he can carry out the will of the people. Be careful what you wish for, is all I can say. He must have been dreadfully bullied at school.)
Recognising a master assassin at work, Mr Johnson has ruefully stepped from the ring to fight another day. Possibly. Maybe he’ll just retire to an agreeable villa in… oh, sorry, no more right of residence in the EU. Bournemouth, then. Barmouth. Brexhill-on-Sea.
Meanwhile, Boris’s colourful dad Stanley, surprisingly also called Johnson, has quoted Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Sc 1: et tu, Brute? (You again, Govey?)
Does this thrice-treacherous little shit, Gove, seriously imagine anyone in the Tory party will vote for him now, fearing that he might ‘befriend’ them too? Or that, if elected to the leadership, the bulk of the voters in Brexitville might not look on him as a dog looks on its own vomit, loathing as they do a grasping, power-hungry Westminster elitist, and make a sensible choice for a change at the next election?
Britain did not vote in the referendum for a change of government (notice: ‘gove’ is the initial phoneme of ‘government’! He probably first thought of that when he was twelve). Or maybe it did. Whatever, whoever wins the internal contest will soon have to go to the country, and we can fuck the treacherous Tories over and vote for… oh.
Last Man Standing.
Has the whole thing been a deliberate ploy to bundle Johnson into touch and claim the throw-in for the spectral Theresa May, the Home Secretary who, until petitioned earlier in the year, came within an ace of having G4S goons wrestle a 92-year-old white South African woman with advanced glaucoma and other medical conditions onto a plane back to Jo’burg (where she has no family or anywhere to go) because her paperwork didn’t give her the right to live with her daughter, a qualified carer, in England?
Mrs May, doyenne of Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre (a Guantanamo for failed female asylum-seekers and their babies, pre-deportation to whatever flyblown rapists’ republic the Foreign Office deems safe) has also made a speech, in which she demurely proposed herself as the only possible choice for Prime Minister. Yes, we need more would-be murderers in the job.
These politicians are not evil. They are ill, and need our help. Unfortunately, there’s a problem with mental health services in the NHS. Mrs May’s government can’t manage to fund any.
I don’t suppose the deluded boobies who voted for Brexit after years of being driven insane by Murdoch’s propaganda campaign could possibly have imagined that both our main political parties would end up disintegrating in their own mini-civil wars, tearing themselves apart over who grabs a little power in a little island newly freed from the exaggerated interference of Brussels; even as England fails so dismally to qualify for the final 16 in the Euro 2016 championship, being, essentially, a disengaged rabble of expensive haircuts (I loved Gary Lineker’s description of the young England squad as ‘headphones’) 🙂 *
The two issues are intimately linked: do all these foreign players, foreign managers and foreign oligarchs owning the Premier League not keep out honest British footballers, driving down… er, up wages and sullying the purity of the national game?
I should perhaps just mention that the English Civil War (1642-8; 600,000 dead) was initiated by Parliament, led by a rigid disciplinarian with piles called Cromwell (shurely the man was Cromwell, not the piles? Ed.) over the issue of ‘who rules Britain?’.
*Something far, far worse has happened. At this point in the text , perhaps unwisely, I inserted an ironic typographic ‘smiley face’ by placing a colon followed by a close bracket , only to discover to my horror that it’s a WordPress keyboard shortcut to an actual orange imoji. I am so, so sorry. I intend to resign, probably in October. – UB
The naughty nineties
God knows, I’m no royalist.
I was very probably the first (but not the last) person ever to kick the Prince of Wales. I was only six, it was at school, but I knew whose side I was on when I aimed a boot at the trailing leg of the haughty royal personage.
There’s a difference, however, between the person and the position. I actually quite approve now of Charles, the man. And his mum, Queen Elizabeth. She’s done a great job. I regret she has that job to do, but someone has to and it’s been great; if a tad stuffy and angled towards dining with unacceptable dictators.
Besides, who would you vote-in to the role of ‘President’, if we abolished the monarchy but still needed a ceremonial head of state to supervise the remains of the UK: Boris Johnson? Michael Gove? Theresa May? Chris Martin?
So I’m with the BBC Board on this one.
‘Prince’ lookalike, Russell Kane is an ‘edgy’ comedian, of a kind. It’s fine in a club where he can make jokes about his own sexuality. Undersized and with a slightly sinister girlie demeanour, it’s fine when he camps it up and then tells us he’s not as gay as he seems. Or maybe not.
It’s not fine, however, when on a dreary late-night Radio 4 ‘comedy’ panel show chaired by the anodyne David Baddiel, one of those not-quite funny men we’re stuck with, who should stick to playing fantasy football, Kane kicks off on a cretinous riff about how many times the Queen has had sex in her life.
The edge, Russell (what is it about self-certified comedians called ‘Russell’, I wonder?), lies somewhere between the person and the position. Queens possibly don’t do sex, unless you’re watching Versailles; humans however do; especially married ones. The Queen is in her spare time also a human, and a very elderly lady who deserves to be treated with dignity, not with cheap gobby sleaze .
Sort it out.
Russell, your mum probably used to go down on sailors for a fiver behind the pub on a Saturday night, lol. If the entire Band of the Royal Marines hadn’t passed out on parade, they’d have shagged your sister. Smiley face.
Howya doin’, Russell? And the rest of you purulent, self-congratulatory media turds in the world of edgy BBC ‘comedy’? Like it?
The episode recalls the infamous phone message Russell Brand, appearing live on Jonathon Ross, left on actor Andrew Sachs’ answering service, informing him that he had fucked his granddaughter. The 70-year-old Sachs’ only crime was to have played the ‘Manuel’ character in Fawlty Towers. Brand, a self-publicising narcissist of no discernible profession, with ideas above his intellectual pay grade, crossed the line unforgiveably between the actor and the private man.
The BBC Board has issued a lapidary judgement: the remarks were a serious breach of the guidelines. It would be a good idea to tell Citizen Kane he’s not wanted on air, and to not pay him for the episode. But he’ll have an even lower-life agent, he’s got a contract, there’s not a lot you can do; other than keep on insulting the little prick.
Or maybe respecting him as a person separate from his on-air persona?
It’s a good day. I have heard from both my readers, Sid and Doris Bonkers (formerly of Neasden, now retired to Boglington-on-Sea) (see below!). I might use the same headline again.