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Advance, Australian Fayre



…the probability of voting Brexit rises from around 20% for those most opposed to the death penalty to 70% for those most in favour.’

-British Election Study survey (from BBC News, 17 July)

I honestly don’t know how it is that I came to be sitting here, writing this stuff without being paid a penny for it.

Readers of this, muh bogl, won’t need long memories to recall that I made precisely this connection a week ago.

I wrote that MPs could, if they wanted to, have refused to recognise the result of the EU referendum. ‘Remainers’ formed a large majority in the House of Commons, and (whatever the ‘Leavers’ might have said) the British Parliament is still sovereign in its own land.

I pointed out that MPs are well aware that a similar ‘in or out’ referendum on the death penalty would produce a strong vote in favour of restoration. Which is why they won’t go near one, even though they know a large section of the public is baying for it.

I think the next point to make is about that ‘in or out’ question. To what extent were enough voters persuaded to vote ‘Leave’ only because there was no more nuanced choice? The British love a compromise, but if you force them to the sticking post they will always take the John Bull option.

In the case of the death penalty, we still have it for treason; but it won’t ever be used except in time of war. Most voters I suspect would want to bring it back for child murder, or for killing a policeman; for violent sex crimes, or a terrorist attack.

But like the chap I once stopped in the middle of nowhere and gave a lift to, who’d just done a life sentence (in those days 12 years, now more like 30) for a ‘crime of passion’ (he’d come home to find his wife in bed with another bloke), you might get a split vote over degrees of murder.

I expect the judges wouldn’t want it on absolute terms, preferring to make the judgements they’re trained (and paid) to make, free from the straitjacket of atavistic public opinion and with their sentencing options open.

A shame we couldn’t have handled Europe on that basis. Forty-three years is but the blink of an eye in the 900-year history of Parliamentary democracy. We should have given it a chance to work.


What’s it worth?

As you kno’, this, my entertaining and informative personal, almost daily, bogl, the BogPo has a policy of not paying contributors.

We find if they’re not busy spending money, we get so many more words out of them.

I have learned, however, that Mr Boris Johnson was being paid £29,000 a month to write his predictably droll column once a week in the Daily Telegraph.

Now he has had to give it up in order to concentrate on offending foreigners directly (perhaps he could hire Mr Cameron’s friend Jeremy Claxon as a consultant?), I shall be proposing the editor of the Boglington Post, Uncle Bogler as the most eminently experienced candidate to take his place.

The fee should suit me very nicely.

E. von-und-zu, etc.


Chevening disagreement

I see that Mrs May has a sense of humour after all.

She has set aside the Chancellor’s country retreat, Chevening, as a cosy home for her three leading Brexit negotiations ministers: Johnson, Davis and ‘Dr’ Fox, who will have room to carry out his medical experiments.

I shall send five pounds to the first person who has a situation comedy commissioned about three politicians who hate one another, having to share a house.

It’s a no-brainer.


Advance, Australian Fayre

Our new and somewhat enigmatic Prime Minister has had a chat on the phone with Australia’s PM Malcolm Turnbull and has greeted his offer of a trade agreement with Britain as a sign that we can survive Brexit, with what sounded like profound relief.

Surely, though, we already trade with Australia? They sell us billions of litres of their industrially produced wine, that you can hardly find on sale anywhere else in Europe, and we send them our junior doctors.

Turnbull has an honourable history of defiance of Empire, having snubbed Thatcher by successfully defending Peter Wright, the MI6 man who broke  the Official Secrets Act in publishing a memoir about his time as a spy, against her legal champion, Lord Armstrong.

Mr Turnbull too has just scraped through an election – I say ‘too’, but Theresa May is probably the least-elected Prime Minister since Winston Churchill assumed power in 1940, being preferred as a war leader over the wobbly Lord Halifax.

Mrs May has essentially been elected only by the genteel but steely rightwing voters of her agreeable Maidenhead constituency. We do coups differently here.

Turnbull might be less eager to offer Australian support if he realised that his gesture is bound to be spun in Britain as a sign that the Commonwealth is returning to British sovereignty, like a thirty-something having to move back in with their parents because they can’t afford a house.

(Indeed, the Australian economy has been tanking lately and they need all the export markets they can get.)

I doubt, too, that an agreement to sell us more kangaroo-based products will come packaged with the offer of a bungalow with a huge spider in the toilet, passport-free travel and an unfettered right of residence for UK pensioners ejected from Spain.


Plus ça change

What has been described as the most important Bronze-age settlement found in Europe and Britain’s ‘Pompeii’, Must Farm in Cambridgeshire gives what archaeologists claim is a unique insight into life in the fenland, two thousand years ago.

In addition to almost intact households revealing that our ancestors built flood-proof homes on stilts, acquired lots of stuff, enjoyed a healthy, varied diet and had separate kitchens, the settlement was ‘at the heart of a vast trading network’ throughout Europe….

Which presumably explains why the site is being filled-in and buried forever later this week.

Can’t have that.


Go Po!

Two teenagers were reportedly shot at and almost killed while playing Pokemon Go! late at night in a car outside a nervous man’s house in Florida. Four British kids had to be cave-rescued after straying into an underground complex and getting lost.

A man continued playing after spotting a Pidgey (What that? Ed.) in his wife’s labour ward just as she was giving birth. A boy continued playing after being stabbed by a passing stranger. A man has been dumped by his partner after she tracked a Pokemon back to his ex-girlfriend’s house. Thousands were sent fleeing in terror after a Farage appeared in Hackney…. (Okay, made that one up.)

And lots of people are getting run over by buses and falling off things and into canals, bumping into lampposts, and no doubt being driven mad pursuing little digital creatures around the world.

I don’t understand a word of it. It’s been explained to me several times, but. It’s quite exciting, though, that we seem to have a real global craze developing, of the harmless kind we used to have before the Islamic State.

Yo-yos. Hula-hoops. Bobby-sox. Miniskirts. Chain letters, and the like.

But my son has found something or other lurking under the railway bridge Hunzi and I go through on our walks, and now I don’t feel safe. It’s like going back to a time before the Enlightenment, when a boggart might get you, an elf or a leprechaun.

There be things out there ye know not of.


Cautious scepticism

Speaking of which, apparently half the population of the UK refuses to believe dinosaurs really existed; while 38 per cent think the Moon landing was faked.

Should they have been allowed to vote?






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