Monday, 1 April 2019


Outside the sun’s shining, the birds are singing, cats are rolling sensuously in the dusty earth and the Jays are contemptuously flying over them with their ‘look-at-me- you-losers’ plumage.

It’s the most gorgeous of Saturdays and I’m in a can-kicking grump.  Others are too. People I’ve always heard speak in mild and careful tones have become “effers and blinders”. Quentin Letts got it right when he suggested that Dominic Grieve begging for “compromise” was like Don Juan advocating celibacy.

My friends in Europe don’t call me like they did. In common with the rest of Britain I’m regarded as dotty and not to be taken seriously or trusted.

Unsurprisingly (and I think this is the norm) I’ve rather given up on politicians, their motives and their command of any picture bigger than their soon to be dwindling constituency vote in the election that’s looming. Expect some shocks when that happens.

How about this doomsday scenario?  Another hung parliament but with a scrambling of the old orders through wipe-outs for both Tory and Labour, the latter from disgruntled leavers migrating to UKIP, the former because the ERG has made conservatives seem unelectable to many life-long Tories.

Greens, Independents and the occasional Liberal will take up the slack.  If the founder of the Raving Monster Looney Party, the late Screaming Lord Sutch were alive he’d have fun. Since for many protest is the only alternative to not voting at all we can expect more Martin Bells to emerge (he was the Independent who usurped Tory Neil Hamilton in Tatton in 1997.)

Civil War? Nothing so crude just a loud and inharmonious bellow of “a plague on both your houses”.  And this is sad because all the MPs I know and have known, with just a few exceptions, were hard working, honourable and doing the job for worthy motives. We knew that they didn’t think or behave like us of course, being constantly in fear of the whips, their constituency, a faux pas on Question Time or losing it all in an election.

But the game, such as it was, is over. We’ve had enough and we shan’t take it anymore. So expect some shocks. I can just about take becoming a medium sized economic entity and a third ranking political entity…just about …but a laughing stock?

But why not? Our proudest assets include cartoons, Private Eye, TWTWTW, The News Quiz, Paul Merton, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ricky Gervais and so on. Laughter is what we do; irony is our language. My memories of business at its best is rueful laughter in the face of disaster and the constant ability to make jokes when the chips are down. 

Banter has got very bad press recently but only because everything has become too serious. It’s time we stopped kicking cans down the road and started laughing again and making jokes about  the folly of politics.

Laughing stock? I think winning that accolade’s  the equivalent of a political Oscar.

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