GOOD DAY, DEAR READER, and welcome to your COVID19-protected, trouble-free future. Today’s column is all about finding and publicising solutions to Britain’s most intransigent problems.
First, I have a cunning plan for socially-distanced drinking at the Red Lion: new glasses. [At this point I pause while the tedious waves of laughter from my Zoom-screen drinking companions die down].
No, Klondike, I do not mean that we should all put on a pair of those binocular-specs the wrong way round so that everyone looks a lot further away than they actually are.
And no, Lawnmower, I’m not agreeing with your lascivious, lip-smacking suggestion that “it’s time we had some new jugs behind the bar“, knowing for certain that you are referring not to the politico/medical situation but to the barmaids.
What I AM suggesting is that Mine Host replaces his current stock of pint pots with ‘yard of ale’ glasses, those thin, metre-long structures with a bulbous end designed to catch out the unwary show-off drinker by depositing most of the amber liquid down the quaffeur’s front as he or she attempts to gulp down its contents in one go.
Under my plan it will be impossible to drink from the yard of ale without either clashing bulbous ends with your neighbour – or putting the barmaid’s eye out – unless you turn sideways, forcing your neighbouring drinker to retreat at least a yard and, if he too is drinking from a yard of ale glass, TWO metres lest your bulbous ends collide.
Problem solved and a new yardstick for drinkers is created!
My Vote for sale to
highest (-minded) bidder
I HAVE A SOLUTION to the eternal quest for consensus and moderate, representative government: I henceforth pledge my vote to which ever of the three main parties pledges itself to electoral reform by providing a better system than first past the post.
Yes, that’s right; having voted in the past in every political direction but one (guess!) I am putting my vote up for sale to the most socially responsible parliamentary reform party and I earnestly recommend that you do the same.
At the moment we have two major parties and a feeble almost-ran which has taken my six decades of my life to drag itself into an eternal third place; we simply CANNOT wait even longer for the truly minor parties to drag themselves into contention and provide some balance to the extremism we see from the Big Two.
But what, you ask, happens after my devastating intervention has changed British political landscape for ever? Does that make me Conservative, Labour or LibDem forever?
NO! That’s the genius of the scheme. Once my chosen government is in power, legislating successfully to alter the electoral system for ever thanks to proportional representation and the Banks Reform Act 2024, all further bets are off: I – and, hopefully, you – would be free to vote for whichever of the minor parties might grab my attention, be they Green, Red or rainbow coalition.
Ah, you say, but wouldn’t that let into the House that dreadful bête noire of yours, Nigel Farage, and some of his ex-Brexit/ex-UKIP blackshirts? Indeed it might, but that IS democracy: I could put up with a couple of tinpot idiots in exchange for a handful of sensible Greens and even a couple of Commies!
So that’s the deal Boris, Keir and whoever is currently pretending to lead the Lib Dems: you know where to find me (or at least your pamphleteers do!). Make me an offer and I shan’t refuse. . .
Anne-Marie is hot
stuff at Musical Ministries
ARE BORIS AND OUR OWN ANNE-MARIE playing Musical Ministries, the Westminster version of Musical Chairs?
Come September, when the Rt Hon member for Berwick upon Tweed loses her chair in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development will Boorish’s favourite Eurosceptic be immediately parachuted into a new ‘attack dog’ role in the certain-to-come reshuffle?
After all, Anne-Marie Trevelyan has more than proved her worth: she surprised no one more than her startled farmer constituents when she emerged as Bozo’s Brexiteering bedfellow. Who knew she was anti-EU? Certainly not her constituents.
She did it again in February this year, cheerfully accepting International Development – a department of whose existence she has always disapproved – while surely knowing all along that her Number One at Number Ten planned to scrap the internationally acclaimed overseas aid department almost simultaneously.
As far back as 2012, three years before she became Berwick’s MP, her public comments indicated at least doubt about the sector. To a DfID tweet urging that “No one in Africa should go hungry,” she responded: “Nor in the UK. There r kids in NE who have no regular meals due to chaotic parents. Should they go hungry?”
A year later she tweeted this about an article by Tory donor Michael Ashcroft calling for an end to the guaranteed foreign aid budget: “Interesting article by Lord Ashcroft on the value (or otherwise) of the overseas aid budget,” ending with “#charitybeginsathome”.
Don’t be surprised to see Anne-Marie occupying another chair near or next to the seat of power after the coming reshuffle.