Friday, 28 October 2011

The Bagpuss Rebellion.


One has had a most extraordinary week. Calls to stand as Mayor. Appearances on BBC Somerset and grillings from the 'rottweiler' himself, Mr Jeremy Paxman as to the nature of one's relationship with 'Bagpuss'. In all of this one does fear that one's original message has become a little 'lost'. 

It seems to me that there are three key issues that need to be addressed vis a vis the Referendum debate. Firstly, the last time anyone in this country voted on the issue was in 1975. Even a simpleton who had been on a thirty year sojourn to Mars would realise that the EU of today is very different to the EEC that we joined in the 1970s. Secondly, it is no exaggeration to say that the Eurozone itself increasingly resembles one of those 'Facebook' parties one reads about in the Daily Mail. Too many people have been invited and of those that have tagged along few have bothered to 'bring a bottle'. Worse still, certain 'party goers' have broken into the cellar glugged Ma and Pa's vintage Krug, vomited on the tapestries and then sued the home owners for negligence. 

My final point is this. It is very obvious that the people want it. Democracy is about trusting the voters and treating them as grown ups, not only when it suits one but all the time. Vox populi! Vox dei!

Eton Mess 

Fresh from my very own 'Jacob-lite' rebellion in the chamber, I bumped into an old chum who, during a very reasonably priced meal in Belgravia, reminded me of a dark chapter in my younger and more vulnerable years.

During the late eighties 'change' was in 'vogue' across the globe and even Eton was not exempt from the winds of 'Perestroika'. 

In 'eighty seven' a new beak arrived. 'Wetty' Williams was a man enamored of floral ties, dappled 'lounge suits', brown shoes of dubious provenance and a disregard for the poems of Southey that aroused both distrust and anger in the English 'Common Room'. However these outward displays of affectation were but the hors d'oeuvres for what was to follow. For 'Wetty', it turned out, was a fan of 'American' literature and it was his avowed intention to inculcate us with its interminable merits. This, in spite of a promise that I had secured from his predecessor (in writing) the previous year, that our syllabus would consist mostly of Dryden and in particular of his 1681 masterpiece 'Absalom and Achitophel'.

'Wetty' stood his ground and in doing so he lit a touch paper in the darkest recesses of my soul. For three long weeks during his 'lessons' I recited the Dryden poem under my breath, while he countered my stand with increasing irritation that eventually, spectacularly erupted into a four letter tirade of abuse and an admission of utter defeat. Within days, he had applied for a sabbatical in 'Auckland' and within weeks Dryden was firmly back on the syllabus.

Eton has had many famous rebellions in the past. Most notably in 1768, when prefects led an uprising against a progressive headmaster who wished to stop them caning the other children. Then, as in my day, the pupils won out and 'pop-tanning' continued merrily into the 1970's.

There are 20 Old Etonian MP's in parliament and one would, with all due respect to his remarkable talents, advise the PM (one himself of course) to remember this the next time a three line whip is imposed.

And finally:

Last weekend's bunfight at The Orchard Tree in Keynsham was a 'big' success. Thank you to the many constituents who attended. My medley of vintage hits was most kindly tolerated and I would like to thank Daphne Spragg for her wonderful accompaniment on piano. Rumours that I shall be releasing a 'double A side' of A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square and I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues in time for the Christmas 'hit parade' are sadly quite unfounded. I long ago chose the path of public service over that of the performing arts and my dabbling in 'musical theatre' must remain no more than a hobby.

I bid you all a hearty 'Valete' and fare thee well, 


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