Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Of Pig-Sticking Patrick Mercer, Tie-less Border Controls and Bagpuss
When Two Moggs Met - by popular request
One was delighted to be able to visit the "Pop Up" Bagpuss shop in Whiteley's Shopping Centre last week. It was a superb opportunity to 'catch up' with the famed, much loved, saggy old stuffed cat and one suspects that Bagpuss felt very much the same.
"To be Omnipotent but Friendless is to Reign"
Anyone fortunate enough to have attended an exclusive all male public school will have fond memories of hiding pathetically in the rhododendrons from chumps wishing to pig-stick one. Inevitably, as one learned often and to one's cost, those leading the braying charge were frequently the same scholars who, that very morning, had been sharing one's toasted tea cakes over a butter stained copy of Shelley. Once caught, one would be 'poked and flushed' and having recovered sufficiently would thank one's tormentors with a manly shake of the hand before retiring to one's cot for a well deserved whimper. To the layman, such debasing experiences might seem 'old fashioned' or even 'perverse' but those of us lucky enough to have suffered them understand the very real bond of trust that was hewn between victim and perpetrator; for although the practice was frowned upon by the beaks, one learned the hard way that it was wrong to 'tell'.
This week Patrick Mercer, the very clubbable Member for Newark was reported to have described the PM as 'the worst politician since Gladstone'. Patrick wishes to comment no further and frankly neither do I (apart from pointing out that clearly this was an utterly foolish, factually inaccurate and wholly idiotic statement made by a man who quite possibly had been enjoying the 'hospitality' a little too much) - no the real concern here is that Mr Mercer allegedly spoke these words at a 'private function'. One assumes therefore that those leaking his words to the gutter press were 'guests who told'. Whilst not wishing to re-introduce pig sticking onto the National Curriculum, one feels that something, somewhere needs to be done to remind our nation at large of the old Eton adage that: 'sneaks to the beaks, get kicks in their sleeps'.
Pushing One Over the Borderline
In the week that 'Brodie' Clark 'stepped down' from his post, over the small matter of allowing hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers to flood into the country over the summer, one has been reflecting generally on the way in which we might be able to better improve our Border Agency.
In my other life running a 'Capital Management Business' (hooray for small firms!) I have had extensive experience of the world's airports and 'Customs Officers'. In Singapore, upon arrival, one is ushered off the plane into a delightful First Class Lounge where tea, coffee (or even something a little stronger) are served to passengers while delightful young women settle the tiresome business of stamping one's passport and checking one is not an 'international jihadist'. While it is true that in New York one is often subjected to lengthy queues and invasive 'searches', it is all done in such delightful sing song accents and accompanying incantations that one should have 'have a nice day' that it matters not a jot that one is being body scanned, interrogated or relieved of one's shoes.
In London, by comparison, even the heartiest challenge of "Look here, do you know who I am?" is unfailingly met with tie-less gawps and gum chewing insolence. It often feels indeed that one has arrived not in Great Britain but rather 'Little Britain'. One hopes that Mr Clark's successor, ably abetted by Theresa May, shall address this stain on our 'front door' as his first priority and speed up the whole irritating sham in the process.
I wish you all a hearty week - and bid you Salve.