Sunbeams from Cucumbers

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October 19, 2012 by Jake Cantona

If this government really was a series of The Thick of It, we might be beginning to think that the script editors had jumped the shark.

Today’s check list:

  • The Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell has finally resigned after swearing at Police Officers in Downing Street, but is still refusing to accept the words attributed to him in the officers’ contemporaneous notes. Notes which would be accepted as cast-iron evidence in pretty much any court of law.
  • His replacement, George Young, fresh from being sacked as Leader of the House, now finds himself in the Cabinet. An image from the early 80s of Young and family on British Rail promotional literature alongside a picture of Jimmy Savile is now doing the rounds – apparently taken from Young’s own website. Has he been keeping up with the news recently? Oh, and he went to Eton.
  • George Osborne, meanwhile, was caught sitting in First Class with a Standard Class ticket on a Virgin train service to London. After refusing to move to Standard Class for unspecified reasons (although a number of people have suggested Great Train Snobbery) and having wrangled about paying the £160 upgrade in a fifteen minute Mexican stand-off, he finally stumped up. For heaven’s sake, it’s not as if he can’t afford it. Anyway, George ought to be used to being asked to move by now, I can’t believe that the other EC and G7 finance ministers let him stay in the room when they want to do grown-up talk about numbers.
  • And they’ve just sent Jacob Rees-Mogg, another Old Etonian, out to bat on Newsnight, defending the Tories against accusations of ‘poshness’. FFS.

In other news, the Telegraph printed an article[i] about scientists attempts to produce petrol from air (I am not making this up), which reminded me of nothing so much as Jonathan Swift’s satire on academic research in Gulliver’s Travels[ii], but which coming only a day after David Cameron’s attempt to produce an energy policy out of nothing at PMQs, does make one wonder exactly how outlandish a satirist would have to be to ridicule the current state of play.

Tom Lehrer famously said that he gave up satire when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel peace Prize. Even Swift, who once satirically advocated that the poor eat their children to alleviate famine might find this government beyond him.


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