014. 19 Things About 2019 #14

#14  The United Kingdom of Great Britain (and maybe Northern Ireland)

 

The skinny

Mrs May’s Brexit plan has just been defeated in the House of Commons 432 – 202.  Ouch.

Whatever happens now – whether soft, hard or not at all – Brexit is a mess.

Forget about penalty shoot outs, the Poms (by which I singularly mean the English) should be worried about their propensity to score own goals.

 

Why this matters

Well, I feel quite sorry for Mrs Windsor having to put up with such a miserable run of numpty prime ministers.

More than that, it’s a sad mystery how democracies can bring out the worst in ourselves.  Yes, we can blame the politicians for being shallow, callow and inept, but a large share of the blame for their behaviour belongs to feral ‘journalism’ that spent decades spreading nonsense, lies and fear.

Stanley Baldwin’s epithet about the press barons comes to mind: “power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”.

(Bit harsh on harlots really, not to mention inherently misogynist unless you take it as an ungendered prostitute or the 12th century meaning of a vagabond or idle rogue, but it nails the principle.) (Actually the phrase was coined by Baldwin’s cousin Rudyard Kipling, who delivered it to Beaverbrook’s face.  Good for him.)

More precisely, Baldwin challenged citizens to look in the mirror:

Democracy can rise to great heights; it can also sink to great depths. It is for us so to conduct ourselves, and so to educate our own people, that we may achieve the heights and avoid the depths.

Just so.

 

Bonus

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second’s reign has encompassed thirteen prime ministers of the United Kingdom:

  • Churchill (nostalgic)
  • Eden (mad)
  • Macmillan (crafty)
  • Douglas-Home (noblesse oblige)
  • Wilson twice (dodgy as all get out)
  • Heath (weird)
  • Callaghan (good but hamstrung)
  • Thatcher (necessary but not sufficient)
  • Major (boring okay)
  • Blair (too clever by half)
  • Brown (ditherer)
  • Cameron (fatuous)
  • May (why?)

and 16 prime ministers of New Zealand:

  • Holland (crafty)
  • Holyoake twice (craftier)
  • Nash (boring okay)
  • Marshall (gentleman)
  • Kirk (fresh air)
  • Rowling (crushed by circumstances)
  • Muldoon (sad)
  • Lange (funny)
  • Palmer (great deputy)
  • Moore (good bastard)
  • Bolger (crafty farmer)
  • Shipley (ambitious)
  • Clark (ruthless)
  • Key (ruthlessly likeable)
  • English (decent)
  • Ardern (depending on which one-eyed blog you follow: an incompetent feminazi socialist in league with the devil, the greatest most powerful and perfect woman in the world, or a good person working out the problems in front of her while also looking after bub.)

 

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