A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Friday, 28 February 2014

Hooptedoodle #122 - Donkey Award - Peter Bone Day

Well, goodness me. At first I really thought it was a dry run for April Fool's Day, and then I began to suspect that it was a rumour created by the Scottish Nationalist Party to produce a panic rush towards a "yes" vote for independence, but - no - it was a fact.

This very day, 28th February 2014, a second reading has rejected a Private Member's Bill introduced last June into the British Parliament. This was the work of Mr Peter Bone (illustrated, above), and was a  move to have the national August Bank Holiday in the UK renamed Margaret Thatcher Day. Mr Bone is the Conservative Member for Wellingborough, in Northamptonshire, and he appears (not for the first time) to have got it rather badly wrong.

I refuse to make any political observation here, other than to note that he seems to have rather over-estimated public enthusiasm for the idea. The Bill has received remarkably little publicity, yet an online petition opposing the idea received some 124,000 signatures, of which 7,000 arrived today, in anticipation of the second reading.

If you are going to do something really daft, perfect timing is essential, and this must be close to that.

Some questions occur to me:

(a) where do they find these specimens?

(b) who, in God's name, votes for them?


  1. I was one of the 124,000!
    I wasn't aware we could petition on mental health issues . . . .

    1. I understand that Mr Bone previously recommended ditching the Conservative coalition with the Lib-Dems, which I think would render them unable to rely on getting any further bills through Parliament. Cameron must realise he has enough problems without having fellows like this on his team.

    2. From this distance, I reckon D. Cameron himself is a problem... But I think you have hit upon something very problematic within the anti-democratic democracies we have been saddled globally with by oligarchical and plutocratic hijackers. Voters pretty much vote for the Party rather than the candidate in person, and have almost no worthwhile choice. And if voters act upon any notion that governments govern with the consent of the governed, well, we have already seen the result of that, haven't we. The government has the guns.

      The person who said "the people get the governments they deserve" had to be a politician himself, eh? The people of the UK in my view don't deserve the criminal governments they have endured these last thirty-five years, no more than New Zealanders deserved theirs for the last forty, or Americans since 1968.

      Why Mr Bonehead should promote the name of Margaret Thatcher, who singlehandedly went so far along the trail of destroying the UK economy for insane ideological ends, passes my comprehension. Unless he is as much a victim of Thatcher's brand of lunacy.

      But why should that be news to me? The Loonies took over the asylum long, long ago.

    3. Zeesh--and here I thought we (the States) had cornered the market on political nonsense!

      Chris Johnson

    4. A long time ago, I got to know a couple of heavyweight lawyers in Edinburgh, and I learned a few things. At that time, Malcolm Rifkind and (the late) John Smith and a few others were becoming established in politics, having come from that legal background. A friend of mine - Mark - reckoned that the best courtroom lawyers became adept at defending the indefensible, wowing juries and just plain telling lies for money. If they were exceptionally good at it, it seemed logical to take these talents onto a bigger stage. So much for Plato, then. The old idea that people became politicians for the good of society, or to follow some cause they believed in (apart from fame, powerful connections and wealth) is shown as stupidly naive.

      Mark felt the whole thing was contemptible, but it was a fact of life. I can't remember if Blair was ever an Edinburgh lawyer, but he should have been.

      Mr Bonehead decided that the recent demise of The Mad One gave an opportunity for him to show himself as a true disciple - he can't be daft enough to think it would be taken seriously, though he obviously wishes to impress someone, somewhere. If we are going to go for the recently departed, i would have a soft spot for Tom Finney Day, and there must be plenty of other good ideas.

      Every time I buy a shirt made in China, or a washing machine made in China, or see a Wonga advert, or hear about bankers' bonuses, or see what is left of the shipyards on Tyneside, or try to explain the Edinburgh bus system to foreign visitors, or see the differential economic recovery figures for London and elsewhere, or come across any other manifestation of personal greed and shortsightedness, I can think of another reason why MT Day would be a bad idea.

    5. Mind you, a Maggie Thatcher Day might serve a 'lest we forget' function. In Kiwiland we would have to lay out three Days: The Rob Muldoon Day, the Roger Douglas Day, and the Ruth Richardson Day. Another senescent cloth-head of those times has recently placed himself at the head of the Association of Crooks and Tax-dodgers (ACT) Party - a right wing outfit without a properly functioning brain cell among them - so there is potentially a chance for a fourth Day to remind us of the utterly incomprehensible stupidity of our leadership.

    6. All I can do after reading post and comments is to thump my desk and cry 'hear hear' in my best imitation of a mature adult like voice.

    7. Ross - that's almost certainly the most sensible thing any of us has said...

  2. Margaret Thatcher Day indeed???? I'd happily work that Bank Holiday for free!

  3. I am only guessing, but I suspect that the Rt. Hon. Mr. Boner comes from a predominantly rural and/or suburban riding of middling to high incomes and was probably a small businessman or lawyer before getting into politics, where he was an undistinguished backbencher who did as he was told by the party whip? If so, I am not surprised.
    I've known several local MPs here in Cannuckshire who were cut from that cloth. Both decent types, probably, but stolid, unimaginative men, whose mailings to their ridings were prepared by the governing party and whose talking points were heavily scripted by same. Of these two, the one I knew most recently represented a small town/rural riding in SE Alberta, a heavily and traditionally conservative riding where, to borrow a term from US politics, a yellow dog could have gotten elected if it had received the party nomination.

    1. It seems Mr Bone was an accountant, and had a business background. He is a fervent Euro-Sceptic, and came to politics fairly late. He is noted as one of the most frequent askers of pointless notice-me questions in the house, and was the subject of some investigation of his expenses - notably, it transpired that he employed his wife as a personal secretary, at the highest such salary in the House of Commons - as far as I am aware, he has not been charged with any irregularity. He is noted as an amusing, if lightweight, participant in House debates. He takes a pride in being a right-winger, which he feels is a patriotic position to take.

  4. Ms. Thatcher's image here is interesting--she is seen in somewhat Churchillian terms because of the Falklands. Her domestic policies are given almost no attention, partially because Reagan did a lot of the same damage here, and partially because many of my countrymen (and women) would probably have trouble finding the UK on a map, let alone know anything about what has gone on there.

    1. Chris - since it involves the military, and since a lot of people got killed and hurt in the Falklands, I am on very dangerous ground even if I only criticise the political background, so I have no view on the matter. However the Falklands business stacks up, it is undeniable that it very successfully took the public eye and the media attention away from some uncomfortable domestic matters. You might find the word "Grenada" strikes some similar echoes in the US.

      As for the map, not so many UK residents could find the UK either.

  5. The words 'Thatcher' and 'Grenada' on their own would normally stir me into a frenzy, let alone both appearing in combination. However, can I limit my comments to saying that a) I agree with Monsieur Foy regarding both the appalling Thatch and the deadbeat Bone and b) surely we all realise that John Kerry arguing against interference in the affairs of other countries is simply a demonstration that Americans do have a sense of irony.

  6. Dear Readers,

    Some points of interest re. Mr Bone.

    1. He used to have a nice little sideline as a Sven-Göran Eriksson impersonator.*
    2. He is one of the 12 Tory MPs touted as potential defectors to UKIP.
    3. When I wrote to him asking if he would be supporting the Liberal move for proportional representation (for he is my MP, alas), he tried to persuade me, against the evidence, that there was not enough time for the vote in this Parliament.

    For the record, I did not and will not vote for him. I also feel that the Thatcher government should have fallen over the political misjudgement leading to the Falklands War, instead of using the feelgood factor to win re-election. The feeling, post-conflict, as my Sappers came home from the Falklands was very much that we were not "Maggie's Boys".

    Kind regards,

    Chris Kemp, Wellingborough.
    (ex 1 Troop, 11 Field Squadron Royal Engineers)

    *He does at least have one useful skill. There, I feel much better after that rant :-)

    1. Chris - thank you very much indeed for your comment. Since you are the only one of us truly entitled to an informed view on the Falklands, I am especially grateful - you have dignified our discussion greatly!

      The concept of Maggie's Boys reminds me that a friend of my mother's was very upset since her own son, who had been seriously wounded in the Falklands, serving in the Navy, was one of those required to be kept out of sight of the TV cameras during the victory celebrations. It was always a matter of them and such-as-them, and everything being a potential sacrifice to the Great Cause (sadly, I can't remember what the cause was, now, though back-bench MPs from Sussex and the odd Chelsea fan keep trying to remind us).

      Thanks again - my respectful best wishes - Tony