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


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Hooptedoodle #224 - Donkey Award - The Donkey


Guido Fawkes is most famous for failing to do whatever it was he was planning to do back in 1605 (there is still some debate about just what he and his chums intended), but it is pretty certain that if he had succeeded he would have had the sense and the good taste to refrain from turning up at Westminster a few days later to gloat.

I was determined to avoid a rant about Europe – it’s a fait accompli now (foreign expression meaning “done deal”), so we must make the best of it. However, this Farage chappie takes the biscuit (foreign-derived word meaning “cookie”). Having had the effrontery to turn up in Brussels yesterday (a rare enough event – he has the second-lowest attendance record of all active MEPs), this sneering, shape-shifting hypocrite saw fit to accuse his colleagues in the European Parliament of never having had real jobs. I am aware that he was once a commodities trader, but I understand that of late he has mostly been a professional politician – certainly since 1999.

It would be interesting to know, in light of his minimal commitment and his constant hostility to the institution, just who has paid for his involvement in the European Parliament, how much he has pocketed and what we have all gained from the experience – apart from a lot of collective embarrassment, and the polishing of the ultimate, nightmare English stereotype, to our eternal glory.



Perhaps he could give us all a break now, and disappear into deserved obscurity? – or maybe he could appear on top of the odd bonfire from time to time?


29 comments:

  1. ...I applaud your post - but be prepared for the brickbats... :o)

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    1. Thank you sir. I'd hate to hurt anyone's feelings, but I recognise the same crud flying around as during and immediately after the Scottish Referendum - the difference this time is that the bomb actually went off.

      Apart from my intense personal dislike of Mr F (and he most certainly would not care for me, either, if he only knew me), the Donkey Award is given for stupidity. It appears that most MEPs are astonished that we in the UK have voted for something, and we are still trying to work out what it is, and how it will work. That does seem odd, and we will be relying on some supportive behaviour from the EU, whose first commitment will be to the interests of the remaining members. Going to Brussels and braying about "who's laughing now?" is infantile, and on the Foy Scale of Politically Shrewd Behaviour scores about 1.3 out of 10, which is "Exceedingly Dumb". Not since the French attempted to humiliate Germany at the Treaty of Versailles has such a potential own goal loomed.

      Since Farage (I hope) is unlikely to be involved in the negotiations, Mr Juncker's question is pertinent - what exactly was he doing there? Mr Cameron says today that we must decide whether we are going to go for the Canadian Model, or the Norwegian Model, or whatever - I have news for you, David - there isn't time. Take what you can get and suck it up.

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  2. I must admit I was impressed by the behaviour of all MEPS yesterday, it is good to know that people in the UK will only have to put up with our own MPS and their behaviour soon.
    One thing you can say for Nigel is that he can dish it out when he wants, and to be honest I think he is entitled to a few minutes crowing. By the way I actually know what I voted for, and no I am not a Turkey voting for Christmas.

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    1. It might have been better if he had crowed in the pub, in the circumstances. Delighted that you know what you voted for - you are going to be greatly in demand to explain to everyone how this is going to work - for example, how we get a trade agreement with Europe, set our own immigration laws and save ourselves the EU levy (the one that Farage tells us will be available for the NHS), all at the same time. You can also explain why the guys in the North East were so happy with the vote, when some of their largest employers are only in the area because of EU regional development initiatives.

      Seriously, I am sure you checked it all out and did your homework thoroughly, but the fact remains that there was never a master plan for what was to happen next if Leave won - at least our politicians don't seem to know about it. As for UKIP's immigration poster - Goebbels would have been proud of that one - no points for that.

      Cheers Robbie - I'm sure it will work out, but I'm not sure how, at present :-)

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    2. I actually live in the North East, born and bred, and we have a long history of raising the standard of rebellion going back to the Norman conquest, although the French won that one. I can only assume that you think all the jobs up here are based around Nissan, well unfortunately they aren't, in fact the EU and successive British governments have consistently failed to redress the inequalities of high unemployment and lack of opportunities for our young people. In the main, most move away, usually to the South, leaving the least educated who end up in zero hours employment, call centres and the inevitable hair dressing salon. We all have well groomed hair by the way.
      It was very noticeable in the local campaign that most of the Syrian refugees that made it to our country ended up living in Middlesbrough in one of the most socially deprived areas in the North East which hasnt helped the struggling local government departments and heightened the resentment against all the overemoting luvvies in London demanding more refugees, as long as they didnt live amongst them. I am still waiting for Bob Geldof open up his home to a group of poor Syrians. The final straw was the closure of the Redcar Steel works which produceded the highest quality steel in Europe , and the inevitable closures of the steel industry in Hartlepool, which no one attempted to save,I understand because of strict EU legislation regarding competition. So if you put that all together you have a pretty strong argument for screw you, wouldn't you think.It could hardly get any worse, so the cry of Turkeys at Christmas so beloved of the remainers shows just how little they know about a very large swathe of England. So yes I knew exactly why I voted out, and it had nothing to do with immigration.

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    3. Good for you - I hope it works out well. I happen to live in Scotland, which is rather north of where you are, in fact - I live in a predominantly farming area which is going to be well shafted without the European agricultural money, so I expect all the Eastern Europeans who currently work on the farms here will be heading for home soon. Perhaps some of your hairdressers might like to try some outdoor employment? - we could work something out.

      I am in a rather buoyant mood this afternoon - i have just learned that Fozzy Bear will not be standing for the Conservative Party leadership after all - that has to be worth a beer or two. It reduces the chances of having to look forward to summit meetings between President Trump and PM Boris, which was quite a prospect.

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  3. Please don't insult donkeys. I'll have youy know that they are very friendly and useful animals...

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  4. Are you prepared for the influx of immigrants from England Tony, should Sturgeon get her wish?

    PS has anyone worked out in what way a former commodities trader MEP and an Old Etonian MP Telegraph writer, are not representatives of the Establishment?

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    1. Hard to know what Sturgeon can do, really. The financial case for an independent Scotland is even more far-fetched now than it was 2 years ago, since the oil money has now disappeared from the balance sheet. As part of the UK, Scotland can't have any special deal with Europe - all she can do is say to Juncker that "it wusnae us". Perhaps she'll get a pat on the head. In particular, Scotland could not adopt the Euro at any time in the future without Europe sitting on the fiscal management of the country (I think that's the way it works - people don't get to use your currency unless you have a big stake in how they run their budget) - thus Euro in Scotland is synonymous with independence, but Scotland's actual reserves are an in-house deal with the Bank of England - it's all a bit far-fetched.

      English immigrants could get jobs on the farms, picking cabbages, to replace the Slovakians, Ukrainians, Poles etc who are doing it know (since they will have gone home in search of a better standard of living...). That might be OK. No jobs in the mines, I'm afraid, or the shipbuilding, or the fishing.

      I'm expecting the Conservatives to move a fair bit to the right now - someone said to me recently that this was our chance to put the Great back into Britain, which is just political marketing rhetoric, and makes me wonder when Britain was actually Great in the sense that someone would prefer to live in it. I recall my post-war childhood as pretty dismal - things were not that great at all. The 60s picked up a bit - we'd never had it so good, we were told, but then Thatcher took away all the manufacturing jobs and it didn't feel that good any more. So when was this golden age? During WW2? - nah. Victorian times? - well it probably depended who you were and where you lived. Of course, our born-again Great Britain will need its Empire back, but we've sort of run out of countries to colonise. This is not clear to me, at all...

      I could understand a move to put the Great back into Yarmouth, of course.

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  5. Can't stand the man, I can't even put my views up on your blog.......you'd ban me!

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    1. Now don't you be unkind to that nice Mr Farage, Ray - maybe he could get a job up here picking cabbages? That would be good. I'd go to watch that.

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  6. Q. how many Brexit campaigners does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A. We never said there would be a lightbulb... :)

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    1. I love it! - paradoxically, a bright spot in the last few days.

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  7. I am pleased that there is a Canadian model on the table. I wonder what it consists of? Hockey? Mandatory French language lessons for government workers? Celine Dion musak piped into all public places? I confess I didn't know Farage from Adam. The Donald on our side of the Atlantic tends to eclipse all other snake oil salesmen, but he seems to me like Oswald Moseley repackaged. I did see a clip of him hectoring the EU parliament on the nightly news and it did strike me as in rather bad taste. Not very English.
    Well, as someone said in the New York Times this morning, the dog has caught the car, and now we shall see what, if anything, the dog can do ... except bark.

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    1. Hi Michael - if the dog is going to bite the tyres, I might watch that. I have kind of lost touch with what Englishness represents these days - commonsense is dismissed out of hand as unpatriotic (or something). My chief gripe against the Farage carry-on in Brussels is simply that we are going to require a lot of patient co-operation from the EU, at a time when they may well feel they don't need the extra hassle. Making a special trip just to irritate them, before we get started, seems like an oustandingly bad idea.

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    2. Oswald Mosley wanna be ! , Tony

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  8. The attitude of the Establishment Brexiters reminds me of an anecdote a mate likes to tell, of an old-time BBC World radio weather report that declared "fog in Channel, Continent cut off".

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    1. I regret that the general European impression of the UK's involvement in the EU is of some chancer hovering just inside the door, looking out for things he fancies and managing to be in the toilet every time it's his turn to buy the drinks. This chancer might look very much like Farage, in fact, but that's just fantasy. We were always a bad fit. I've enjoyed the cheap camembert, but I guess we are as well to leave before we get thrown out.

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  9. Has the ever been a more deceitful campaign in our history? Even now BoJos supporters are telling us he'll be able to keep us in the single market without the need from freedom of movement. I thought 1984 was a novel, not a blueprint.

    And since when did lemmings get the right to vote?

    Hell, handcart (but at least we'll be on the left hand side of the road).

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    1. Hi Doug - if it has been any worse than the Scottish Referendum was, then I would say there is not much in it. Of course, a lot fewer people were directly involved in the Scottish one. Apart from my detestation of the Appalling Farage, I have sought to keep this post unemotional. I am upset and worried about the result, but I respect the convictions and rights of others, and have to accept that a lot of people voted the other way for what they considered good reasons. I'm mystified that any of the winners now wish to adopt a position of grievance or martyrdom, but I do not really expect to understand such things.

      The one big similarity in the two recent Referenda is that in each case HM Govt never imagined for a moment that a "Leave" vote was possible, so there was visible panic near the voting date and a complete lack of planning about what might happen next if the "wrong" side won. They both also generated far more emotion than would have been ideal, and used scare-mongering and dodgy numbers to confuse rather than inform. As an advert for Britain's ability to govern itself better than the EU, I would gently suggest that neither of these Referenda has been a glowing showpiece - I've seen better organised things running around farmyards with their heads off (to quote Mrs Fawlty).

      If Boris and/or Nigel are not to be big players in the exit negotiations then I am more optimistic.

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    2. Well Bojo won't be at the table, unless Teresa May or one of the others pick him.

      In a way it's a shame that Gove 'stabbed him in the back' (personal vengeance for his mate Dave?) as I would have loved to see Boris struggle with a mess of his own making.

      The other bloke will probably end up helping Marine Le Pen and others of that ilk and be well rewarded for services to Putin.

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  10. Until recently, I hadn't taken all that much interest in Brexit. But when an old friend I hadn't seen in twenty-five years and more - now domiciled in England with a house in Germany (and one in Wellington) - I asked his view. 'No brainer' he said: 'Stay in, of course.' Mind you, he's a businessman and fairly well off.

    But I have seen a comment by our own former PM (briefly) Sir Geoffrey Palmer. Although he doesn't say as much, I infer that he reckoned the EU was an OK idea in principle, but that in practice it tended to subvert (over-reach?) national sovereignty, to the point that British people noticed. What the voters were exercising, in effect, was their 'eternal vigilance as the price of freedom.'

    This might not have been the time to do it, and the motives of those who led the ... erm ... revolt might well come into question. But it doesn't do, in my opinion, to pillory voters who disagree with you (if I were to do that in my own country, I would have exploded into an apoplexy long ago).

    Upon the creation of the newly Constituted United states of America, a little old lady asked of Benjamin Franklin:
    'What have you done?'
    'Madam, ' quoth the great Man, 'We have given you the Republic. Let us see how long you can keep it.'

    If the Brexit vote has turned out to be a turkey, that is largely because the UK government failed in its function. It made no plan for just such a contingency. Tories like to trumpet the mantra: 'We see no problems: only opportunities.'

    Well, it seems to me that Brexit has presented them with a great big opportunity.

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    1. Very well put - I have no disagreement with any of this. I am a big fan of high-flown principles (in principle) - I am more fearful of the detail of the reality. The lovely big aeroplane in which you are about to travel to the holiday of your dreams is not so hot when you see it is being flown by baboons.

      Personally I am and have been a convinced Europhile - that is becoming simply my problem, I understand; the people of the UK have decided that things are to change, and those of us who might have disagreed can either accept the change and get on with it, or cause ourselves a lot of extra grief by being as miserable as possible about it.

      OK - I'm still not going to get emotional. When people start calling each other names then they are really comforting themselves that The Other Lot were not worth taking seriously, so there was no need to listen.

      I found the Scottish Referendum, in 2014, a depressing experience for reasons which were also very much in evidence this time. Things (in no particular order) of which I disapprove might be:

      (1) the constitutional validity of a Referendum Process, especially the completeness of the view of what the end of that process might be. In both these cases, HM Govt offered what looked like a democratic opportunity to the populus, mostly to make a point (in the belief that only one result was possible), but also to somehow shift the blame - we are doing what we have been told to do. If you don't like it, don't blame us.

      (2) The astonishing lack of rules. If the Exit Referendum had produced a majority of 1 vote (or a dead heat!), how many years would we have spent recounting, or accusing each other of cheating?

      (3) The role of the Press in all this - how on earth can newspaper editors take it upon themselves to attempt to change history? How can the public accept this?

      (4) Lies and twisted facts. Leaving the EU, or leaving the UK, is a serious deal - we live in the most overdocumented, digitised age there has ever been. There are people who spend every day managing (in detail) the things we have been arguing about. This is not a simple matter, but numbers exist, and there cannot possibly be so much difference of opinion on what these numbers are or how we interpret them. Telling the voters lies to get them to vote a certain way is a classic political tactic - the Glorious End justifies the Sordid Methods - but it stinks. If you make it clear that you have no respect for your electorate, you have compromised the whole idea of a referendum.

      (5) There's lots more, of course, but recent events are strangely ambivalent. Personally I am relieved that Mr Johnson will not be in charge - my reasons why are unimportant, but I think if we are about to get through this successfully we had better be businesslike about it - however, the very strange episode of Mr Johnson's sudden abdication and Mr Gove's double-cross gives the appearance of being manipulated behind the scenes - there is something worryingly Soviet about it. Not to worry - let's get on with Brexit, and count what blessings we have left.

      (6) If the public have to be worked up into a frenzy, how do you calm them down afterwards and get them to work together? We are still struggling with this one in Scotland after 2014. We remember being called a turkey long after we've forgotten what the argument was about. We cannot proceed on the assumption that half the electorate are idiots, or Nazis, or traitors - apart from anything else, this could have gone either way, and it isn't a bloody football match.

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    2. There you go again, being animal-ist. I'll have you know that a troop of baboons tends to be well organised under a recognised leader; that doesn't sound like either of our main political parties to me.
      Not much to argue with otherwise, except your comments on the press, whose role in all thing is obviously just to sell newspapers or advertising, and if that means rewriting history, so be it. (In this case, the media were obviously really miffed that both Remain and Leave were inventing more wild and dubious facts than they were.

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    3. Good heavens, Chris - I really didn't mean to imply that baboons were actually in the government - that would be very unfair indeed to baboons, for whom I have a soft spot (although their personal habits are a bit dodgy if you have kids present) - my oafish analogy was along the lines that baboons, for all their natural grace and skills, are not necessarily good pilots.

      I hope that clears it up. Please offer my apologies to any baboon friends you have.

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    4. Apology accepted.
      Though in fairness, there might be some correspondence between the personal habits of the two species in question.

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  11. My take, on this (not that it is now worth even tuppence ha'penny now the pound has devalued) is that Brexiters voted for it for a variety of reasons. For some it was immigration, others the economy or even simply a genuine wish for Parliament to govern us not Brussels.

    It seems to me that neither side had considered the actual possibility that the 'Leave' campaign might actually win, hence the complete lack of a 'cunning plan' once the decision was announced..

    From then on British Politics descended into farce. No one in the Tory party seems to want to be the leader, Cameron and BoJo ducked the bullet and Gove committed political suicide with his public performance as Cassius. We are left with the option of The Wicked Witch or one of two relative unknowns.

    Not that the Labour Party has covered itself in glory. It appears to have entered into self destruct mode, with orchestrated resignations, bad mouthing and 'spinning' on all sides. We are still no clearer as to who or in what direction the party will head.

    The SNP are equally screwed as their hopes for Independence appeared to be pinned on using Sterling as their currency. Bit late for them now the English appear to have flushed it down the toilet for them.

    Paradoxically the winners in this (if there can be any) might be our erstwhile colleagues in the EU. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that they will see what has happened and address some of the justifiable concerns over the way the EU operates as a way of ensuring no one else decides to follow the British. I have to confess I cannot see why the EU Parliament spends 6months in one city then the remainder of the year in another, but then I have never quite understood Belgian humour. Of course by the time this is resolved the UK will be out of The Club and our name will be removed from the list of acceptable clients.

    If the intention of the Great British Public was to stick two fingers up the nostrils of the political class, squeeze and give a good hard yank then they have done a wonderful job.

    However it remains to be seen whether anyone is able to clear up the resultant discharge.

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    1. We can only hope things calm down - it would be sadly ironic indeed if the EU is now stimulated into sorting out its immigration rules, and we send them a congratulatory telegram. I am short on personal involvement - enthusiasm for Brexit in Scotland was low - I only know two people who intended to vote Leave, in fact - one is an elderly friend of the family, whose view was that "Germany tried to overpower us twice before, and they're not getting another shot" (discuss - with your budgerigar if you have one), and then there's my gardener, who is very worried about muslims, and told me that we had to leave because (and I quote) "every s--- a--- without a job can come here, and we can't stop them".

      That's it, I'm afraid, so I've had to rely on reading the Economist and all that.

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  12. Rather like the final outcome my social circle was evenly split. My father drummed the need to exercise my right to vote into me from a very young age but was so disgusted with the conduct of the campaign by both sides that he wrote what he thought of the whole sorry lot of them on his ballot paper much to the embarrassment of my mother who told him to just hurry up and vote.

    I do think things will settle down but I wonder how people outside the UK view what has happened.

    Interestingly one of my work colleagues ventured the opinion today that it was all to do with deflecting attention away from the publication of the Chilcot report. At least conspiracy theorists are alive and flourishing

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