Monday, October 08, 2007

Out for a Duck


Picture from Sydney Morning Herald

I’ve been eerily quiet about the ceremonial waddling of duck feet from No. 11 to No. 10 Downy Street. Difficult as it may be for some to contemplate, even Pants is capable of giving a duck a fair go – at least for a semester. There is another reason - I was reeling from the shock that I could actually have been wrong about something. The cyanide pills were on order. It's true, you can get anything on eBay.

Scrooge of the Clan McDuck opened his Premiership with a speech that not only almost made sense, it was delivered without the obsessive shuffling of papers that ensured you never quite believed any of the figures that spilled from his Chancellorial beak. The shiftiness and self-consciously averted eyes had been replaced by a steely glare of conviction. For nearly three months questions were just about answered satisfactorily. Even I began to stop imagining it was state silverware bulking out those baggy suits.

No one expected a swan transformation but there was at least hope over the summer that Scrooge wasn’t going to make a total paté of the job. He’d fumbled his way through the floods – hardly as challenging as New Orleans but at least he’d managed a few timely sympathetic words for the deluged. He’d responded swiftly to the mortgage crisis, for which I declare a grateful interest, since I sold House of Pants that very week. He’d managed the pestilence within the food chain, but then again plagues that threaten to wipe out the animal kingdom are now as regular as Michael Palin’s arrivals but probably not as worrying for the locals.

It was starting to look like a safe pair of hands was at the helm, albeit one of them being the famous ‘big clunking fist’. It couldn’t last because Scrooge (sorry, I seem to have left my moral compass in my other trousers) McDuck proved no more of an entrée than his predecessor.

Push came to shove as they say during the party conferences over the past two weeks. McDuck is no MacDuff. He didn’t choke exactly but his speech was hardly Churchillian or even vaguely vermillion. Its successful completion was cause for celebration in Labour ranks - expectations weren't high. That in itself is a distance travelled but the fact that he said nothing didn’t go unnoticed. Nothing may be all we’re used to getting but we were led to believe that the days of blank looks and unfinished sentences got shipped to Connaught Square with the rest of the Blairs' perishables.

David ‘Me Cam’ Cameron, who makes duck down look heavy, wowed his party conference with nothing as well but his nothing was made up of slightly different non-ingredients and he’d learned it by heart and he'd unleashed the Southern Baptist within when he got up on that stage. A stunned and grateful nation rewarded him with an even money start should there be a snap election. The Tory-proposed raising of the inheritance tax and stamp duty thresholds may not have been implementable but certainly proved popular. Even House of Pants is above the current threshold. There can scarcely be a property in inner London that isn't.

Meanwhile, back at the Money Bin (the knocked-through 10-11 Downy Street), McDuck’s round-the-clock pollsters were called in after his interminable sermon of which no one can agree the exact length but it went down in the minutes as 'for ever plus a fourth term'. They concluded (rather bravely I thought) that it probably wasn’t a great idea to hold an election after you’d only been in charge for three months, particularly if you've come up looking like even more of a tosser than your more popular (today at least) rival.

Problem – how do you then explain to pundits who have noted your unmistakable big clunking fist shoring up the jackets of various cabinet colleagues promoting the idea of an election?

Answer – you go all stony-faced and pretend that holding an election is the most absurd idea since deep-fried Mars bars.

'I'll not be calling an election and let me explain why. I have a vision for change in Britain and I want to show people how in government we are implementing it’, he intoned to Andrew Marr of the BBC, 'I want the chance in the next phase of my premiership to develop and show people the policies that are going to make a huge difference and show the change in the country itself.’

I started to see silver candelabras underneath those baggy suits all over again. At this rate, he’ll need a reign as long as Castro’s to change the country (like, as if). By then Michael Palin might just have completed his life's work of engaging, in a profoundly annoying way, very resident of this planet. It seems only fitting to sentimentally invoke Palin from his glorious Python days at this sad time in history if only to send a strong message to Scrooge, and indeed Palin himself,

Intercourse the duck.’

There was a time when ordinary people knew up from down, back from front and in from out...





22 comments:

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

I don't think wee Gordy's having a good day.

You know why they are still in power?

Picture The Boy David or Ming The Merciless (I'm 94 you know, oh yerrrs) running the country.

Exactly.

That's so pants said...

Your Dameship

You've GOT to worry when Ming says the most sensible thing of the week, to wit,

'The real question is how could it possibly be that Mr Brown, who has been preparing for 10 years, could have allowed himself and his government to be drawn into circumstances in which they're forced to make such a humiliating climbdown?'

But then again he did preface it with a full house of cliches. The world hasn't gone COMPLETELY insane, yet.

xxx

Pants

Minx said...

The world hasn't gone COMPLETELY insane, yet. No, that's tomorrow when duckwit tells us it was all just a horrible dream.

That's so pants said...

I wish Minxie, I wish...

xxx

Pants

phil said...

You should be grateful that you get nothing. We gets lots and it's interminable.

Quink said...

Something tells me that these "looking even more of a tosser than..." moments are going to be depressingly frequent.

That's so pants said...

Hi Phil

And that too will be my future Much of a muchness from where I'm sitting.

Hi Quinkie

Is it too late to consider it for an Olympic sport?

xxx

Pants

trousers said...

While Mr Duck was certainly a refreshing change from his predecessor, I didn't hold my breath: almost anything would have been a relief from his predecessor. Plus the duck in question, although handling day-to-day affairs better, still needs to prove his mettle on the international stage (he wasn't exactly against the Iraq invasion) and needs to pay more than lip service to civil liberties (while laws are passed which restrict them further).

Anyway - I liked your writing about this.

Anonymous said...

Splendid!

Pumpie (non signed in)

That's so pants said...

Hi Trews

In the strangest way I feel vindicated because I always thought he was dishonest. I'm not glad for the COUNTRY obviously, but I'm glad my instincts aren't faulty.

Pumpie

What are you doing?


xxx

Pants

Political Umpire said...

typing with one arm, holding baby with other

That's so pants said...

Ok. Good luck with that.

xxx

Pants

Political Umpire said...

trousers mentions those not entirely against the Iraq invasion. Saw a polemic on BBC2 last night, some filmmaker floating the idea of a "Misrepresentation of the People Act" as a way of goading MPs into admitting too many of them tell lies. One labour one proudly said that she was independent and, eg, was "against the Iraq war". In fact she only voted for amendments at one point and , on the actual vote for war abstained. It really irritates me all those who are coming out of the woodwork and claiming that they were opposed to the whole thing when flagrantly they were not. There was only one course if you were dead against it - resign. We know how many did that. I have more time for Boris Johnson who was in favour, has since admitted the whole thing was a disaster, and has also had the guts to go to Iraq twice to see for himself.

That's so pants said...

Hi Pumpie

I take it you've put baby down. I agree. Politicians ought to accept that if they make this kind of error they should live with the consequences. Lying fools no one.

xxx

Pants

Political Umpire said...

I have. He's feeding at the moment, and nature has decreed that that is something Mrs Pumpie must attend to. God (or nature) never read the Human Rights Act or the Discrimination Act.

Thing that irritates me most about all these people who have suddenly discovered they were against the war from the start is that, lying aside, it is worse to think you were right all along when you did not do the right thing. Eg Blunkett said he had all these misgivings and TB was irrational at cabinet meetings in his zest for war. But Blunkett said nothing at the time, or nothing public, much less resigned. Since cabinet acts collectively, it was his decision as much as TBs whilst he was in the cabinet. Robin Cook resigned, Blunkett could have done the same (and if enough of them had, it would have stopped the thing). Clare Short was even worse in a way because she said I'm against it but I don't want to resign my cabinet post because I like the salary whoops I mean I can do 'more good' in the Cabinet than out of it (though evidence of that was conspicuous by its absence).

It would be much more honourable to admit that they went along with it because they were convinced alliance with America was necessary for Britain's interests, and because they didn't give enough thought to the post-invasion problems. That, I think, was TBs true motivation - ever since the start of WWII Britain has depended on the US in terms of security (even in the Falklands War American help was crucial) and therefore it was better to go with them than with Europe, whose armed forces would struggle to win Blackadder's Battle of M'Boto Gorge, where the natives were armed with watermelon slices. TB knew this so went with the US against the majority of the country and indeed the majority of the world.

That's so pants said...

Hi Pumpie

You're right of course in a moral sense but don't forget that it is not the way of politicians to commit career suicide any more than it is for any other professional. If you can fight your way out of a corner, you will - it's a basic human instinct.

The democratic failure, as you point out, is in the functionality of Cabinet. If it IS the case that Cabinet judged TB irrational at the time (as opposed to retrospectively), and were individually predominantly against war, then members should have nailed TB's head to the floor and told him that Britain was not for war!

Britain has only THIS YEAR, repaid the 'lend-lease' loan to the USA for its financial assistance during WWII and its aftermath. If ever there was a time to redefine the terms of the 'Special Relationship', its now.

I suggest the following wording.

"All bets are off so fuck off Uncle"

xxx

Pants

Anonymous said...

interesting, see my post 'mortgaged to the yanks'

pumpie sorry baby in arms

That's so pants said...

Hi Pumpie

OK - I'm not getting the link between holding the baby and not being able to locate your own blog. What am I missing here.

I'll pop over to yours now.

xxx

Pants

Political Umpire said...

hi pants it is that fewer keys need to be hit (ie I don't log in at the start). Now he's SUPPOSED to be sleeping.

BTW the loan just repaid wasn't 'lend lease' it was the money Atlee had to borrow to keep the place afloat at the end of the war, lend lease etc rendering the place bankrupt at the time.

That's so pants said...

Hi Pumpie

Thanks for that - I should have checked. I looked for your 'Mortgaged to the Yanks' post and couldn't see it. Can you send me the link please - when you have a free hand!

xxx

Pants

Political Umpire said...

Hi pants,

link is http://cricketandcivilisation.blogspot.com/2007/01/mortgaged-to-yanks.html

or just enter 'mortgaged to the yanks' into the search box at the top left of the blog.

Back-to-work-and-therefore-grumpie-pumpie

That's so pants said...

Cheers Pumpie

xxx

Pants