A British PM lying to the world: thank God it couldn't happen today
As soon as we returned from the sun, the Major was round reminding us precisely why we'd gone away in the first place.
He's not in good shape. Over the last week his normal claret complexion has deepened a couple of beetroot shades, and he could hardly speak for grinding those crumbling brown teeth of his:
"My God! My God! The economy's fallen off a cliff! OFF A CLIFF! Market's collapsed. Bang!" He gulped for air, his eyes bulging alarmingly. "Those buy-one-get-one-free luxury executive apartments I bought in Scunthorpe Quays? No tenants, no buyers! Not worth the cardboard they're made of. Pop's Barclays shares? Worthless! And as for that," gulp, "that damned idiotic ridiculous, gah, structured vulture fund Kuntz put me into - blown to smithereens - nothing left! Not a bean! " He snarled and throttled the air. "Just wait till I get my hands on him! Slimy little Nazi bastard!"
He slumped down at the kitchen table, and I made him a heavily fortified coffee. I reminded him how he's never been cut out for investment, and how I'd always advised keeping his money in index-linked National Savings.
He ground his teeth, his face contorted with rage. "You lying bastard! You never ever said that."
He swigged some of the mixture. "I tell you this country's finished. Kaput! It's not just the economy, the Army's falling apart - I went to a regimental dinner last week and half of them want to get out pdq - heartbreaking. Crime - while you were away, we've had God knows how many knife murders. Shootings... rapists roaming free... can you believe this?! Some scumbag has just been jailed for the fourth time - the FOURTH time - for rape. The other three times he got let out, even though one of his victims was a 12 year old girl. And even though he told his probation officers when he got released last time there was a nine-in-ten chance he'd do it again. Who the blanking blank thought it was a good idea to let him out?"
Next week, the Home Office will publish its annual update on violent crime, including murder. If the Major and the Telegraph's survey are right, it's going to show a big increase. This is getting scary. Our lib elite politicos are prepared to talk tough, but delivery is a whole other matter.
One more time*:
- Zero tolerance for misusing knives - get done and you go inside
- Local policing directed by local communities (elected sheriffs)
- Three strikes and you're out (maybe two or even one for crimes of violence)
- Double the number of prison places
As for the Army, with half its personnel thinking of quitting and its head passed over for promotion, that's in far worse shape than... well, since the last time. And having just finished Peter Hennessy's book on the fifties, I can tell you the forces weren't exactly ecstatic after the "never again" Suez cock-up.
Funny that. Just like in 1956, we've got a PM who's way out of his depth in a world that refuses to conform to his cardboard version of reality. Eden lasted 20 months. So far Brown's only had 12 months. But then again, Eden told some whopping great lies, whereas Brown would never do that.
Anyway, looks like the Major's still unconscious under our kitchen table.
We may go straight back to the sun.
* Footnote: Against all the rules of blogging, I've amended this blog. The first version suggested zero tolerance of knife carrying, random searches, and automatic jail for offenders. As several commenters have quite correctly pointed out, that is the solution of a police state, and a gross encroachment on the freedom of scouts, fishermen, and others to bear knives. I agree. Our emphasis should always be on personal responsibility not to misuse knives (or anything else), supported by the harsh punishment for anyone caught doing so. And the appropriate policing techniques (such as the use of random searches) should be determined not by the commissars, but by local communities themselves (ie our elected sheriffs). Many apologies for temporary brainstorm - put it down to returning home and catching up in one go with an appalling week of carnage on our streets.
PS Eden was a crap liar: just look at his scrunched up body language in the clip. As you will know, we invaded Suez on a trumped up pretext, against the advice of our law officers, against the considered judgement of our military chiefs, and on the say-so of a bounced Cabinet. Who says history doesn't repeat itself? The only difference is that in 1956 we did it against the strong opposition of the US, whereas this time...