Friday, 10 July 2020

Notre Dame, feelings after the fire

Notre Dame, feelings after the fire (from a Facebook post of 16 April 2019)

I’ve been doing some thinking about exactly why I and evidently many others found the Notre Dame fire so upsetting. There are of course the obvious things about the beauty and the history of the building and its contents—though much of these seem to have been saved, thanks to the skill and bravery of the firefighters. But, besides this, there are I think (and have often thought before) other, more personal reasons why places can mean so much to many of us, how they connect with our lives and connect our lives with those of others

For me, personally, the Notre Dame connection begins with hearing of and seeing pictures of the place as a child, long before I ever saw it for real. I finally saw it for real the first time I visited France with my partner, Nathalie, in 1998, and was awestruck by it and by the fact that I was so privileged to see it. I saw it several times in the subsequent years, a backdrop to almost annual trips to Paris. I sat on a bench in its shadows in 2013 after I did a job interview (badly) at the Sorbonne, before meeting up for a cheer-up lunch with my friend Allan Potofsky. Since moving to France the following year (after a more successful job interview in Lyon) I’ve taken time to pass by or visit it on almost every one of my fairly frequent trips to Paris, and every time I do it puts me in mind of how blessed I am to have the life I have. And that in fact has become a reason I try to make sure I go there, to feel and remember how blessed I am.

And when there I also think about all the unknown millions of people across the centuries and across the world who’ve also seen Notre Dame, from the carpenters and masons who first built it 800 ago and those who’ve maintained it and rebuilt ever since, those who’ve worshipped there through the centuries, the tourists from all over the world who’ve visited it as I have, to the firefighters who saved so much of it for us all yesterday, and also the people who’ve only heard of it and seen pictures of it, like me until 20-odd years ago. Each one of these people has a unique personal relationship with Notre Dame, the same as me but different from mine. Yet I feel connected to them through this beautiful place, however long ago they lived, however far away they come from, even though I've never met them. These places are where we all connect, what we all have in common, even if we've never met, whenever we lived and wherever we may come from.

I thought maybe all this was slightly fanciful and possibly silly, but this morning I read a short thread by Kirsty Rolfe on twitter—she is
@avoiding_bears there and is endlessly brilliant and fascinating. She wrote of a geographer called Doreen Massey (1944-2016) who sees places as constructed by “trajectories”, by the “stories-so-far” that meet in them, and by “intersections” those meetings represent—the connected stories of people, objects, animals, whoever and whatever they may be, and whenever those connections may happen. As Kirsty Rolfe put it: “The trajectories of the oaks felled for the roof: growing for hundreds of years in medieval forests, the largest of their kind - meeting those of the carpenter, of the worshipper, of the tourist, of the mourner.” I’d never heard of Doreen Massey before, but I thought, yes, that’s it, that's how I feel about this place and other places like it. So, I’m going to read some of her work, and I just thought I’d put these thoughts here in case you were wondering about your thoughts and feelings about all this too.

Postscipt—I have, since this, read some of Doreen Massey’s work. The most relevant to this post is For Space (Sage, 2005). A wonderful and moving piece of work.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Boris Johnson’s Top Ten Tips for the New-Look Lockdown

1. Stay alert.

2. Wibble doff doff, whoooo!

3. Fantastic NHS.

4. We will fight. On the beaches.

5. Fnarr Fnarr.  

6. Chavs, losers, burglars, drug addicts

7. Back to work! 

8. Drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless, hopeless.

9. Britain, eh? Fantastic.

8. Maaahhh!

7. Innovation. Best in the world! 

6. Jumpers for goalposts.

5. Bullah bullah! Raaagh raaagh!

4. Fantastic NHS.

7. Picaninnies!

8. We will never. Surrender.


6. Successful. Brilliant.  

4. What ho, Pip Pip!

1. Vital plans, absolutely vital. VITAL.

5. Wibble, wibbly, wibbly wibble.

10. I was very … very drunk.

Friday, 8 May 2020

“We Survived the War!” Misappropriating and Misremembering

As it’s VE Day, I’ve been reading a bit about how people remember wars. That is, how we commemorate and what that says about us, rather than what it says about any particular war. That put me in mind of how wars are misremembered, even to the point of some people imagining they participated in them, even if they were born years and even decades after them. To do so, they often use a “we” that takes the concept of an “imagined community” (Benedict Anderson) beyond mere identification with other people’s experiences into the appropriation of those experiences—as in “we fought the war” and “we survived the war” etc.

These appropriations are often committed for political purposes that often aim for the opposite of what a certain war was fought for—as in the appropriation of the victory over Nazism as weapon for rather than against nationalism. The Second World War was used first as an argument for brexit—“we stood alone in 1939-45 so we can stand alone now.” Never mind that a) no “we
 didn’t and nor did our forebears and b) the world has changed since then. During the subsequent campaign for a no deal brexit the trope transitioned into “we survived the war so we’ll survive no deal,” which prompted me to write the following, which I initially did as a Facebook post and that I’m now re-doing as a blog post for the 75th anniversary of VE Day, about how some people misremember and misappropriate the Second World War. The picture illustrating this post is of Mark Francois, a brexiter who was especially fond of the “we fought” and “we survived” tropes, as rightly and brilliantly mocked by @Sarf_London. Francois was born in 1965, and, according to the evidence of his parliamentary expense accounts, he could neither fight off a packet of Gummy Bears, never mind the Wehrmacht, nor survive six minutes on his sofa, never mind six years of global warfare, without a bottle of Vimto, a couple of Curly Wurlys, and a bag of Monster Munch.      

Picture credit to @Sarf_London               

“We Survived the War!”: the Unflushable Rhetorical Turd of English Nationalism

I see the unflushable “we survived the war, so we’ll survive no deal” turd has bobbed back to the surface of the tragically misnamed brexit “debate.” And that’s despite the many who have taken up their metaphorical toilet brushes and attempted to batter the pertinacious feculence down during its previous appearances. As they have already pointed out.... 1: The Second World War was imposed on us, not something like brexit, which we imposed on ourselves (or in fact that 52% of voters, 37% of registered voters, 26% of the population imposed on the rest of us). 2: The only people who survived the war are 75 years of age or older. The rest of us no more survived the Second World War than we did the Battle of Hastings. 3: “We” survived thanks to allies in colonies, in free countries, and resisters in occupied ones who bailed us out and fought beside us, though the costs of that were the collapse of empire, rationing until 1954, and lend-lease repayments that took until 2006 to complete. 4: Over 440,000 Britons, including 67,000 civilians, did NOT in fact survive the war, and were among the 70-85 million who died world-wide, including 50-56 million civilians, plus another 20-30 million if we include those killed by famine and disease.

And yet, far from being dispatched to the sewer where it belongs, the obdurate jobbie has merely lurked momentarily around the U-bend of national consciousness until resurfacing, with exasperating predictability, to foul the waters of civic conversation yet again. So, I am taking up the heavily encrusted cudgel of bathroom hygiene and shall attempt to sink the monstrous floater once and for all with a series of what we might call History Hits™. I do not expect to succeed. Even so, let’s think about the phrase “we survived the war” in relation to those who, in fact, did not survive the war, with my apologies to anyone who’s said the following before. And let’s, with a slight but I think necessary adaptation of historiographical nomenclature, call the following exercise a counter-fatual.

The 440,000 dead represent just under 1 percent of the 1939 British population of just over 46m, just under 48m for the whole UK. Let’s extrapolate from that figure to see what a “we’ll survive no deal” scenario would mean in terms of everyday experience today.

Neighbourhood: from the house I grew up in I could see maybe 25-30 other houses with up to perhaps 150 residents. That means one person or more in most people’s immediate neighbourhoods would die in the surviving the war/no deal scenario.

Personal circles: the size of people’s family and friendship networks vary, but most people know or have known several hundred others, more or less closely, meaning several deaths among family and friends in the surviving the war/no deal scenario.

Villages and towns: in my hometown of Lutterworth, current population of 9,353, 80 to 90 people would die in the surviving the war/no deal scenario. The figure will vary according to region, social class, and pre-existing health conditions.

Counties: in my home county of Leicestershire, current population of 547,352, about 5,000 people would die in the surviving the war/no deal scenario.

Nationwide: in the UK as a whole, current population of 67,594,347, about 600,000 people would die in the surviving the war/no deal scenario.

These figures are vastly overblown, or at least I hope so, but I’m thinking here about no-deal rhetoric rather than statistics, about what “we survived the war, so we’ll survive no deal” means. On the face of it, “we survived” means no-dealers are prepared to see one or more of their neighbours, several of their family and friends, scores in their towns, thousands in every county, and hundreds of thousands across the country die for a no deal brexit. If that’s not so, brexiters, then I’d like to see your figures—how many people ARE you prepared to see die for a no deal brexit, given that there will certainly be deaths in the wake of shortages of medicines, and one coroner has already reported a brexit-related suicide? If you deny there will be deaths, or if your estimates are much lower than above, then the “we survived” analogy makes no sense. If so, then maybe you should get off your porcelain thrones, pull your trousers up, and stop talking out of your arses about the war.

The Brexit Tree

The Brexit Hall of Lame: The Brexit Tree.
At the time of brexit I couldn't help felling that this tree, in my village, with the tips of its branches turned upwards in what looks like both one-finger and two-finger salutes, looks like brexit. So I wrote a thing.   

The Brexit Tree is an Ye Olde Englishe Oake Tree in Wales, England, dating from the Court of King Arthur,
 back in ye oldene dayes. It was brought to life after its ground was watered when Merlin the Wizard the Man the Legend had a few too many at Ye Olde Wither’d Spoon in Carmarthen town centre, and on his way home had to go for an urgent wazz at the corner of Oak Lane and Priory Street.
The Brexit Tree was that soon sprouted was then carefully tended and nurtured with lies and poison by a long line of leaky wizards, pigamists, zombies, man-frogs, Honey Monsters, Govelins, haunted pencils, and right-wing political activists posing as neutral reporters at the BBC.

The Brexit Tree grew tall and strong and voted to leave the European Union because it was tired of being ruled by foreigners and wanted its Empire back.

The Brexit Tree likes to tell Remoaners that they lost and should “get over it” while doing V-signs like the archers at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

The Brexit Tree has been complaining about Political Correctness and snowflakes since the abolition of the slave trade, but wants to ban the word “gammon” because it is racist against white people.

The Brexit Tree stole the EU Referendum and yet is still angrier than the people it has cheated out of their rights of citizenship and free movement.

The Brexit Tree has been doing V-signs at the EU continuously for over 40 years, but if anyone criticizes it then it will shake its twigs in righteous fury.

The Brexit Tree likes to make impossible and contradictory demands and then blame Remoaners, the EU, and brown people when it doesn't get what it wants.

The Brexit Tree is sick and tired of Remoaners boring on about LeaveUK being found guilty of overspending and being referred to the police for illegally funding BeLeave with money from sources with connections to Vladimir Putin and various Nazi groups because we must respect Democracy and the
Volksgemeinschaft Will of the People.

The Brexit Tree is sick and tired of Remoaners boring on about the Nazi Posters, the murder of Jo Cox, the hate crimes, the “Traitor” headlines, the lies on the bus and all over the internet because there was bad behavior By Both Sides.

The Brexit Tree is sick and tired of elitist academic and business experts with their facts and experience and has a feeling in its trunk that all will be fine and the landlord at the Spoon says so and he’s rich and a bit of a ledge and so knows what he’s talking about, even though he can’t afford any seats for the pub or get any more supplies of Uberstrongen Pisstenmeister Blindenlaager.

The Brexit Tree isn’t scared of a No Deal Brexit because it stood alone in 1940 and single-handedly won the battles of Dunkirk and Deeday.

The Brexit Tree angrily points out that it didn’t fight in World War II to be dominated by Europe, which is true because it didn’t fight in World War II and isn’t dominated by Europe.

The Brexit Tree is standing on the White Cliffs of Dover doing furious V-signs at all its forrins and is looking forward to the world’s embrace of Global Britain.

The Brexit Tree doesn’t yet realize that for many centuries it’s been lied to and poisoned by pigamists, zombies, man-frogs, Honey Monsters, Govelins, haunted pencils, and right-wing political activists posing as neutral reporters at the BBC, or that very soon indeed it will be too late to save itself from the terrible fate that awaits it.

For the Secret Plan all along has been that the Brexit Tree will be chopped down for firewood to warm the massive and hideous arse of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Goodbye, Brexit Tree.

The End.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

The Brexit Hall of Lame: “Michael” The Govelin “Gove”

The Brexit Hall of Lame: “Michael” The Govelin “Gove”

Having covered Farage, the leader, and all the Prime Ministers, the Brexit Hall of Lame now turns to the seocnd tier, the true Number Twos of Brexit, starting with goblin in a man-suit 
“Michael” The Govelin “Gove.”

The Govelin first burst upon the world in an early DC Comics story called “The House Flippers.” In this initial outing for the smallest and yet one of the most devilish of all Batman villains, numerous members of Gotham City Council, otherwise known for advocating government cuts for public services and welfare, were jailed for illicitly trousering public money to fund their often bizarrely extravagant lifestyles. For his part, The Govelin claimed expenses for a house that was not in his ward, and then “flipped” his “second home,” also not in his ward, so that the citizens would stump up the $13,000 Stamp Duty. He also charged the citizenry $500 a night in for Hotel and Spa stays while moving between his houses, which were not in his ward, and spent another $7,000 on decorations by OKA, an interior design company owned by Viscountess Asda. In the final frames of the comic story, The Batman hurls all the thieving scoundrels over the walls and into the grounds of Blackgate Penitentiary to their pitiful cries of “BAH!”, “GNERK!”, and “OOF!”

By an amazing coincidence, Viscountess Asda was the aunt of another villain named “David” The Hameron “Cameron,” with whom The Govelin would become closely associated in later stories. The Hameron’s background had been previously sketched out in a story called “The Piggy Fiddler,” in which the hammy-skinned prince of pomposity was a member of a Secret Society whose members perform unspeakable acts on the carcasses of swine, pictures of which were unprintable even in the darkest of fantasy comic novels. In thrilling chase scenes that have become the stuff of legend, The Batman pursues The Hameron through the industrial wastelands of Gotham, until The Hameron trips and is hideously disfigured by falling face-first onto an arse mould in a mannequin factory. In the final frames, The Batman hurls The Hameron over the walls and into the grounds of Arhhan Asylum for the Criminally Insane to his pitiful cries of “BAH!”, “GNERK!”, and “OOF!”

In a later story we find that The Hameron has been released from the asylum and elected Mayor of Gotham, despite still being on the Sex Offenders Register, and that The Govelin has been released from Blackgate Penitentiary. In “The Child Catcher,” the now bum-faced seigneur of superciliousness is so impressed by The Govelin’s financial history and taste in interior decorators that he appoints the fiendish garden gnome as Gotham City Schools Inspector. The Govelin approached his portfolio gnomically observing that “there is good academia and bad academia” and saying that he wanted all schools to be above average. He said children need “a rooting in the basic scientific principles,” while gnomically attributing Lord Kelvin’s laws of thermodynamics to Isaac Newton. He criticized an “anti-knowledge culture” for undermining education, while approving Creationist schools, gnomically. The Govelin further aimed to modernize the Gotham schools’ curricula and exams by replacing them with ones from thirty years before. A hundred faculty at the Gotham School of Economics and Political Science criticized his “neo-Victorian” emphasis on rote learning over thinking, and on memory over understanding. The Head of the History Department described his curriculum reforms as a “ridiculous shopping list” of subjects and as “insulting and offensive” and “pedantic and utopian,” while the Head of Admissions said The Govelin’s policies would “wreck the Gotham education system.” Others attacked The Govelin’s “blinkered, almost messianic, self-belief, which appears to have continually ignored the expertise and wisdom of teachers, head-teachers, advisers and academics, whom he often claims to have consulted.” The Gotham Association of Head Teachers said that the villainous midget also created a “climate of bullying, fear and intimidation” and passed a vote of no confidence in him, as did the Gotham Union of Teachers, the Gotham Association of Teachers and Lecturers, and the Gotham Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

No one took any notice of these people, obviously, because their opinions were biased by knowledge and experience. Furthermore, The Govelin tried to dodge Freedom of Information requests by discussing public business with advisors using a private email account under the name of “Mrs. Blurt.” Commissioner Gordon granted a request that the emails be released to the Gotham Gazette anyway, but The Govelin had deleted them, for reasons of “good computer housekeeping.” Commissioner Gordon nonetheless accused the sprite of Satan of “abuse of power” for cutting city school funding without consultation in his “Demolishing Schools for the Future” initiative. The Govelin also accused a school builder of earning $1,000,000 in one year, which a Council investigation found to be “not quite true” on the grounds that it was $700,000, five people, and four years. The final frames show The Batman hurling the hideous imp of Hades over the walls and into the grounds of Blackgate Penitentiary to his pitiful cries of “BAH!”, “GNERK!”, and “OOF!”

The Govelin later featured in a story called “Legends of the Dark Right.” It began with his release from prison for “Abuse of Power” and immediate appointment by The Hameron as Chief Whip of the Conservative Party and then Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. But The Hameron then concocted a Cunning Plan to marginalise The New Jersey Research Group and other Worldoskeptics by calling a referendum on Gotham’s independence. At this point The Govelin decided to betray his mentor and join forces with The Hameron’s life-long enemy, Boss Hogg-Johnson, the two together falsely promising wealth and freedom for Gotham but in fact plotting to use the economic chaos that would inevitably follow from separation as a pretext to sell off the city’s assets and keep the money for themselves. Opponents pointed out how separation would impoverish everyone except the very rich, but The Govelin said he was “tired of experts from organisations with acronyms saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.” When accused of being against “all experts” he insisted he only meant experts “from organisations with acronyms saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong” because of course he did, of course, of course. Meanwhile, Boss Hogg-Johnson criticized all the business owners and academics, who warned that separation would be either terrible or disastrous, telling citizens that the Imperial City of Gotham could have its cake and eat it too, while shouting “Dang the Chamber of Commerce” and accusing all the professors at The Gotham School of Economics and Political Science of promoting “Project Poo Pants.”

The fiendish schemers finally over-reached themselves, however, when they claimed they would donate $350 million to Gotham General Hospital, a promise so blatantly false and cynical that all the citizens immediately realized they were being conned by two absolute Jokers and never again believed a single word either of them ever said. A Council investigation subsequently found that The Govelin’s and Boss Hogg-Johnson’s Vote Leavil campaign organization had spent more money than is legally permitted on Evil Plans, and also referred evidence to the Gotham City Police Department that Vote Leavil had “conspired to break the law” by funneling “huge sums” through another separatist group called BeLeavil, whose offices were in the same building. Commissioner Gordon declined to investigate further, however, because of what he called “political issues and sensitivities.” Nevertheless, despite endless abuse and threats, mostly from the Gotham Broadcasting Corporation, Gotham Observer journalist Carole Cad-Walloper eventually proved all of the above to be true, and also proved that masses of false information had been funded and planted on the GBC and other networks by a conspiracy including associates of slum-lord Frederick Anti-Christ Trump and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The final frames show The Batman hurling The Govelin, Boss Hogg-Johnson, and a brillo-wigged fake journalist named Neil Andrew over the walls and into the grounds of Blackgate Penitentiary to their pitiful cries of “BAH!”, “GNERK!”, and “OOF!”

In a fourth and final story we find that The Govelin has been released after serving his third term in prison. In “The Govelin Returns,” the treacherous Thumbelina betrays his former ally by undermining Boss Hogg-Johnson’s candidature for Mayor of Gotham and then announcing his own. After coming third, behind a half-living skeleton and a zombie named Andrea Deadsome, Mayor Therebble Skeletor nevertheless appointed The Govelin as Gotham City Park-Keeper. The heinous munchkin of Beelzebub then permitted fracking directly under Gotham City, leading to geological instability, an increase in gas consumption, and a corresponding rise in city temperatures, which the pint-sized king of corruption then unconvincingly denied had anything to do with the recently founded Govelin Earthquake Repair Company, or the recently founded Govelin Energy Solutions, or the recently founded Govelin Ice Cream Emporium. The final frames show The Batman hurling The Govelin over the walls and into the grounds of Blackgate Penitentiary to his pitiful cries of “BAH!”, “GNERK!”, and “OOF!”

Sadly, however, a survey showed that DC Comic readers found The Govelin too ridiculous-looking to be convincingly evil and too stupid-looking to be a plausible genius, and he was thereafter dropped from Gotham City Rogue’s Gallery. Apart from these four stories, therefore, the only thing The Govelin is remembered for among comic book enthusiasts is as the one single character Bob Kane ever gave Bill Finger full credit for.

Angered and embittered at his rejection by the comic industry, The Govelin resolved to wreak vengeance on humanity by entering politics in the real world. He escaped from Blackgate Penitentiary by personally blocking one of the prison’s moveable toilets, and thereby being transported to the premises of Govelin’s Portaloo Repair Company, to which the pocket-sized devil-botherer had outsourced blockage servicing during his tenure as Gotham City Park-Keeper. The Govelin subsequently fled abroad by hiding himself among an export consignment of Chucky Dolls. He finally alighted in England, where he shortened his last name to “Gove” and adopted the first name “Michael,” after the Portaloo in which he’d escaped incarceration and about which he would later write a frankly rather weird book. He realized that in this eccentric country in which he was now exiled he could pass as a near-plausible-looking human being by fraternizing with such other marginal entities as pie-faced ham slices, zombies, Honey Monsters, sentient pencils, and Michael Fabricant. He realized as well that he could hide his wicked intentions through cultivating an image of harmless imbecility by simply imitating the nation’s famously sophisticated comedy traditions, such as haplessly falling on his arse in front of TV cameras and generally looking like one of the more gormless characters in The Night Garden. And he also began to realize that, in this implausible island nation, blinded by visions of a fantasy past, bewildered by delusions of imperial grandeur, beguiled by a mirage of future glory, he might finally realize his evil dream of promising unicorns and profiting massively from impoverishment and chaos….

“Michael” The Govelin “Gove,” Conservative MP for Surrey Heath.

The Brexit Hall of Lame: Boris Johnson

The Brexit Hall of Lame: Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Boris Johnson Johnson

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Boris Johnson Johnson was born 19 June 1964. “De Pfeffel” is Latin for “Fuck you, I’m rich,” and indeed his whole series of names reads in revealing contrast to those of both his parents. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s father’s name is Stanley Johnson, the kind of stereotypically 1950s English working-class name that was quite possibly given at some point to a comically incompetent painter and decorator in a Norman Wisdom movie who hilariously and unpredictably donks everyone else in the film in the face with a plank he is carrying on his shoulder. His mother is called Charlotte Fawcett, a name quite possibly given to a generously hair-sprayed and yet still careworn heiress in a 1980s American TV soap opera because the writers thought it sounded a bit Jane Austen. Stan and Char therefore decided that their first-born would never suffer any negative effects of nominative determinism and so gave him a name that announces to the world that he can get away with Whatever the Fuck He Wants.

They further enabled their son with an ancestry including King George II, King Frederick William I of Prussia, and Prince Paul of Württemberg, albeit this time by accident of birth rather than any kind of intent. And besides these various Germans, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s forbears also include people from France, Turkey, and Japan, some of them Muslim and others Jewish, so that the Bullishly English sub-Churchillian Nationalism he delights in demonstrating contrasts starkly with his own multicultural background and thus serves as a perfect illustration of his total contempt for any accurate alignment between what he is and what he says he is, and more generally for any kind of truthfulness at all. Determined indeed that he suffer no inhibiting personal characteristics of any kind, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s parents also apparently instilled in him no sense of decency or restraint whatsoever. Consequently, his childhood ambition was to be “world king,” and to this day he continues to pursue his infantile ambitions, whatever the costs to other people.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s infinite sense of entitlement was further nurtured by growing up in apartments made of gold and mansions made of biscuits in places with such names as Maida Vale, Nethercote, Winsford, Notting Hill, and Primrose Hill, an onomastic geography of English twee that even Richard Curtis would dismiss as implausible. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was educated at institutions that further helped immunise him from the consequences of his actions: Ashdown House School, Eton, and then Ballyho College, Oxford—an upward trajectory unimpeded by his various teachers’ reports of his underachievement, laziness, and poor character. While at Oxford, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson joined the Bullingdon Club, along with David Cameron (and also Gideon “George” Osbourne, who they referred to as “oik” because he went to Westminster School rather than Eton). It bears repeating at every opportunity that the Bullingdon Club is a strictly exclusive chaps-only society whose now famous initiation ceremony involves inductees inserting their members into the mouths of dead pigs, and whose members are reputed for drunkenly destroying restaurants, burning £50 notes in the faces of homeless people, and making life-time connections in business and politics that ensure they always give each other first dibs on top jobs ahead of their more able and better qualified but less hoggosexual peers.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s career throughout what is legal speaking his adulthood is similarly basically a piss-taking demonstration of the fact that in Britain, even today, a certain class of people will always rise to the top, however indolent and incompetent they evidently are, and will always fall upwards, however fraudulent and dishonest they are proved to be. He was employed straight out of Oxford at The Times—for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson there would be no decades-long apprenticeship of reporting on potholes, dog-shit hotspots, and twattishly minor crimes for The Framley Examiner. He was fired from The Times for falsifying quotes, but did this disgraceful behaviour make Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson persona non grata in the media? Au contraire, old bean. He was instead quickly hired at The Daily Telegraph by Oxford University chum Maximum Hatings, and as Brussels correspondent from 1989 to 1994 he spent five years lying about the European Union, knowingly so, as other journalists repeatedly told him so—before being promoted to assistant editor from 1994 to 1999 and then editor of sister publication The Spectator. During these years he was frequently absent, late, and abusive to support staff, was involved in a failed conspiracy with Oxford University chum Darius Guppy to have another journalist beaten up, and used his column to refer to gay men as “tank-topped bumboys,” refer to black people as “picaninnies” with “watermelon smiles,” make jokes about “cannibalism” in Papua New Guinea, and call for the re-colonisation of Uganda. When removed from his editorship of The Spectator, he asked for and received a raise from £200,000 to £250,000, or £5,000 per Telegraph column, or £3,333.33 per hour of work. He agreed under political pressure to donate a fifth of this stunningly easily money to student hardship bursaries, which he then reneged on doing, describing this fantastic amount of money as “chicken feed.”

Did all this disgraceful behaviour make Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson persona non grata in the media? Au contraire, old bean. From the late 1990s, he quickly became a fixture on the BBC, with regular appearances on such shows as Top Gear, Parkinson, Breakfast with Frost, Question Time, and Have I Got News For You, successfully using the publicly-funded and massively powerful platform handily provided by the national broadcaster to further cultivate his image as a bit of a character, a bit of a larf, a sort of Terry Wogan for homophobes, xenophobes, racists, and liars. The BBC thus assisted Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in launching his career as a homophobic, xenophobic, racist, and lying politician.

After promising newspaper proprietor and massive conman Conrad Moffat Black that he would not seek election to parliament while editing The Spectator, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson became Conservative MP for Henley in 2001. He turned up for half the parliamentary votes, for which efforts he was rewarded with appointment as shadow arts minister and party vice-chairman. After being sacked for lying about an affair, he was re-elected in 2005 with an increased majority. He resigned the seat in 2008 to become Mayor of London, where he immediately claimed credit for what he named “Boris Bikes,” the idea and the work of his predecessor, Ken Livingstone. Livingstone would later rather generously describe Johnson as a “lazy tosser.” To be fair, though, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson did make the effort to reverse his predecessor’s environmental red tape, eliminating some congestion charges and restrictions on diesel emissions, cultivating public opinion on the issues by suppressing a report revealing that nitrogen dioxide levels exceeded EU maximum levels in areas that included 433 primary schools and that led to the deaths of 6,000 Londoners a year. Although, allegedly, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson did help ease people’s minds during the Olympic Games by deploying dust suppressants to remove air particulates near monitoring stations.

After promising voters during his re-election campaign in 2012 that he would not seek election to parliament while Mayor of London, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson became Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015. He soon made himself centre of attention again by theatrically delaying announcing his stance for the forthcoming EU referendum, after the bum-faced uber-donk of a Prime Minister David Cameron Twat failed to promise him money and jobs to secure his support for Remain in advance. Then, in contrast to historic statements about Britain being better off In, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson sincerely committed himself to Out. So sincerely indeed that he threw all his resources of mendacity into the personal career opportunities the referendum represented, lying that Britain paid £350 million a week into the EU, lying that he’d reinvest this money in the NHS, lying in a xenophobic way that the EU was like Napoleon and Hitler in trying to create a Roman imperial United Europe, lying in a racist way about possible Turkish entry into the EU resulting in 80 million Turkish people coming to the UK. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s shocked face when his lies unexpectedly won the referendum made plain that his plan all along was to be the plucky loser who would become Prime Minister in a pity-wank Tory leadership election that would eventually come. Instead he was forced to renounce his own candidature as too divisive in a leadership election that came way too quickly after the resignation of the dimwitted hambasket in Number 10 whose vainglorious stupidity gave rise to all this thunderfuckery in the first place. Hilariously, however, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s partner in lies during the referendum campaign, an evil Batman villain named Michael “The Govelin” Gove, stabbed his erstwhile ally in the front and entered the leadership race himself, and equally hilariously spectacularly lost.

New Prime Minister Thereza May decided that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s now notorious record of laziness, corruption, and mendacity made him suitable for a post in her cabinet, and that his now global reputation for xenophobia and racism would make him an ideal Foreign Secretary. One highlight of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s time at the Foreign Office came during a visit to a temple in Myanmar when the British ambassador had to prevent him from reading Rudyard Kipling’s racist poem Mandalay. Another came at the Isis-wrecked Libyan city of Serte, which, he said, and I absolutely shit you not, could be a new Dubai when they “clear the dead bodies away.” He also prompted the Iranian courts to double Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s prison sentence for allegedly teaching journalism from 5 to 10 years by saying she was teaching journalism. He continued in his post.

What also helped Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson win the admiration of and visits to his aides by US Nazi Steve Bannon was his continued open hostility to and mendacity about the EU. During the referendum campaign he said there wouldn’t be a hard brexit because getting a deal would be easy and Britain can have its cake and eat it too—he literally said that, perhaps sincerely as this had after all been his personal experience throughout his entire life—but afterwards he supported a hard Brexit and then a no deal one that no one voted for. When asked about business concerns about no deal, he said “Fuck Business,” thereby unveiling the disaster capitalist aim of destructive social engineering that motivated many Brexit politicians all along and that he had opportunistically come around to. Also, having said during the referendum campaign that there wouldn’t be a hard border in Ireland, he then said there would be, then said there wouldn’t be, and has since said there would be. Or, in other words, “Fuck Ireland.”

In July 2018, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson resigned from the Cabinet because Thereza May’s proposed deal was insufficiently unacceptable to the EU, and also so he could spend more time lying in newspapers and being racist and corrupt. In a Telegraph article, he ensured he kept plenty of attention on himself by saying that women in burqas and niqabs look like letter boxes and bank robbers, leading to a rise in hate crimes against Muslims. An independent panel established afterwards by the Conservative Party exonerated him on the grounds that he was “respectful and tolerant.” Also, a Sky News poll found that 60 percent of respondents found his comments “not racist.” Because, thanks in large part to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, that’s where we are now. His re-employment at the Telegraph, furthermore, was found to breach the Ministerial Code, and he was also forced to apologise to Parliament for failing to declare £50,000 of earnings. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found a total of nine “not inadvertent” failures by Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to declare his incomes. Has all this further disgraceful behaviour finally made him persona non grata in the media? Au contraire, old bean. He continues to be a popular figure who, though a backbencher now, is frequently sought out to feed the BBC’s anti-EU and pro-brexit lie machine.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffle Johnson has had a series of relationships with women who, being upper-class, are all named after motor vehicles. His two wives were sturdy and reliable British classics, an Allegra Mostyn-Owen and a Marina Wheeler, although in his spare time he likes a run around in fast and flashy Italian numbers and has been seen in a Petronella Wiat and an Anna Fazackili.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffle Johnson, former MP for Henley, former Mayor of London, former Foreign Secretary, MP Uxbridge and South Ruislip, “journalist,” lazy tosser, burbling man-child, globulous Honey Monster of venal joviality, Prince Philip in a fat-suit and meticulously tousled clown wig, rumple-suited monument to monstrous self-regard, lumbering cockwomble of shameless mendacity, honking fucktrumpet of rabid xenophobia, bloviating anus of racist hatred, massive Mr. Creosote of biblical excess whose “wafer-thin mint” moment cannot possibly come soon enough, future “World King,” future President for Life of the No-Banana Republic of Little England.

The Brexit Hall of Lame: Theresa May

The Brexit Hall of Lame: Theresa May

Part three in the tedious series

Theresa May, née Brasier, was born on 1 October 1856. Daughter of the Male Vicar of Trumpton and a mother who was prominent in the Camberwick Green Conservative Party, Theresa May would later channel the influences of both herr parents by translating the teachings of Jesus Christ into political sermons with such themes as Hate Thy Neighbour, Blessed are the Piss-Takers, and The Dark Parable of the Do-Gooder Samaritan. Young Theresa Brasier spent herr childhood happily destroying the livelihoods by trampling their wheat crops into the ground while dreaming of one day being a grown woman with the power to destroy entire families, communities, and even countries. She did a degree in Geography at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, a subject that has no known connection with her husband’s work for the Capital Group financial company or its special interests in tax havens and lucrative weapons markets in a variety of the world's war zones.

In 1997 Thereza May became MP for Maidenhead, Berks, and in 2002, according to the sensible, none-of-your-PC-nonsense authors of her Wikipedia and entries, “the first female Chairman of the Conservative Party.” She famously said at the time that the Tories must “no longer be known as the Nasty Party” and must therefore rebrand their divide and kill politics as “One Nation Conservatism” and “Compassionate Conservatism.” When herr younger, less experienced, but more male, well-born, and hoggosexually well-connected colleague David Cameron Twat became Prime Minister ahead of herr, he appointed herr Minister for Women’s Inequality and Secretary of Hate at the Home Office. She quickly lost interest in the first appointment and resigned it in order to focus more closely, as Home Secretary, on destroying the Police Force and on creating a Hostile Environment of “Fuck Off” vans, illegal deportations, and depriving lifelong taxpayers of NHS treatment for the crime of contracting cancer while Black.

Herr hateful deeds were rewarded by a Tory Party that voted herr their leader and therefore Prime Minister following the resignation of the dunderheaded, ham-faced pie who’d led the country to catastrophe and who she should have been effortlessly able to outshine. She could, for instance, have pointed out that the blunderingly ill-conceived EU referendum was won by a toxic combination of professional charlatans, blatant liars, bigots, outright Nazis, internet trolls, Steve Bannon, and Vladimir Putin, and even then with a Yes from only 52 percent of voters, a minority of the entire electorate, minorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and a small minority among young people suddenly facing the elimination of their birthright citizenship and the evaporation of a lifetime of all kinds of opportunity. She might have thereby laid the ground for the soft brexit that many leavers expressly voted for and that might have won the support of at least some remainers. But no. She said instead that “Brexit means Brexit,” a phrase that simultaneously evokes the spirit of telling-it-like-it-is while meaning absolutely nothing. And indeed no one knew what it meant because not a single one of the sub-Baldricks of the Leave campaign had detailed an actual plan for any particular kind of brexit, however arrogantly and aggressively some of them now insist on the “Will of the People” for the death-inviting insanity of No-Deal. She might also have pointed out, after the Nazi posters and a spike in hate crimes the referendum engendered, including the murder of MP Jo Cox by a brexiter who called her a traitor as he killed her, that it was time to heal the nation’s wounds. But, again, nein. Instead, she used her position of national leadership to accentuate division, amplify hate, and further provoke violence with dog-whistle sloganeering about “Citizens of Nowhere” and “queue jumpers.” She thus instantly further alienated the near half the nation that voted remain and even some leavers too. And, even then, she retained the unquenchable enmity of the fundamentalist Imperio-Isolationists who *now* came out as favouring the kind of Mental Brexit they’d previously and mendaciously denied they ever wanted or would ever happen. Feared on one side, therefore, and hated on the other, with the principled support of no one, and with nothing but the highly contingent loyalty of those who sought herr patronage, Thereza May had rendered herrself politically undead almost before stepping into Number 10.

After that, things got worse. Following categorical promises not call a General Election, she called a General Election. In the process she lost herr slim Tory parliamentary majority and had to form an alliance with some corpses from the seventeenth-century Irish Plantations, who she personally dug up from their graves and placed on government benches that now more closely than ever resembled a sit-down version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Britain’s first undead leader thus became its first basically dead one, Thereza Mayhem’s appearance now so skeletally gaunt as well as angular and ungainly that she became entirely indistinguishable from her own Gerald Scarfe cartoon. Yet, nothing if not resilient, she staggered on blindly down herr hell-bound highway anyway—slowly yet relentlessly, bandages dragging at herr feet, strong and stable arms outstretched in front of herr, hands dangling limply from herr wrists—with a premiership so inconceivably demented that an infinite number of Shakespeares speed-typing until the End Times would not be able to conjure up such a clusterfuck of despair-inducing evil-intention, ineptitude, and catastrophe.

Thereza Mayhem’s deeds in this world, alive, undead, and indeed dead, have destined herr to a Special Circle of Hell where she will spend Eternity repeatedly screeching untenable demands at queue-jumping Citizens of Nowhere while being continuously kicked up the arse by a Honey Monster and laughed at by a gazillion cackling Michael Govelins, each one of them wearing a Jacob Rees-Mogg mask complete with evil monocle.

Thereza Mayhem, former Hate Secretary, late and indeed possibly the last Prime Minister of the country formerly known as the United Kingdom.