This year, the Ashes are being played for in England. For lesser breeds without the law for whom that sentence means nothing, the cricket teams of England and Australia are playing a five match series – each match, in theory, lasting five days – to decide ownership of a tiny urn commemorating the defeat of England by Australia in 1882.

It is, generally speaking, a grudge match. Particularly so now since three Australian players are returning after a year’s suspension for ball tampering. See? Cricket is not so dull after all!

Ball tampering? Doing something unnatural to a cricket ball to assist the bowler in having an unfair advantage over the batsman. Polishing one side of the ball while leaving the other side rough produces a ball which is inclined to swing unexpectedly, thus wrongfooting the batsman. Polishing the ball on the trousers is an accepted method….other methods have been used which are more dubious…sucking sweets and slathering the resultant saliva on the ball – yuck …putting vaseline on your forehead and wiping it on the ball – slightly less yuck…having a pocket full of dirt and rubbing that into the rough side of the ball – not recommended by your tailor….

But these three went one further…the captain – and, no doubt the bowlers who escaped sanction as their country needed them – knew that ball tampering was going on. The opening batsman – and biggest mouth on the team – induced the latest team member, who wanted to keep his place, to have a sheet of sandpaper in his pocket, with which to rough up the already rough side of the ball. They were playing South Africa, whose team had already had their suspicions and who asked that the cameras were directed onto the sandpaper wielder…who was caught in the act

Thus the year’s suspension, which expired – what a surprise – to allow them to play in the Ashes.

Their reception has not been warm. Booed out to bat and booed back in again when bowled out…while when fielding the main culprit was serenaded by the crowd to the tune of ‘The whole world in His hands’ the words being ‘he has sandpaper in his hands’.

In normal circumstances a Test match has a certain effect in this household. Given that I will be glued to the radio for the duration and that we are seven hours behind the U.K. Higher Authority, dogs, poultry and sheep are resigned to being fed early – during the lunch interval in England – and thereafter being ignored until lunch here which is close of play in England. Meals from the freezer figure largely and barking is discouraged.

However, this year the fourth Test Match has a rival even more enthralling than sandpapergate. …


Where the main players could appropriately be greeted by the chant that greets the Aussies

Same old – fill in the name of your choice – always cheating’.

Such is the nature of the British constitution that it is possible to have a change of Prime Minister without a General Election. The ruling party sorts it out itself and lumbers the populace with the result, so as long as the new incumbent can maintain a majority in the House of Commons his, her or its bottom is safely on the seat of power until the rest of the five year term of Parliament expires.

So the current booby should be sitting pretty…no?


He came in on a rush of blood to the head, announcing that he would settle Brexit once and for all. He wanted a deal with the European Union, but if not then the U.K. would go it alone.

Panic in the dovecotes! Someone sounding as if they meant what they said…unusual in subfusc Britain where so much is supposed to be conveyed in hints and nuances, lest the voters might discover what their leaders are up to.

Nuclear meltdown in the dovecotes! He wants to prorogue Parliament – suspend its sittings – to prevent M.P.s from fouling up his negotiations with the E.U. by offering the latter aid and comfort.

The four horsemen ride forth! He has withdrawn the whip from twenty one Tory M.P.s who have not supported the government in a vote in the House of Commons. Being Tory M.P.s one would imagine that lack of contact with the whip would particularly affect them – but these are heroes! They can forego the kiss of the whip!

These men and women have, over the years, brought forward, voted for and promulgated measures which have brought poverty and insecurity to the lives of many ordinary people…but today they are heroes! They are saving democracy!

But by withdrawing the whip the booby lost his majority in the Commons. His bottom is no longer secure on the seat of power. And all this since taking office on July 24th….he moves fast for one of his build.

And now comes the retribution from those saving British democracy….the Speaker of the House and opposition M.P.s – not forgetting the heroes, of course.

They are passing an Act which will mandate him to seek yet another extension of the process of leaving the E.U. – a process which already resembles trying to walk up the down escalator at Holborn tube station in the rush hour. And they have written the letter of application for him too…

The booby sought an escape in the frenzy of a General Election….but the guardians of democracy will not permit it until the deadline for leaving the E.U. – currently at October 31st – is passed, just in case he wins a majority and heaves the U.K. over the line.

The whole thing has been very bad tempered. The Speaker made a personal attack on a member of the government, the booby called the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition a big girl’s blouse, M.P.s in general have been shouting down those wishing to speak and if this is the mother of parliaments one could understand a wish among its children to declare themselves orphans.

What is the booby to do? Set down a vote of no confidence in his own government to trigger an election outwith the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliament Act of 2011 – an Act designed to keep uneasy bedfellows in a coalition government together?

Resign and let the various forces which have constrained him hitherto sort it out for themselves?

Goodness only knows….but in the meantime we should examine the case of the blockage in the No lobby.

When the House of Commons votes, its members pass through either the Aye or the No lobby to be counted…both by clerks of the House and by tellers appointed by the appropriate sides.

Now, when the House began to examine the bill to block the booby from going hell for leather for a no deal exit from the E.U. it turned itself into a Committee of the Whole House…the mace was taken from the clerks’ table and a deputy Speaker took the chair.

The various amendments were proposed and discussed…among them a proposal to re examine the withdrawal agreement made between the E.U. and the previous booby, which had been rejected by the House three times already as even those who wished to remain in the E.U. could not stomach its provisions.

A division was announced…the tellers from the two sides were recognised by the deputy Speaker and the M.P.s toddled off to vote. It was assumed that the amendment would be lost given its history.

There was an inordinate delay and finally the deputy Speaker asked someone to investigate the blockage in the No lobby. The white tie and black tailed official went away and returned to report that there were no tellers in the No lobby….the votes could not be counted.

Accordingly, the Withdrawal Agreement was passed as agreed….Lazarus risen from the dead.

The tellers were provided by the government of the booby…so why did they not act? Why allow Lazarus to arise from his winding sheet?

Significantly, no one in the other parties questioned the lapse….

The amendment was proposed by the Honorable Stephen Kinnock, well known opponent of the leader of his party, Jeremy Corbyn and firmly in favour of remaining in Europe.

The current booby was previously a supporter of the remain in Europe faction…he took leadership of the Leave campaign in the referendum of 2016 convinced that his group would lose…but that his support would gain him a following among the anti Europe constituency members…useful for a later power coup.

Given the current situation, Lazarus may appear to weary M.P.s – and to an exasperated electorate – to be a ready made solution.

So…ask yourselves…why did the booby allow his parliamentary managers to ‘lose’ two tellers on what seemed to be an insignificent vote?

Is he what he seems to be…someone determined to leave the E.U. on the best terms possible…or is he cheating, serving those who wish to remain?


36 thoughts on “Ordure!Ordure!”

  1. I have to admit that given the Hobson’s choice, Morton’s Fork or plain old dilemma of watching cricket or watching the latest Brexit nonsense, I’d opt for self-immolation. No, not really. I’d probably prefer watching Bojo’s frantic antics but it would be close.

  2. Cricket…frequently referred to by myself as “watching paint dry”. Well, sometimes the one-day games are not too bad. But I never got a taste for it, despite an English father and several school friends who played at a very serious level. And now I live in the Land of Cheats. Give me a few sheets of 80 grit and I’ll show them what ball-tampering really is! I’m rooting for the English.
    As for that other great English excitement…I’m thinking a benign dictatorship might be better. Oh, wait…there isn’t even anyone able to run for that!

    1. I feel tempted to say bringback Enoch….which woud heap coals of fire upon my head were anyone to to knw to whom I refer!
      You knew where you stood with Enoch…for or agianst!

  3. Very brave of you to do this, Helen. And with admirable clarity. Which is more than can be said for the situation in which we find ourselves here in what is still laughably called Great Britain. (Yes, I know, it doesn’t mean… Oh never mind.).
    I am beyond attempting to understand. The defection of the brother of the PM, the appalling ‘speech’ Mr B Johnson attempted to give yesterday amid the Trump-like array of people in uniforms behind him (one inconveniently falling ill) and shaking hands in northern towns with people who asked him to leave their town… I know the people who are being treated as heroes for voting against their own party are to blame for years of unnecessary austerity and pain, but it is a relief to see some of those elected behave as if they cared more for their country’s welfare than their own jobs. One thing, we who inhabit these islands can never claim to conform to the formerly accepted caricature of Britishness again. Did we ever? Do I care? What do I know?
    Cricket, did you say? No, thanks, I’ll go for a walk in the woods, in the lashing wind and rain, and think about climate change.

    1. Well, here we are…perfidious Albion!
      Politicians lke Cameron and Johnson jeering and sneering at the despatch box, awash with arrogance and ignorance – true products of their expensive ‘education’.
      Those who have lost the whip are no heroes…they have calcukated the odds and are ready to take offiice in a coalition government which will continie their appalling policies.

        1. You have yo have followed the advice of the White Queen to Alice and have practised believing six impossible things before breakast every day to be able to come up with this charade!

  4. No mention of the Haunted Pencil, who, having apparently run out of lead, flopped, Ophelia-like on the bench. What a circus!

  5. The action in the Parliament has been ‘great’ entertainment. Or at least a respite from the dumpster fire that is US politics with the vilest, know nothing-est person alive. Bercow might be a real ace at herding cats.

    Sadly (and try as I might), I cannot understand cricket. But much like football in the states, the leagues seem to behave exceptional in poor taste if there’s telly revenue at stake. I’m beginning to swear off watching any sports the older I get. Boorish (or cheating) behavior should not be rewarded.

    1. The body running cricket in the U.K. seems intemt on ruining it…all in the name of money.
      The Parliament channel has been a hoot..if it doesn’t affectthe blood pressure.

  6. Kinnock is working with Caroline Flint, who has worked her socks off to support May’s deal, and Rory Stewart, Tory ex leadership contender, to try and organise a Brexit deal which will get Britain out of the EU somehow without having to ask the lumpenproletariat to vote on it – (they’d probably get it all wrong anyway, the gullible dimwits). It’s all a bit too Tory for my taste, but I can’t understand why Johnson doesn’t embrace him with open arms either. I suspect the reason is either (a) Kinnock’s proposals are too fiddly and boring for Johnson to have time for before 31 October, or (b) Johnson is too busy falling apart in public for reasons of drunkenness, psychological stress etc. to bother with what anyone else is doing or (c) Dominic Cummings is focusing on the main strategy: to secretly persuade just one of the EU countries to refuse to extend A50 and thereby force Britain to crash out after all because Johnson as PM is the only one who could revoke Article 50 and won’t. That depends on keeping Johnson propped up for long enough to do his prime ministerial duties till 31 October, of course. As for cricket, I have never understood it, although I quite like the sound of it going on in the background!

  7. That was a brilliant piece, which I enjoyed very much. Interesting analysis, too. One thing that might be said for BoJo’s approach is that it might allow HMG to get on with all the other things it’s supposed to be doing for us (assuming it’s not wrapped up in the fall-out). But many reasonable folk, irrespective of their views, are losing the will to live. If ‘Brexit’ is delayed further, what, exactly, do its opponents think they’re going to achieve – apart, of course, from reversing the decision? Leaving aside whether that would be a good, or a bad, thing – what REALLY bothers me – and, frankly, it’s far more important than whether the UK is in or out of the EU – is the hatred and division that’s being stirred up in my country. The language used by extremists on both sides of the debate, employing extravagant terms that they evidently do not understand the meaning of, is shocking. No one with a different view to theirs is allowed to be heard. The lack of tolerance is appalling and we need to restore reasonableness. I used to enjoy political debate in the pub, and wander home amiably with my opponents.
    Sometimes now, it seems like my country is being torn apart by raw and often juvenile emotion getting the better of mature common sense. It might be worth putting up with people that irritate us and don’t agree with to avoid that. Btw – I think everyone accepts that ‘Brexit’ has been disastrously managed.

    1. And all of this down to Tory infighting…from start to finish…yet people still vote for them!
      I have been horrified by the ill feeling and its expression…have people lost the art of discussion without rancour? It worries me that this division will live on with both sides feeling resentment against the other – and one thing is certain …just about no one will be happy with whatever result emerges.

  8. Consider how little time this would have taken, to a reasonable conclusion, in subfusc Britain. Well, my two cents worth from the shining example across the sea.

    1. We, the people, deserve better than our countries being run like a three ring circus with two rings missing.
      What do we do about it? Start by not electing anyone with a Party alleigance.

  9. Like many I am bored ridgid with The Brexit story, plot, counter plot, devious reasoning and mismanagement. However I am totally appalled that we cannot watch the Test matches live all day on the normal channels. 50 mins at 7pm on Channel 5 is not enough.

    1. It certainly is not! The ECB, in their greed for money, have deprived everyone of top grade cricket…and, come to that, what have they done with the money? Wrecked the county championship, win the 50 over world cup and then reduce the 50 over competition to development grade, all to introduce that ludicrous Hundred…and now have to delay paying the central contracts as they have a cash shortfall…
      They are so incompetent it is a wonder they are not running the country…

  10. I can’t comment on the cricket, it’s something I know very little about.

    As for the Brexit quagmire, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen next. Everything changes from day to day. At this rate, MPs will still be arguing about it in 2030. If nobody can agree about anything after 3 years and 3 months, the referendum result should be cancelled and consigned to the history books.

  11. Cricket: English cricket fans grumbling about foreigners cheating?
    The irony!
    Boris: I’m just glad we don’t have one of those corrupt foreign governments we read about in the press…

  12. I’m reasonably sure that I tried to send you a link to the song “Cousin Jack” and sent you a link to something entirely different. Moral (in case you need one): Don’t send YouTube links until you listen to them. Sub-moral: Buy a pair of earplugs so you don’t have to keep the sound muted. Anyway, here’s a link to the song I had in mind. This time I really mean it, even if I have the mute on again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgyRWKLkxvE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s