No photograph would do justice to that phrase, so I will do without for fear of scandalising the congregation.
It was a statement in frequent use by my grandmother’s neighbour… a lady of firm opinions, baldly stated. I would dearly like to have her resurrected in this era of trigger warnings, PCism and all that…Saul might have slain his thousands, but she would have slain her ten thousands, snowflakes melting to left and right of her. Suffice it to say that she enjoyed the Black and White Minstrel Show on the television, went to church on Sundays and regarded all foreigners with suspicion. Rumour had it that in her younger days during the Great War she had denounced a Belgian for espionage on the grounds that he wore a wig, proving that he was a master of disguise.
She was also involved in the forced resignation of my grandfather from his post as an ARP warden in the Second World War when he crept up on her gossiping and waved his gas rattle at her. The fact that he was supposed to be a messenger during an exercise which supposed a German bombing raid in the area which resulted in, hypothetically, the gasworks being blown up together with the trolley bus depot and the hospital because he had dallied in the Rose and Crown might also have had something to do with it…but as far as he was concerned, it was the neighbour wot done it.
As children, my grandmother used to usher us indoors when an encounter with her neighbour was likely to sully our ears, but she had a carrying voice and we, straining our ears for more, were agog.
The problem was, one could not seek enlightenment….one would be accused of eavesdropping…so to this day the phrase, ‘There she stood, tits akimbo’ remains an enigma.
I can remember receiving a horrified dressing down by my mother when I saw a woman walking down the road outside and asked whom that tart might be, as she had been so apostrophised by the neighbour. I had been puzzled as to me, in the age of innocence, a tart was something to eat, made of pastry and fruit, so I vaguely thought the woman must be involved in the bakery business. I was enjoined never to use the phrase of any woman but retained an idea that women who ate fruit tarts were of ill repute but that attention should not be drawn to that fact.
Which sounds very like the respect accorded to the current generation of politicians. We know they are venal lowlife, but attention should not be drawn to that fact…because if you do you are either wearing a tinfoil hat, are a domestic terrorist or a pathetic lunatic…so, as she so often said, you can kick up all you want, but you might as well shit in your hat.
British soldiers of the Great War had a number of songs, from sentimental to downright crude, and one of them ran as follows ‘Wash me in the water where you wash the colonel’s daughter And I will be whiter than the whitewash on the wall.’ There is a version of this on Youtube…part of ‘Oh What a Lovely War ….if you don’t know the tune.
There must be a lot of that bathwater sloshing about at the moment as the most surprising people are not only rivalling the whitewash on the wall but surpassing it in brilliance.
To start locally, the police have cracked a loan shark ring, arrresting four people who are suspected of extortion, kidnapping, threats and violence in the course of their activities. Cars, houses and property have been made over by those unable to repay their debts. While pursuing their enquiries, the police have raided the offices of some local lawyers – what a surprise! – and confiscated files, computers and vehicles. One imagines that these lawyers made the necessary legal transfers of property from debtors to lenders….one would not like to imagine any further involvement, after all.
I know one of the lawyers, a charming man who was involved – on the other side -in the water wars.
I know of one of the others, who managed to charge The Neighbour over eight million colones – some nine thousand pounds sterling – to obtain a concession to use water from the spring on the mountain. Having read his application I am of the view that he could have invented all the lies it contained on his own without legal assistance so can only imagine that the lawyer concerned has some special talent known only to the cognoscenti.
I don’t know the third – not surprisingly when the town, as all small towns in Costa Rica, positively pullulates with lawyers, outnumbering even the dentists.
However, all three have access to the colonel’s daughter’s bathwater and will, no doubt, emerge from their ordeal sparkling clean.
On the national level, top officials at the national tourist board have been selling state land to foreign investors to build hotels….land destined to provide farmland for poor families…despite orders from the President’s office to do nothing of the sort….while at the National Assembly deputies have been busy having the police chase off medical students who want to help out in hard pressed hospitals while meeting with top level drug traffickers in the building itself.
Slosh the bathwater! It will all wash off…
You will all have examples…but let me take Britain.
Here is a man who does not have access to the bathwater…..because he has not done that with which he was charged. Alex Salmond, once First Minister of Scotland, was charged with a number of sexual offences and found not guilty of all but one, where a verdict of not proven was brought in, by a mainly female jury. He might be NSIT – not safe in taxis – but he is not guilty as charged. Notwithstanding this, the current First Minister continually refers to the women involved – one at least of whom has clearly perjured herself – as ‘victims’, The press, obedient as ever to a bung from the Scottish government, echoes her stance. No bathwater for Alex.
None either for the man who recorded the conduct of the trial on his blog, clearly stating the defence case, Craig Murray. The mainstream press – well bunged – concentrated on the case for the prosecution.He has been charged with contempt of court as, despite not naming the women the court – three judges sitting without a jury – found that it might be possible to work out their identities from the content of his blog. He faces imprisonment and has been obliged to remove that part of his blog which dealt with Salmond’s defence. No bathwater for Craig.
However, it is lapping the gills of the British minister who swore that, during the Covid crisis when hospitals were ordered to clear out all who could be cleared out to release staff and beds, no one was sent to a care home before being tested for the bug. He lied, he is shown to have lied, and yet the water level is still high. It dropped a little when he was found to have shares in his sister’s firm which was one of the many totally inexperienced operations to have obtained contracts for protective clothing, but not enough to uncover his unmentionables.
Liars, cheats and thieves in high places, all washed gleaming bright.
We need to empty the bath…to pull the plug, but as the old mouse pointed out in Aesop’s fable of the Mice in Council, it is one thing to propose…quite another to execute.
Archibald ‘Bell the Cat’ Douglas, Earl of Angus had a solution. He seized the then king’s favourites and hanged them from a bridge.
But he was the Earl of Angus and a power in the land. We are ordinary, powerless people, so what do we do?
Vote them out?
Fat chance. While you have a party political system you have these obscenities wished upon you as your representatives to serve interests which are none of your own.
Protest in the streets?
They put up two fingers and ignore you.
Denounce them in the press?
Forget it….the press is always in league with the politicians.
Instead, remember the IRA. Atrocities committed against members of the public – whether by the IRA or by MI5 – did nothing to bring about peace in Northern Ireland. Even a bazooka launched on Downing Street had no effect – even though it was delightful to see ministers for once in the line of fire. But once they attacked the City of London, that capital of money laundering, peace talks became positive and urgent.
Violence will be repressed…but hackers could bring the system which supports the well washed to its knees. Then we all need to protect the hackers. As the people of Glasgow protected asylum seekers whom they saw as their own.
A million people marched through central London today to call for ‘A People’s Vote’ on the question as neither government nor Parliament are coming up with any sensible conclusions on the future of the U.K.’s relationship with the European Union after a referendum in 2016 produced a majority for the former leaving the latter.
This referendum was called to settle few hashes in the leadership struggles inside the Conservative Party. The government spent public money to urge people to Remain and gave further public money to politicians of their own party to persuade people to vote Leave.
It was, of course, a foregone conclusion that Remain would prevail…how could people vote otherwise? Membership of the E.U. was a given, just as that the sun would rise in the morning. The government was playing an internal party game at the expense of the nation….but they knew how the game would end.
The Conservative leader retired from public life in a hurry to be replaced by the home secretary, who had campaigned for Remain but announced that she would be working to leave the E.U. She called an election, where the Conservatives lost their majority and had to depend on the votes of the Democratic Unionist Party….representatives from Northern Ireland who quickly claimed their pound of flesh in terms of advantages for their policies.
The Labour party was in turmoil. Somehow the membership had overcome the power of the members of parliament and elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader, a left winger who called for policies to restore equality in society and who opposed armed intervention abroad. Labour M.P.s mounted coup after coup, but failed to shift him, taking their eye off the Brexit ball completely while they fought for power inside the party.
Not tthat the Conservatives were much better and Leavers and Remainers fought to control the party….leaving the negotiations with the E.U. to a series of ministers who were stabbed in the back by civil servants working to an agenda set by a prime minister determined to keep the U.K. within the sphere of influence of the E.U…..never mind the result of the referendum.
In effect, the country was being led by Humpty Dumpty, who explained the use of language to Alice thus…
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone. “It means just what I choose it to mean – neither more or less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”
So Leave meant Remain….and while the political parties contemplated their navels the E.U. and the U.K. prime minister cooked up the deal worse than death.
It provided for a transistion period in which the U.K. would be subject to E.U. law while being unable to participate in making decision making, would continue to pay into the E.U. budget and would be obliged to accept an agreement on the irish border which, if accepted, would cut off Northern Ireland’s trade from that of the U.K. Only then would talks on trade commence.
Man, according to Talleyrand – forerunner of so many modern politicians as being aptly described as shit in a silk stocking – was given the gift of language to conceal his thoughts. By the reaction to the withdrawal agreement, once it emerged from the undergrowth of Brussels, it appeared that the concealment had not been very effective.
The Democratic Unionists, who kept the Conservative government in power, were distinctly unchuffed. No separation from the mainland was to be contemplated….you could almost hear the sound of a piss and vinegar band playing ‘The Sash‘ in the corridors of power.
In passing I must say that it is a marker of the decline of standards in society that even Orange Lodge members no longer wear suits and a bowler when marching….though they keep the white gloves.
The agreement was presented to the House of Commons…and was rejected. Then the Attorney General was sent to Brussels to wiggle the wording….which, while for some reason describing himself as a codpiece, he did, but the wiggle did not seduce the Northern Ireland M.P.s. The wiggled codpiece was in turn rejected.
Enter the Speaker of the House of Commons.
In my time we have had as Speaker people who were, variously, a blackmailed homosexual, a tailor, a chorus girl and an expenses fiddler. They all upheld the traditions of the House, aided by the traditional costume…though the chorus girl and the expenses fiddler refused to wear the wig.
Currently, ‘as any fule kno’, we have Mr. Speaker Bercow, who more closely resembles an ink monitor at St. Custards than the custodian of parliamentary practice, while his procession through the Palace of Westminster could be characterised as’ a rough beast, its hour come at last’, slouching into the Commons to commence business for the day. I can’t call him shit in a silk stocking as he wears a lounge suit and, I trust, socks.
The Speaker’s role is to regulate the business of the House in accordance with the House’s standing orders, though Mr. Speaker Bercow seems to treat Erskine May, the authoritative guide to parliamentary practice, rather in the manner in which Little Jack Horner treated his Christmas pie…
He put in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said ‘What a good boy am I’.
He is unpredictable, which doesn’t make for sensible proceedings in the House which, since the government controls most of the time available for debate, makes the task of M.P.s who wish to find more acceptable solutions than that of the current agreement even more difficult.
Remember too that most options open to M.P.s are not binding on the government…and the E.U. negotiates with government, not Parliament.
If, that is, that the E.U. negotiates at all. Its pattern, proven down the years, is to issue a diktat which member states must obey.
Some member states.
Fance can run an unacceptable deficit for years…Ireland could not…nor could Portugal.
Ah, but France is special….the force behind the founding of the E.U. was to prevent further wars between France and Germany…they are the powers which count in the E.U.
Let me tell you…there is no chance of war between France and Germany.
Remember those French highways lined with trees?
The trees have been cut down. The German army can no longer march in the shade. Further…the mayor of Paris has banned diesel vehicles from the city, so no tanks driving down the Champs Elysees.
War…forget it. But France still has preferential treatment.
In dealing with the E.U. you must first recognise that it has no obligation to give up any of its advantages. You must resist any urge to engage with it. You form your own plans, refuse to accept its rulings and face it with a fait accompli. Any other way leads to ruin.
That is, if you genuinely want to leave its embrace.
Clearly, the U.K. government was quite happy to accept the caresses of the E.U. and so went along with whatever it required until meeting the roadblock of the refusal of the House of Commons to accept the agreement.
The prime minister blames Parliament for the lack of prgress with Brexit. The people are urged to blame Parliament too…thus the march through London.
Though not holding their views I am happy to see people motivated enough to travel to central London to express their opinion. My problem comes with the general lack of awareness of the realities of a parliamentary system where the government controls debate…..and with the speakers at the end of the rally.
Self seeking shits in silk stockings….Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, ready to mount a coup of his own. Tom Watson, whose willingness to believe in a fantasist’s allegations of child abuse led to at least one innocent man’s life being ruined.
Jess Phillips…. loud mouthed opportunist and opponent of Corbyn.
Here we have two using the movement to further their own ends.
Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, whose coalition with the Conservatives enabled draconian measures to be applied to the unemployed and the disabled seeking the support that a civilised society should provide.
Anna Soubry…too extreme for even the Conservatives and now member of a so called independent group of M.P.s which has avoided the need to declare their finances by forming themselves as a company, rather than as a political party. A company…in Parliament….it beats cock fighting.
People who sincerely believe that the U.K. should remain in the E.U. should take a look at the company they keep…the company that is using them.
Brexit is too important an issue to be used for personal advancement. Its resolution will form the future of the country.
I left the U.K. over thirty years ago…I cannot claim that I should be entitled to vote for issues that will affect the future of citizens of the country but I am deeply concerned that people are not being enabled to form a judgement based on fact…are being misinformed…are encouraged to demonise those whose opinions differ…are, in effect suborning the British values of tolerance and compromise.