The batsman is Holding, the bowler’s Willey

There’s a great tradition of spoof obituaries in England. The oldest international cricket rivalry, The Ashes, takes its name from one published in 1882 for example.

This one has a more serious subtext however;

UK Democracy on 29th March 2019, aged 312. It was with sad regret that Democracy died quietly in her sleep at 11pm, on the 29th March 2019. The cause of death was by foul play and the culprits have yet to be brought to justice. Democracy campaigned for the rule of law, human rights and free elections. She listened to everyone and favoured the majority in all her decisions. She will be sorely missed. God have mercy on her soul.

This is in response to the decision, if indeed one can call it that, of the UK Government and the House of Commons to not follow through on their previous majority decision that, absent a negotiated settlement with the EU, Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar would leave the EU at 11pm on Friday 29th March 2019.

The can has subsequently been kicked twice more down the road to 11pm, October 31st 2019. There’s little consensus on what, if anything, might change between now and then to break the impasse.

The negotiations have been ongoing for two and a half years and yet there has been a complete failure to discover a comprise win-win solution acceptable to both the EU unelected officials and the British Parliament.

This indicates one of three possibilities;

1. Such a compromise is not possible, or

2. The negotiating team or teams are not competent enough to reach one, or

3. One party has not been negotiating in good faith.

If we accept as true that, in the words of one ex-Brexit Minister, “If the UK thrives after a negotiated exit, it’s bad for the EU. If the UK thrives after a no-deal Brexit, it’s the end of the EU“, the UK should have been able to have negotiated a deal acceptable to Parliament, assuming Parliament wanted such a thing.

Using our patented razor, we’re going to have to assume it’s the British Parliament that’s the problem then. If they wanted to leave, they would have left by now.

How the hell did the mother of all parliaments become so timid and forgetful of their mandate.

One of the main justifications being wheeled out against simply leaving is the economic impact.

Here’s one such argument in the house from Hansard:

….how cautious should we be of incurring a loss of such magnitude, that the whole revenue of the country may be too little to make it good. l am aware that those who maintain this last opinion have alledged, that compensation may be demanded for voluntary and exaggerated losses, and for a sacrifice of extravagantly computed prospective profits.

Actually, that wasn’t an argument against Brexit, that was Mr. George Hibbert, MP for Seaford, arguing against the abolition of slavery in 1807.

The vast majority of his colleagues took the opposite view that not only was it the morally correct thing to do but the majority of the electorate agreed with the motion to leave and accept the economic consequences and make the egregious slave trade illegal.

And so, the British Parliament became the first to legislate against slavery, a practice that had been present in almost every culture globally for the entire history of humanity (not that you’d realise that by reading the news today; it would seem the current prevailing view is that the British invented the trade… that the Arabs had been profiting from for centuries prior and after the British copied them).

The irony shouldn’t be lost that some of the arguments against the abolition of the international slave trade are eerily similiar to those deployed against implementing the result of the largest democratic vote in British history, particularly the concerns about the economic consequences.

In fact, the British people were asked twice to confirm they wanted to go ahead with Brexit; both the Conservative and Labour parties campaigned in the 2017 general election on manifestos promising to implement the result of the previous year’s referendum. The third party, the Liberal Democrats, offered voters another referendum to confirm the result of the first. They were utterly destroyed in the election.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s time to clean out this Augean stable. In the words of Oliver Cromwell:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,

which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

8 Replies to “The batsman is Holding, the bowler’s Willey”

  1. Well spoken Bruce. The bitch has got to go, but like Obama choosing the incompetent Biden as VP to make sure he could never be impeached, and ditto Trump-Pence, who the heck is there to take her place?

    1. “….. who the heck is there to take her place?”

      Therein lies the problem.

      Whoever takes the poison chalice will have to start from the premise that a No Deal exit is what needs to be planned for unless the EU come back with a better alternative…. putting them at odds with 4/5ths of the current House of Commons.

      My view is a general election is the only option other than simply leaving. Of course, that means Prime Minister Corbyn and Home Secretary Dianne Abbott.

  2. Unfortunately the British people are, in general, too nice and law abiding. They had a legal referendum with a clear outlook and thought, “Well, that’s done then.” and went back to their lives not dreaming that the politicians were going to call in veterinarians to save the political ox which had been so badly gored.

    Freedom as they say, isn’t free. If the British people really do want to be shot of the EU, and I wholly support that point of view, then there is still some heavy lifting to be done.

    It’s a big ask but if say, 17 million people showed up in London a week from Thursday, clogging every road in the place and bringing it to a complete halt in a silent protest with ‘Leave’ signs it might cause severe squeaky-bummage throughout Whitehall. Perhaps some people may begin to see clearly, i.e. “If we want to keep our phoney-baloney jobs maybe we should do what they’ve told us to do?”

    Just a thought, it’d be great to see though.

    1. “Unfortunately the British people are, in general, too nice and law abiding.”

      Is exactly what I explain to my friends and acquaintances when discussing these things.

      We are prepared to take an awful lot in terms of humiliation for the sake of being polite.

      Until the precise moment we don’t.

      1. “Until the precise moment we don’t.”

        Yes, that has been the case in the past. It would really do for someone in Whitehall to acquaint themselves with the works of Kipling, “The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon” perhaps would be a good starting point. Perhaps someone could even translate it for Messrs Juncker, Verhofstadt, and Tusk, the shock might do M. Juncker’s liver the world of good.

        1. Or even Byron with his “little riots just to show that we are free men”.

          It does feel like one of those moments where we choose freedom or serfdom and someone or some people are going to have a terrible last few minutes or hours of their life as a consequence. I dearly hope it won’t be violent.

  3. Billy knows me to be a man of utmost integrity, so what I contribute below is the absolute truth. It’s also a fine storyline arc in a George R.R.R.R.R. Martin-Clooney GOT-esque sort of way, given a recent post on hospitality for corporate travellers to the Indian subcontinent (which I proudly admit to have imbibed in – geez that masala dosa for brekkie at the Leela in Bangers was good!).

    Anyhoo (and here’s where the arc kicks-in) I was reverse-hosting some BPO service providers at the Gabba a number of years ago when the locals and India were at battle – in the corporate suites of course (R.M. Williams, chino and chambray de rigueur) when out pops Mr Holding himself from the commentary area adjacent to our corporate dining room. With a couple of Asia-Pac domain leads in train, I asked the extremely polite and well-mannered Mr Holding about that very quip (ergo “The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey”) much to the unbridled amusement and joy of my outsourcing juggernauts…

    His response? A very matter-of-fact statement that many, many archivists had trawled through the recordings of that and other matches and found nothing to suggest that Brian Johnston nor anyone else on the mic said anything at all that clever.

    Which I guess is the point of this post?

    No-one, other than Billy, Oliver Cromwell and yours truly, ever say or do anything even vaguely clever?

    1. Hello Mike,

      India is, as you know, one of my minor obsessions. Your Bangalore experience would have been improved immeasurably if you’d have included me on the travel list. Lastima lastima.

      The point of this post however, is that when one is paid to do a job, one should do the damn job or expect the consequences.

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