Tag Archives: Brexit

Louder Than Words

“I remember conversations I had with my private secretary, and he had with the Queen’s private secretary, and I had with the Queen’s private secretary, not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional, but just raising an eyebrow – even, you know, a quarter of an inch, that might make a difference.” (David Cameron, revealing how he suggested how the Queen could influence the 2014 Scottish independence referendum).


He was back.

The Queen sat expressionlessly behind her desk as her Private Secretary opened the door to admit David Cameron.

Her heart sank, though her face gave no trace of this. She had trained it not to.

In the earliest days of her reign, in the world of grainy black-and-white TV, things had been easier. In 1968, for example, she had sat in her carriage the whole way around the track at Ascot looking furious, because four-year old Prince Edward had that morning written in crayon on the Throne Room wall. Nobody had noticed.

Then colour TV had been invented, and the zoom-in lens, and everything had changed.

Her dress code, to begin with. She now found that if she wore blue she was accused of supporting the Tories, and of supporting Labour if she wore red. She had taken instead to wearing shades like taupe, fawn and vanilla, and would then read that she looked washed out and tired.

Then analysts – Royal watchers, they were called, as if that was an actual job – were employed to interpret her expressions, as if they were trying to determine whether or not Timmy had fallen down a well. She countered that by developing a look that she liked to call her Resting Resting Face, and that worked for a while.

So the media started to interpret her lack of expression, and that was worse, because they had effectively a blank canvas to work with. The same look, often the same photograph, would be used as proof that she liked this person, disliked that country, disapproved of that Royal romantic match.

And she could say nothing. Her Private Secretary would issue the standard response that Her Majesty does not comment, etc, etc,. While her husband got to have some fun – to try Guinness, to insult random strangers, to crash a Rolls Royce into a tree – she remained bound to her impartial duty.

Which at the moment was to listen to her Prime Minister, and to wonder what he was up to now. The previous year he had held a referendum in which Scotland had narrowly voted to remain in the United Kingdom, and during which, when things looked to be going the other way, he had asked her for help, by the “raising of an eyebrow”.

Raising an eyebrow? That would bordering on hysterics for the Queen. He might as well have asked her to get a microphone and sing Don’t Leave Me This Way from the Palace balcony.

Now, it transpired, he wanted to hold another referendum. The Queen’s eyebrows remained unraised, her lips unpursed, her brow unfrowning as Cameron explained that it would be about leaving the EU, but that he didn’t really want to, that it would all be ok, that the people didn’t want to either.

Then why hold it, said a voice in the Queen’s head. Nothing at all, said the look on the Queen’s face.

He gave her the papers to sign, and she signed, having no option.

And people think I rule this country, she sighed to herself.

-ooOoo –

He was back. Again.

Thirteen months had passed, during which the Queen had become Britain’s longest serving monarch, had celebrated her ninetieth birthday and had turned down a huge amount of money to slip the words ‘because you’re worth it’ into her Christmas Message. Now she regarded David Cameron impassively as he stood sheepishly in front of her.

“Er, well, the thing is,” said Cameron, “we lost. So, well, er, we’re going to leave the EU. Which, well, when you think about it, is probably ok, I mean, we won’t be run by the Germans anymore, ha, h-” – too late he remembered the Queen’s ancestry – “er, I mean, we won’t be run by the Maltese and the Finns anymore. And I’m sure it will all go smoothly, and it won’t divide the nation, and -”

The Queen punched him in the nose.

Had any analysts been watching, they might have described his expression as “stunned”.

“Do I make myself clear?” asked the Queen icily.

“Yes, your Majesty,” said Cameron. “I will resign today.”

“You do that,” said the Queen. “Make up some guff about not wanting to lead the country out of Europe.”

Cameron walked from the room, dabbing at his nose. The Queen turned to the only witness present. He had worked for her for many years, and could read the expression in her lack of expression.

“I am your Private Secretary, Ma’am,” he said. “No-one will ever know about this.”






Ears Filled With Soap

Responding on Twitter to a video in which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave an explanation for his decision to suspend Parliament in September – a move which critics said was aimed at stopping MPs debating Brexit – Hugh Grant called him an “over-promoted rubber bath toy”….








Is your child bored at bath-time? Does he find pouring water out of little beakers repetitive? Does his little toy boat insist on listing onto its side? Does he have no trouble, among all the suds, in finding Nemo?

What he needs is Boris Duck. Plastic yet oddly likeable, the Boris has now supplanted the Theresa Submarine as Britain’s leading bath toy, perhaps because his hairstyle resembles a loofah.

And why not. The Boris is virtually indestructible, a bathroom Captain Scarlet. Push him down and he wil pop back up. Land him in hot water and it will not harm him. Pour cold water on him and it will just run off.

As with all bath toys, there is absolutely nothing inside his head, but that does not seem to detract from his appeal.

Try him out. Lie back in the warmth and comfort and release him from your grasp. Watch him sail away, gaze fixed straight ahead, towards the end with the plughole.


The Fairest Of Them All

The Queen of May crossed the room to the Magic Mirror, then spoke.

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,” she said, “who is the fairest of them all?”

The Mirror looked at the woman in front of it, at the slightly wild hair, the slightly wild eyes, the almost visible air of panic that surrounded her. It spoke.

“You are, my Queen,” it said calmly.

And there it was. The Mirror had provided the same re-assurance to every leader since the dawn of time – to Margaret the Iron-blooded, to Tony the Smooth, to Gordon the Mumbler. It had even given the same answer to King Winston the Two-fingered, who’d had a face like a bulldog that had run into a brick wall.

It called this white lie the “Yes Minister” policy, and it had enabled the Mirror to provide unbroken, in every sense of that word, public service for centuries.

The Queen of May looked relieved, then leaned forward suddenly, causing the Mirror, though it would not have thought this possible, to retreat slightly before her eager stare.

“I have a plan,” whispered the Queen.

The Mirror sighed. An unexpected part of its job was to act as confidant to rulers who felt they were could not trust anyone else, believing that they were surrounded in court by rivals conspiring against them. In fairness to the Queen of May, the Mirror felt that she had a point. She herself had become ruler less than a year previously, after all of the serious contenders to the throne had simultaneously stabbed each other in the back, leaving her standing alone and bewildered in the throne-room, slightly hurt that none of them had felt her important enough to bother with.

Since then she had proven to be a surprisingly tough leader, breaking off ties with neighbouring Europia, and bringing in more schools for the wealthy whilst cutting aid to the poor, and was planning a measure where elderly people would lose their home if they started to lose their marbles.

The Mirror was thus a bit worried about what her new plan might be, but put on what it hoped was an eager face (basically, the Queen of May’s face reflected back at her).

“Yes, my Queen?” it said.

“I want a hard Brexit,” said the Queen.

“Um, is that something like a ginger-nut?” asked the Mirror.

“Of course not,” said the Queen. “It’s a way of dealing with Europia. We’ll have none of them coming here, and we won’t be going there. It will be like having a wall around us.”

“A wall?” said the Mirror.

“Yes,” said the Queen. “I got the idea from my cousin in Yoosa.”

“The Grand Covfefe?”

“Indeed,” said the Queen.

If the Mirror had had its own eyes it would have closed them in pain. Instead it focused the Queen’s eyes back at her. “An excellent plan, my Queen,” it said.

“Oh, that’s not the plan I came to tell you about,” said the Queen. “I want to hold an election.”

The Mirror banged the back of its head against the wall in surprise. “Er, what?” it said.

“I’m giving the people the chance to show how much they love me,” said the Queen.

“Why?” asked the Mirror.

“So I can rule them more forcefully, and introduce tougher laws” said the Queen.

“O-k,” said the Mirror slowly. “But what happens if they say no?”

“I don’t understand,” said the Queen.

“What happens if they say they don’t love you?”

“Why would they say that?” snapped the Queen. “I’m strong and stable.” She turned a glare on the Mirror, a glare that was, in what the Mirror desperately hoped was just a turn of phrase, both sharp and piercing. “Aren’t I?”

“Strong,” agreed the Mirror. “Definitely.”

“And sta-”

“Look,” interrupted the Mirror. “Why risk it? Why have this, this -”

“Election,” said the Queen. “Or plebiscite, if you like.”

“Oh, dear Lord, don’t call them plebs,” said the Mirror, in the first piece of political advice it had ever offered.

“Why, Mirror,” said the Queen, “you’re worried. You needn’t be. Remember, I’m the fairest of them all, aren’t I?”

“Er, when we use the word ‘fairest’, we are talking about looks, aren’t we?”

The Queen smiled. “Say it again,” she breathed. “Tell me one more time.”

“You have to use the phrase,” said the Mirror.

“Very well,” said the Queen. “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

The Mirror sighed inwardly and was preparing to reply when suddenly it felt dizzy. Its glass clouded over and began to swirl. Slowly another face began to appear.

“Who is it?” shrieked the Queen, in so high-pitched a voice that the Mirror developed a shattering headache. “It’s not that cow Snow White, is it?”

The image slowly settled. The Queen was now looking, not at herself, but at a shy-looking man with a wispy beard and a look of slight puzzlement, like a geography teacher on the day the USSR split into fifteen countries.

“It’s Corbyn the Tie-rant!” gasped the Queen.


“No, Tie-rant,” said the Queen. “He doesn’t wear ties.” Her shoulders slumped. “This is terrible,” she said. “I will never be able to keep my throne now.”

In the Mirror’s mind, two millennia of obsequiousness fought with the urge to make a smart remark. The millennia lost.

“Well, at least you got your policy through, my Queen,” said the Mirror. “An elderly person who’s beginning to lose her marbles is going to lose her home.”

Corbyn the Tie-rant

The Queen of May






Tinman’s Guide to Brexit

Hello, Tinman. I’m a UK citizen with a few questions, and I’ve heard that you know a lot about politics, so can I ask you?

I think you’re mixing me up with Paxman, but sure go ahead anyway.

Ok. I’ve heard that we triggered Article 50 last week. What does that mean?

It means you’re leaving the EU.

I thought we did that last summer.

No, last summer you told your politicians that you wanted to leave.

Then why has it taken so long?

Politicians act very, very, slowly. For example, have you ever asked your local councillors for a pedestrian crossing in your village?

I get your point. I’ve heard we have to pay £50 billion to get out. What’s that about?

It’s like the Departure Tax that you pay at airports, only for a whole country.

Speaking of airports, will I still be able to bring 800 fags back from Ibiza?

No, though you will be able to drink duty-free on the plane.

What about getting European stuff here? Will I be still be able to buy French Fries?

Why would you want to? Buy chips!

What about Mars Bars?

Mars is not actually a member of the EU, so there’ll be no change.

Is it true that I can get an Irish passport?

Depends. Are you any good at soccer?

Isn’t it going to be awkward, having Ireland still in the EU, but further away then us?

I believe they’re thinking about a kind of house-swap, where we’ll move to Britain and you’ll move here. We’ll get the London Eye, and Stonehenge, and Glastonbury, and you’ll get, well, rain mostly. And Termonfeckin.

But I like where I live now, though I admit I’d like it more if they’d put in the bloody pedestrian crossing we asked for ten years ago. The idea sounds nuts. Our Foreign Secretary would never agree to anything so daft.

And your Foreign Secretary is?

It’s Boris – oh.


Will Brexit affect us in the Eurovision Song Contest?

No, you still won’t win.

I’ve heard that there will be a lot less red tape. Is that true?

In the beginning, perhaps, but it is likely that some British company will spot that there is now a shortage of red tape, and will rush to fill the gap. 

So this will be good for British manufacturing?

Of red tape, certainly.

I’m an Arsenal fan. Will Arsene Wenger have to quit as manager?


Damn. Ok, one last question.

Go ahead.

What do Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May’s legs have to do with any of this?

God knows.