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Messrs Flim Flam, Buffo and Gorgeous.

The Fortnightly Review’s special EU correspondent from a sofa in Blighty.

dthumWATCHING DAVID FLIM-FLAM do his most recent stern-faced, Battle of Britain routine in Brussels was reminiscent of the last time he thumped the table in a metaphorical way to thwart the over ambitious Europeans. That was back in 2011 when he returned to Blighty boasting how he’d vetoed a treaty on the EU’s new financial markets regulations which he thought weren’t in British interests.

He didn’t actually veto anything, let alone some treaty, but the media happily went along with the pretence. The response to his new confrontation, over his proposals regarding UK benefits to EU citizens, has been similar, if less fulsome. It has certainly been less important in terms of what he has has achieved. But then, it was all a fake anyway. The aim was to demand almost nothing from the EU, be seen to be fighting Britain’s cause and then to return with a few insignificant victories with which to bolster the in campaign in the forthcoming referendum.

Attentive as always to personalities rather than issues (in a phrase frequently used by the late Tony Benn, who was wrong about everything except the EU) the mainstream media were first excited by the news that Govey Gradgrind had definitely declared for the out camp. This was the first breaking of ranks in the Tory party but what the media really wanted to know was what Boris Buffo was going to do.

bjtumsHe, true to his magnificent sense of self dramatisation, kept them all on tenterhooks, then stood outside his house, surrounded by press, his by now slightly thinning blond hair clipped shorter than usual, to announce that he would support the out camp.

The following day in the House of commons he pointedly asked his one-time Etonian chum, Mr Flim Flam, what the latter’s breakfastless negotiations had achieved for Britain. Flim Flam duly replied with blather and an angry demeanour. The best part of the session, however, was reserved for Jezbollah The Lost, leader of Her Majesty’s opposition, who, when recounting how he had been to a meeting of European socialists says he was asked – at this point some Tory wit interject with the shout “Who are you?” The House shook with boisterous jollity. Except for Jezza, of course, and Mr Flim Flam, who was so engrossed in reading something that he hadn’t noticed the commotion and had to have it explained to him by his quivering Home Secretary.

BACK TO BUFFO, however, described by Mr Hitchens as “ambitious in the way he is blond”, various gadflies had at him in the papers for choosing the out camp simply to boost his personal ambition to replace Mr Flam Flam as leader of the Tory Party. Flim Flam, some said, is yesterday’s man, having confirmed that he would not stand as leader in the next election, so his ire against Buffo is toothless. It is your correspondent’s opinion that Buffo is as much a man of principle as Flim Flam, ie, none, and that the most cynical interpretation is ineluctably the correct one.

gallothumAfter that little bit of excitement came another, this time involving an equally outsized political personality, Mr Gorgeous, the Israel-hating, Saddam Hussein-admiring leftist, who had spoken at an outers rally that week. Being “interviewed” by Mrs Someone-Who-Is-Not-Brillo, who was more interested in stirring up aggravation against the out camp by concentrating on his controversial personality, he repeatedly and robustly rebutted her sallies, calling her discourse childish and tabloid. She didn’t like it. She’s from the BBC, you know. They don’t do tabloid.

“I don’t want to defend me at all. You’re not my judge. You’re not fit to be my judge,” he continued, at which she huffed “Well, thank you very much,” in the most passive-aggressive manner she could muster.

Eventually she got round to asking him about the referendum and why Britain should exit and it turned out to be about the simple but serious matter of democracy. It wasn’t rocket science, said Mr Gorgeous. And he was right. It was a pity the BBC had wasted three quarters of the interview in a cack-handed attempt to avoid the issue. On the other hand, though, maybe this is like rocket science for the BBC. That would explain why they can’t grasp it.

suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet, writer and lecturer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire . From 2005–2008 he was the Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University of Lincoln where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent collection is Spyglass Over The Lagoon. A selection of his Fortnightly Currente Calamo columns, Sucks To Your Revolution: Annoying The Politically Correct (US), is available as a Kindle ebook.

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