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Posh Potty-Mouths v. Plebs


WITHNAIL AND I is one of my favourite films and I make sure I watch it once a year just to refresh my admiration for its impressive list of one-liners. If you don’t enjoy the film I can only grieve for you. There are two monstrous characters in the film, Withnail obviously being the major one, the other being his homosexual uncle, Monty. Uncle Monty is charming, well-spoken, nicely-off, erudite, witty and corpulent; all of which I was reminded of when listening to Stephen Fry’s unctuous voice-over to an anti-Brexit video, “Brexit: Facts v Fear”, published on YouTube by Pindex (whoever they are).

The video is professionally produced and lays out a documented (but erroneous) case against the vote to leave the EU. As we’ve already many times been through the blisteringly cliched arguments it reiterates I won’t waste any more space discussing them. Instead I’ll indulge myself in the kind of personal vituperation and excoriation we have come to expect from the establishment (Matthew D’Ancona’s bilious little excretion being the most recent example of this, and to which I’ll come shortly).

With regard to Uncle Stephen (Uppingham School, The Paston School and eventually Queen’s College, Cambridge), it’s sad to see how someone of such talent and former slimness, once in the vanguard of comedy, turning into the very kind of blimpish establishment figure he used to deride so wittily. For establishment he most definitely is, for all his dislike of political correctness and advocacy of free speech. Lord Melchett comes to mind. I suggest if you watch this video you amuse yourself by imagining you are being lectured to by Melchett or Uncle Monty, or both in turn. It will make it more bearable, that’s for sure.

It will also add relish to the accusation of being racist, which is what all this boils down to. For Brexiteers it is now an insult not to have been labelled thus: it means you haven’t been engaging enough with the cloth-eared quislings of Remain. Like Mr D’Ancona (St Dunston’s and Magdalen College, Oxford), who confirms his membership of the clan McSnooty with such pronouncements as his weaselly-worded comment on Brexiteers’ desire for national independence as nothing more than “a subtle jurisprudential discussion about sovereignty”. Ah, we are truly an ill-shaped crew — crafty enough to engage in subtle points of jurisprudence but not enough to hide our racist bigotry. We can’t bamboozle the lofty intellects of D’Ancona and his ilk, whose brows are in the highest zones of the heavens and whose feet tread on clouds. From such great heights he sees our racism writ large and thunders his judgment down, “Bigots!”

However, if the Sturm und Drang of Brexit politics becomes too much we can always rely on the Guardian for some light relief, of the totally mental sort. This time it’s to do with potty training (apt in its way), or the lack thereof, care of Zoe (“there is a Magic Money Tree”) Williams.

Ms Williams was incensed by the suggestion of Ofsted chief, Amanda Spielman, that parents should bear the responsibility of toilet-training their offspring before shunting them off to primary school. Along with not turning them into mini Bunters and making sure they realise stabbing other kids is a no-no. This was too much for Dopey Zoe (Latymer and Godolphin School and Lincoln College, Oxford), who managed to produce a whole article on potty-training without once explaining why it was so difficult for working-class parents to do now what previous generations have done before without the benefit of middle-class saviours who write for the Guardian.

It’s all to do with some class war, of course, conducted by the evil Tories, and Zoe is adept with the correct linguistic waffle to come up with excuses: the “other”, inclusiveness, being non-judgmental (just mental), demonisation, austerity, poverty and what have you. It couldn’t just be that those parents are not taking responsibility for looking after their own children, could it? Of course not – personal responsibility is not a concept found in any Guardianista’s Articles of Faith.

So here we are, being lectured to by three over-credentialled, under-brained, pokey-fingered, bourgeois snobs whose understanding of the “people” they pretend to support is as minimal as their own self-awareness. They have the political perspicacity of blind toads. They’re fellow-travelling, useful idiots of The Orthodoxy, endlessly regurgitating the slop about the EU or the UN or whoever. As it says so pungently in the Bible: “as a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly” (Prov. 26:11).

What’s amazing is how often they can keep on puking up this pre-digested plebophobe vomit and then dining on it with such relish. Watching them is a new spectator sport for us oiks.

Currente Calamo columnist, poet and writer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire. 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 book is Albion Days (perennisperegrinator press).

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