The long view

3 December 2016

9:00 AM

3 December 2016

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 2976 you were invited to submit an extract of a speech in which a well-known figure from history comments on a pressing item on today’s news agenda.
Rob Stuart gave Pythagorus’ view on the new Toblerone (not a fan); Frank Upton offered Thomas Crapper’s perspective on transgender public conveniences; and Michael McManus delivered St Paul’s Letter to the Climatians (‘let no rubbish escape recycling and resurrection). The winners take £25. The bonus fiver is Brian Allgar’s.

We, Henry, hereby do encourage thee
To act against the dread LGBT.
Unnatural! We’ve had a wife or two
Who craved the nameless things that women do,
Ofttimes requiring strange vibrating toys.
Our bishops seek debauchery with boys,
And what new devilry now plagues us, when
Some men turn female, women change to men?
Yet which is which? We do not care to guess.
All this, and more, we urge thee to suppress,
For we are made of proper manly stuff,
And sink our sceptre in a bit of fluff.
Shouldst thou appear before us, we would say
‘Arise, Sir Donald, Knight of AntiGay!’
Thy virile maiden-groping is no crime;
We, too, have grabbed much pussy in our time.
Brian Allgar/Henry VIII
It’s hot down here, but it hasn’t fried my brain, I’m a keen blogger, and once a führer always a führer, the other damned souls recognise my superiority. Even the Marquis de Sade. But to the point. Trump. I have to say, I feel two ways about this. It’s a breakthrough, no question. But of course he took his cue from me, using the democratic electoral process to wash away the poison of democracy. And he spoke up, just as I did, for the cheated and dispossessed against a degenerate, bloated elite. Now he has the kind of power I once had, commander-in-chief, a virtual dictator. That’s fantastic. He can blow Russia away just by pressing a button, he doesn’t even need troops and the weather won’t be a problem. He’s top of the world, riding high. But the heartbreak is: IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!
Basil Ransome-Davies/Adolf Hitler
It having pleased many roundly to criticise my Ministry during these two centuries past for the disaffection and ultimate secession of our Colonies, I may perhaps be allowed this opportunity to comment. For while at the time the loss was indeed regretted of overseas dominions that both contributed revenue to His Majesty’s coffers, and provided a useful disposal-place for convicts and malcontents, recent events will surely suggest that the British nation’s regrets should be proportionate, and indeed tempered by a sigh of relief. For this election of Mr Trump has shown that the peoples of the Colonies, whom that seditious Mr Paine inaccurately characterised as possessing rough virtues and common sense, are, rather, foolish in the extreme, having chosen for their governor a rogue combining the honesty of a Sicilian banditto, the manners of a clown and the veracity of Ananias. I say we are well shot of such fellows.
George Simmers/Lord North
I confess my astonishment. Who can credit it? Albion perfide herself, by a vote of the clamorous rabble, has chosen to adopt the Continental System which I invented to wage economic warfare against her. This is more than puzzling, but other grave questions pose themselves on the subject of national leadership. Does it not imperatively require at this fateful juncture a man like myself — charismatic, bold, a natural leader who follows his star to an august destiny? Only an innovator, an overruler of conventional restrictions, a man certain of his historic role possessing the will to prove the worth of that self-assurance through victory, can break the chains of sluggish mediocrity and restore national pride. So when I address myself, as a respectful adversary, to England’s current, critical needs I must ask: is Gareth Southgate yet ready to assume the role of England manager on a permanent basis?
G.M. Davis/Napoleon I
The name of the beast shall be Brexit which signifieth in the tongue of the Remainers ‘Begetter of Chaos’ and that of the Leavers ‘Salvation’ and the number of the beast shall be 27, being 28 less one and it shall arise when appears across the ocean a man of orange skin and bull’s voice who gropeth. It shall cause thrones and dominions to shake, brethren to breathe vilification upon brethren, sistren upon sistren; some to seek return whence their ancestors fled. All shall urge all to repentance but none knoweth whereof he shall repent nor in what way. He enclouded with the smoke of nicotine and fume of barley and she, the month named, with others of lesser renown, shall incant the name of Brexit, though lacking all description of it and neighbour shall say unto neighbour, ‘Though not knowing what it is, such I foretold.’
J. Seery/John Knox
I, Boadicea, warrior Queen of the Iceni, have pointedly not been asked to shriek a few words about Brexit. Undeterred, I must! For was I not the pioneering Brexiteer? And, for all that I am a woman, do I not boast more balls than any of you, my successors, even ale-sodden Farage, whose name rings so unsettlingly Gaulish? Why, my people razed Camulodunum and Londinium; your sole, bloodless victory has been at Referendum, a settlement unmarked upon maps. You dither over hard or soft Brexit: it is hard to wrest power from those who hold it, soft to believe it can be accomplished without bloody battle. For all she has a face itself fiercer than woad could contrive, your leader May demonstrates little stomach for a fight she did not choose. Let me lead Britain, driving my chariot through the Treaty of Rome and the red tape hemmed thereabouts!
Adrian Fry


No. 2979: take five

A series of parodies of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books have been published which re-imagine the five as adults. Titles include Five Go Gluten Free and Five on Brexit Island. You are invited to supply your contribution or to give another children’s classic the same treatment. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 28 December.

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