Friday, January 29, 2010

Et in Arcadia Egos

It looks like we're in for another jolly bout of Tory government in a matter of months, so we in the Cymru Rouge are ready with some advice for Master Cameron and his swanky swan-guzzling chums.

"What can Welsh Maoists possibly have to say to Old Etonians that can't better be expressed with a mattock-blow in a paddy field?" you may ask.

As it happens, some of us have read The Independent and know all about Gramsci, hegemony and the like. Having acknowledged that our own electoral uplift is not going to burst out of the Thames Valley Bustier, we are happy to have the Conservatives implement our policies for us.

If there's one thing hemp-clad, slogan-shrieking Silurian child-soldiers have in common with whale-shaped grandees it's a love of wholesome country living. They eat nursery food in unheated piles, compare bowel eruptions and mount one another with bellies full of port. We sit and wait in thickets, endlessly, like the owl Blodeuwedd.

The greatest crime of the Blair Government was to persuade the grimy urchins of the Labour Party that it is acceptable to be a ponce. It is not. New Labour then cast its Mabuse shadow over the Tories, so that you now hear distressing tales of Cameron's Notting Hill "lifestyle":

  • sober dinner party discussions of personal finance,
  • foreign, non-curried food eaten with sincere relish,
  • public education - indeed, any education, and
  • ladies taking ministerial responsibility for more than milk-snatching and nurses.

Any more of this and our democracy will be in serious danger. A choice between three political parties of middle-class bores is no choice at all, and the drinking, smoking, rutting and recreational-fighting classes might well march on That London with the heads of estate agents on pikes come Imbolc.

To effect national reconciliation and avoid the reign of King Mob, I would like to resurrect an idea Gyppo Byard and I developed some years ago. Then we considered it a diverting television programme; now we understand it could save the Crown.

The instigation was an American programme called "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", in which five shameless inverts sought to undermine the not-at-all repressed male obsessions with contact sports, body odours and drunken fisticuffs by a strict regime of couture, musicals and salad. The result - the eventual election of President Obama - signals the success of this cultural osmosis.

We proposed to take ownership of this device in a uniquely rural way. We would take a representative group of metropolitan degenerates - Peter York, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Wayne Hemingway, Polly Toynbee, Madelaine Bunting, the Bishop of Southwark and The Pet Shop Boys - in the back of a Land Rover to the Welsh Marches.

We'd con them into coming by saying it's an all-paid trip to a delightful converted farmhouse in Le Marche Gallese.

Once esconced at Taff's End, an underheated Tudor nightmare of noisome plumbing and over-familiar beagles, they would be matched up with a local type - poachers, arsonists, Gypsies, matrons of the Ladies Fellowship, hereditary Fenian prisoners, the colonels who detained them, and the usual selection of unqualified doctors, Welsh policemen and shell-shocked Classics masters.

These would introduce them to antic pursuits that we deemed least suited to the individual drone/harpy. For example:

  • Miss Kilgore ("It's Miss! Miss!!") would have Yasmin buffing St Oswald's chalice in good time for his feast day,
  • Major Tarry the magistrate and amateur gunsmith would demonstrate the finer points of Lex Despenser in the Ludlow usage ("Guilty as a Frenchman, fetch the barrel!") to York and anyone in a quarter-mile radius who dares to wear cologne,
  • Ms Bunting would expand her understanding of different faith traditions with the help of the Rev Elias's collection of Medieval shriving tools ("Yes, sinners were smaller in those days, but I'm sure you'll fit once Miss Kilgore's finished the preparations."), and
  • Wayne Hemingway would have an entire episode devoted to his adventures with Tinker Mullins, simply entitled "Eels".

Our aim was purely fun at someone else's expense but, as is often the case, we had stumbled upon a solution, or at least a solvent, for our fractured fiefdom. Instead of meretricious televisual entertainment, an imaginative government could make much more out of "Let Fly at Their Back Eye" (no more than a working title, it's true, but it captures the essence of violence, colloquialism and bigotry).

I propose a Department of State, devoted to rooting the deracinated firmly in the soil of the pays réel - whether literally or not will be left to local referenda, on a property-holder's franchise.

Any members of Central Office who might be reading, please feel free to get in touch by cleft stick.


Welshwalker said...

Ah Yes! The shell-shocked classics master (leather elbow patches) and the over familiar beagles! Then afterwards they should be driven back to Londres and hanged upside down from one leg under Black Friars Bridge.
Makings of a great filum. Hmm... who should direct and whom should we cast in the role of 'local arsonist'?

Gorilla Bananas said...

Isn't it about time that Mrs Alibaba-Brown dropped the Brown from her name and married a Welshman? Alibaba-Jones has a nice ring to it. And Peter York must have Welsh blood - no one can talk that much bullshit without being Welsh.

No Good Boyo said...

Welcome, Walker. I'd only go for the pontifex horribilis treatment if they remain unrepentant after weeks at our rural re-education camp. I'm confident we'll have a rosy-nosed Polly Toynbee slurring dialect endearments through blackened teeth as she pours pints of Champion's Freckled Johnson down The Tethered Goat before you can say "rickets!".

Jude Law will play the arsonist, with Dicky Attenborough directing. Both after a stay at Taff's End, of course.

Spare us, GB. We have our own Lady Kinnock - who has unerringly caused chaos is her latest brief, as predicted - without wanting to acquire shrills-in-law. Still, she might take a shine to St Oswald's chalice and marry a lusty young curate in Clun.

Peter York does have the gift, doesn't he? Rather like a less punchable Simon Jenkins, who's definitely one of ours. England can keep Jenkins, and we'll throw in Jeremy Bowen and Huw Edwards for free, in return for just one York.

A brace of bounderish baboons would come in handy for our Michaelmas Special, if you have any recommendations, by the way.

Welshwalker said...

Is the title some kind of devious reference to that (rather dull) painting by Poussin - shepherds and a tomb?
I see conspiracies everywhere! Is paranoia a Welsh trait?
'Taff's End' seems to be a good 'working title' for your film. Or 'Lord Hereford's Knob' (twmpa)which is slap in the middle of Le Marche Gallesse. What about Fellini for director reprising Satyricon (oh, he's dead already).

xerxes said...

Very waughian Boyo, the gilded catamites of the Bullingdon salute you. Of course, Waugh is cognate with Welsh*, so no surprise really.

*Shut up, it is now.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Could the bullpen of the Grauniad Saturday thingy be forcibly decamped to Llandovery?

(sorry, that's not in response to your fine post, it's just a general plea)

Gadjo Dilo said...

Sound thinking. That Channel Tunnel should be re-directed so it goes from Folkestone to Barry Island and the phrases "(Tuscany)" or "(Pays de la Loire)" appended to all Welsh language signposts. And the sorting office for all newly-arrived tourists should be R. S Thomas's cottage/walk-in refrigerator.

Gareth Williams said...

I believe Peter York was born Shane Evans in Hendy, near Swansea. He was educated at Pontarddulais Comp, played blind-side flanker for Dunvant and worked at the Swansea branch of Prontaprint before moving to Hayes where after a visit to Oxfam he did a Heseltine/Howe. He continues to pass himself off as an English gent. The rest is history.

No Good Boyo said...

My dear Walker, this is Wales. Being dead is no disqualification from a job, and an ill-defined sense of grievance and entitlement (the Compo Syndrome) comes with the sodden territory.

"Waugh is cognate with Welsh," eh, Inky? I wonder where I've heard that before:

'Evelyn Waugh once wrote "We can trace almost all the disasters of English history to the influence of Wales". And England is still making lots of history for us to trample over with our loping, lupine tread.

Bear in mind too that "Waugh" as a surname is cognate with "Welsh". Do I have to draw you a map?"'
(NG Boyo, 5 Oct 2008 -

Go to the top of the slate heap!

Kevin, we Rouge are just waiting for the Guardian to dare to hold another arts festival in Hay. Watch the focaccia drop from their pursed lips as the column of black Hillman Imps draws up to take them off to the leek plantations of Pembroke.

"R. S Thomas's cottage/walk-in refrigerator." Thanks for reminding me, Gadjo. RS considered fridges to be Satan's lovebeads, and so should we. Only a freezer, preferably stocked with martini glasses, will do.

Gaw, I see another entry in Cyfres Y Ceirw coming on. York is clearly working to destroy England from within, just like Heseltine and Howe. They sound like a camp cleaning firm, don't they?

xerxes said...

And now that I've repeated it back to you it's true. That's how history is established. Ffact, and I'm a historian.

Well I will be once you've said I am.

No Good Boyo said...

Spot on, Inky. Once I used to feed stories to a foreign radio station so that I could them report them as fact. To this day I can't see what I done wrong.

Gyppo Byard said...

Our hour is come. I shall start collecting eels ready, bor.

Ian Plenderleith said...

This is all irrelevant if Labour can save itself - a simple strategy of making the Tory Party illegal will suffice. Either they'll accept the ban, in which case, fine. Or they will rise up and march brandishing their shooting sticks, assembling in a convenient mass. At this point the military can at last be put to good use and Britain may let its bad blood as it should have done a couple of hundred years back. The dinnerparterati sector of Labour, horrified at the nasty sight of slain toffs piled high in the streets of Kensington, will be purged from within, and some gibbering Bolshevik can run the country for a while. Come on, it'll be fun. Especially for those of us watching from abroad.

xerxes said...

What you did was verify your sources Boyo. In advance.

Btw I wasn't quite sure about waughian as the adjectival form of Waugh. Should it be wovian do you think?

No Good Boyo said...

As patron of the charity Waugh on Want I ought to know, Inky, but fact is I don't. Blast. I'm more Wodehousian at heart.

How delightfully old-skool, Pop. We Rouges prefer to eat the Tories from within, like weevils, until their carapace cracks to reveal our sharpened bones within. Still, there's something satisfying and visceral about your suggestion.

My chum Ward wanted to join the Swansea Tory party, invite them to a pro-hanging meeting and string them all up. He lives in Cambridge now.

Unknown said...

Cymri Rouge? Would you consider allowing membership to a Cadwallader, an American Texan Cadwallader at that?
A Texan With Roots & A French Nom

Unknown said...

Cymri Rouge? Would you consider membership for a Texan named Cadwallader (alright, it's my family middle name; I'm surnamed Chevalier, Lousiana frog, not chez gauloises).
We are fond of hunting (with) beagles, friendly or diffident, in Texas.
Cadwallader-Chevalier (no kin to Ailbaba-Jones)

No Good Boyo said...

Mr Lee, your bowl of rice and mattock are as good as anyone's. Croeso i Uffern!