Sir George Campbell celebrated his 188th birthday this weekend. And with elections throughout the country coming up tomorrow, it’s an important day of the year for all politicians, and I’m proud to announce a guest editor for this week’s blog-post. Nobody could accuse him of being old-fashioned; he’s just joined Twitter @SirGeorgeMP and his campaign speech below is also available in large print and Braille versions on request.
Meanwhile, back at the NUSagent’s…
Sir George isn’t the only one who was campaigning last week. I spent Monday-Thursday braving Sheffield to attend the National Union of Students Conference on their 90th anniversary – although as the Union of Jewish Students’ delegation hoodies pointed out, we celebrated our 90th anniversary three years earlier so we win.
A delegate who’d been before explained to me, “At NUS, members of the Labour Party are considered to be far-right,” and I can definitely agree. There are also a fair number of people who cling to the rule-book as if it’s the Bible, with discussion of weighty topics such as whether or not to condemn all police as evil frequently being interrupted to hear completely pointless “procedural motions,” usually used for tactical timewasting.
The NUS constitution itself seems to be far more complex than necessary. At 72 pages long, it wastes significantly more paper than the constitutions of the Czech Republic (24 pages), Norway (22 pages) and Denmark (18 pages), although let’s be honest, it is by far the more important document of the four. It divides NUS work into five ‘zones’, and identifies various ‘liberation groups’ in society – women, LGBTQ etc. – and each zone and liberation group has a committee who like to share their wisdom; given how large each committee is, and how keen they are to demonstrate their unique brand of importance, this takes quite some time!
During one “access break” (or ‘break’ in English!) I chatted to the Chief Returning Officer, Honor Cohen – first name perfect for an electoral administrator, surname ripe for Zionist conspiracy theories. She used to be an NUS official but then her glittering career led her to work for an exam board.
Anyway, as I handed out flyers, manned an exhibition stall, fought valiantly against adhesives of all kinds and advertised a visit from “the Chief” (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks), I did find time to take some notes, so can proudly present a special feature, for one week only:
“The government have literally pulled the rug from beneath students’ feet.”
“Elections are the changing of the decks on the battleship of the Titanic.”
“We cannot wait until the next election to get rid of the Tories.” [The alternative being…?]
“We want to see Students’ Unions twinned with local prisons.” [And later…] “Delegates, there will be a revote: don’t leave. Can we lock the doors please?”
“I need 100 delegates to hear the motion about whether there were 100 delegates wanting to hear the statement.”
“What’s the delay here?”/ “Erm, everyone in the room is Jewish?”
Jonathan Sacks: [microphone buzzes] “The Almighty always heckles me on these occasions.”
JS: “Without religious disagreement, what would we do for entertainment?”
JS: “I spent a week with the Dalai Lama.” [What a casual Chief Rabbi.]
“Whooping and cheering on conference floor is not very accessible.” [Er what?]
“Unfortunately the guillotine is falling.” [As Marie Antoinette said to her husband…]
“I understand that education is important to us all…” [Arguably a pre-requisite for addressing the National Union of Students?]
Lame election candidate #1: “I’ll put the S back into NUS.” [Zzzzzzzzz.]
Lame election candidate #2: “I got things moving again, a bit like a human laxative.”
Lame election candidate #3: “The NUS is a bit like a hand…” [Drones on.]
“The delegate in the purple top please. Or it could be black. Or red, blue. Maybe green.”
A musical interlude
It has often been observed that my voice is of an uniquely tuneful and mellifluous character, and I have, after much soul-searching, reached the decision that I should employ it for the benefit of my fellow citizens.
Therefore, favour me with your indulgence as I present a melody to which I have applied new words suited to the topic of The London Mayoral Election.
Henry VIII and his Six Knives
When m’parents came down to visit me just before leaving on their tour of the United States, we went to visit Anne of Cleves House, a property Anne received as part of her divorce settlement from Henry. A sign outside proudly advertises that it is “available for weddings and civil ceremonies” – but surely getting married in Anne of Cleves’ house isn’t the best omen? Divorced, beheaded, died…
In particular, some 16th-century advice on dental hygiene has made me wonder whether the modern world’s love-affair with toothpaste is about to end.
The Ministry of Defence has delivered leaflets to residents of a block of flats in east London revealing the welcome news that their homes will be used as a ground-to-air missle launching station during the Olympics. It reassured concerned citizens that having a missile base on their property “will not make you a target for terrorists.”
In other news, the MoD has contacted me to say that during the Olympics, they’d like to give Philip Hammond our spare room, store some top-secret papers in my filing cabinet, park a nuclear submarine in my bath and put a Viking in my bed.
A final word (or two) (or 900)
These are dangerous times we live in. It is essential to fight for liberalism, freedom and Empire throughout our lives, and I am confident that I myself have done my duty in this regard, especially during my time in India and my time as a Member of Parliament. However, this is not to say that the dangerous politic of the left does not occasionally bring forth concepts worth emulating. News from an old acquaintance of mine, Her Imperial Majesty’s Ambassador to Muscovy, reveals that Mr Putin, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, has introduced a competition aimed at identifying the best worker in their vast land.
Our own land, though less vast, is equally rich in prosperity and aspiration, and I have therefore made it my business to identify the “best worker” of our British realm. Thus far in my quest, only one nominee has been brought to my attention, and an extract from their nomination statement is copied below for your convenience.
It only remains for me to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr Gabriel Webber for allowing me the privilege of sharing my profound views, immense expertise and considerable experience with an audience as distinguished as your good selves.
I urge all British men to cast their vote wisely; democracy is a tricky business – I sometimes question whether the state would be stronger without it – and I hope I have been able to assist you all by shedding my own light upon the cutting edge of modern politics.
God save Queen Victoria!