Talkin’ ’bout a referendum

1412056274974_wps_62_Flag_of_the_European_Unio[1]It’s referendum day. But while there are reasons to dread whatever will happen this evening (when the results of the Brexit polls are announced), at least we know that, either way, from 24 June onwards there’s a slim, outside chance that we might get through a news bulletin without having to listen to any more drivel about the bloody EU!

The whole thing has been so annoying, I’d almost be willing to compromise. Perhaps, for instance, we could come to a deal whereby Britain is a member of the EU for most of the year, but is entitled to 20 days (plus public holidays) of leave. Or even we could promise to be EU members for no more than 48 hours a week.

If you’ve not voted yet and want to read about why Jewish values militate in favour of a Remain vote then click here ASAP.

From one sceptered isle to another

Do you seriously want your country to become like THIS?

Do you seriously want your country to become like THIS?

French finance Emmanuel Macron (his surname is an abbreviation for ‘macroeconomics’ I think) has stuck his oar in with the intriguing suggestion that:

Leaving the EU would make Britain like Guernsey.

So it would result in crime falling, tax falling, high employment rates, a booming financial sector, the strength of character to resist fascist occupation, and two loving children called Alderney and Sark?

Do you know, I think Mr Macron might have won me over to Brexit.

Lol jk.

Thanks Macron.

Direct democracy

testimonials[1]A somewhat last-minute petition has been launched on Parliament’s website calling for the referendum to be cancelled and Britain to remain in the EU by default. At time of writing, 42,000 people have signed it (or maybe its initiator, Christopher McGinty, has 42,000 email addresses and a lot of energy).

The rules say that once a petition receives 10,000 signatures it receives a written response from the government saying, “No,” and once it reaches the 100k level a minister will make a speech in the House of Commons saying, “No.”

All petitions have six months to gather support, so by December we should know for certain whether or not the referendum will be cancelled.

Interestingly the rules also forbid any petition which is “extreme in its views” (because it’s not as if Parliament is there to consider radical changes to society or anything). Examples of petitions which have been rejected by the authorities include:

  • “Let students watch the England v Wales football match”
  • “Urgent inquest into why Harry Kane is taking corners for England (something that would boost moral [sic] for the whole of the UK)”
  • “Change the Facebook emojis back into the original ones”
  • “Provide elderly residents of care homes with access to Mario Kart game consoles”
  • “Make Southern Rail trains free to all members of the public”
  • “Have a Bring Your Dog to Work Day”
  • “Help Tara get a dog”

And back to the referendum…

  • “The Conservative Party should be split into two parties, pro- and anti-EU”
  • “Give Nigel Farage a knighthood”

Thanks, citizens.

Football’s coming home

Andy Murray in action against Ivan DodigDavid Beckham (pictured) stepped up to the crease on Tuesday with the revelation that we should remain in the EU.

He told journalists that, although he had played with a lot of “great British players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, they had been a better team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel”.

So that’s that settled then.

His contribution came as a great boon to the Remain campaign, which has spent the last few weeks insisting that we should pay more attention to the words of experts than those of ignorant populist demagogues with no knowledge of economic and social integration policy.

But as so often, Beckham faced some competition. Boris Johnson was not prepared to surrender this vitally important high ground so easily, and hastily reminded the public that “the Brexit side, too, had backing from former England stars”.

So hopefully today, people will be out voting in droves based on, er, what footballers they support most.

Thanks David.

How politics works

Crosby_3517285bSir Lynton Crosby of Patronage-down-Under (pictured) has taken to The Telegraph to share his unique insights into the referendum, in the process coining the highly unpleasant phrase “soft Remainers”.

He’s made the following radical claim:

As I pointed out in my original column, the side that is most effective in motivating their voters to turn out on the 23rd will be the side that emerges victorious.

NO WAY. I had no idea that the political views of the people who vote affects the outcome – I’d thought it was a largely random process with little popular input.

Thanks Lynton.

Watching DC


…But Gabrielquotes asks: how come the words “deep sh*t” were omitted from this mug?

Cameron also told reporters: “You can’t jump out of the aeroplane then climb back in through the cockpit hatch.” Seems clear to me.

Thanks, Prime Minister.

Nobody’s business but the Turks

640px-Turkey_flag[1]I bet Turkey never thought it would end up playing such a pivotal role in a British referendum.

Pivotal but stupid. The big scare claim is, ‘If we stay in then we’ll be overrun by Turks when they join the EU’. It’s bollocks because Britain has an absolute veto  over new member states.

But this is one of those unusual cases where the ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’ argument can be subverted into ‘Christians voting for Turkey’.

Thanks Boris.

The best of Twitter

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.21.28 Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.20.17 Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.17.02 Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.16.38

Thanks Tina.

Vote Remain.


Track changes

thomas the tank engine ashimaRail companies spent last week trying to defend their use of meaningless phrases such as “any permitted route” and “anytime R” after a report by regulators criticising the practice as confusing.

But one thing for which all the providers were praised was their commitment to tell passengers the reasons for delays. By happy coincidence, Transport for London recently released a compilation of all their pre-recorded announcements for the London Overground, and it contained a folder called ‘Reasons’ brimming forth with 162 detailed excuses for train delays. Gems included:

  • “A currently unidentified reason which is under investigation”
  • “A landslide” (that seems likely in Kensington)
  • “A member of staff providing assistance to a passenger” (selfish bastard)
  • “Awaiting a member of train crew who, in turn, has been delayed by current disruption”
  • “A gap between the train and the platform” (if only there was a convenient three-word phrase one could use to warn passengers against this particular menace?)
  • “A report of an injury to a person on the track” (‘Oh, do you think it was that guy we rammed into, Bob?’)
  • “Problems in the depot” (‘Yeah, Sheila’s in a bad mood because Ernie spilt coffee and…’)

…and in case the preceding 150+ reasons weren’t comprehensive enough…

  • “An external cause beyond our control”
  • “The dog ate my homework”

But anyway, I joined all the announcements together and made them into a rap:

The inquiry season

Well, as the summer fails to appear, it’s well and truly Inquiry Season here in the UK. This month we’ll see the report of the Chakrabarti Inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, launched in April. Next month we’ll see the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War, launched in 2009. One of these days we might even see the second ‘module’ of the Leveson Inquiry, which has the working title Leveson II: Return of the Jay.

Shami ‘Leather’ Chakrabarti will release her speedy report online; Sir John ‘Slow and Steady’ Chilcot will release his on a stone tablet in Latin.

iraq-inquiry-deathsIn fact, Shami’s inquiry, which also covers hate speech on social media, has an altogether technological, hip feel to it:

Gorilla warfare

'I'm voting Leave [my cage]'

‘I’m voting Leave [my cage]’

Last month, Cincinnati Zoo shot a gorilla dead to save the life of a toddler who crawled into its cage. The toddler’s mother is now fending off abuse from the public who seem to take the completely irrational, unreasonable view that it was her responsiblity to look after her child and to stop him, er, ending up sharing a cage with dangerous animals in a zoo. Someone even made the outrageous assertion that “zoos aren’t your babysitter”.

Of course though, the internet being the internet, people naturally went too far the other way, for example when one man opined: “That animal is more important than your s**t kid.”

So the zoo was trigger-happy and the mother negligent; the toddler disobedient and the online baying mob ochlocratic.

The only person to come out of the whole, sorry affair with any credit at all was Harambe the gorilla. RIP.

Astounding news, meanwhile, as it turned out that people who didn’t register to vote until immediately before the midnight deadline were faced with a technical error that prevented them from registering to vote.

“I had no idea that a last-minute surge of registrations would lead to the website crashing,” said one disappointed would-be voter. “I thought that 11:58pm would be a really quiet period because everyone would be watching re-runs of Pointless on Dave.”

The news in briefs

  • The Ministry of Defence has “run out of money to pay for some new naval ships, according to former First Sea Lord Alan West. Apparently it’s all they can do to keep the project afloat.
  • The Royal Mint is offering pensioners the opportunity to buy gold bars. If successful, they hope to branch out into other bars including Royal Mint Cake in the near future.
  • Nigel Farage insists “not racist” to say that every foreigner in the world is a sex offender.
  • A Charedi rabbi has said that girls aged over five should not ride bikes as it is “provocative”. This overturned a previous ruling to the contrary; these things happen in cycles.

Life imitates satire

In the past I’ve mocked up letters to the Jewish media like this as satire. But sadly Martin and Anna Kaczynski genuinely wrote this to the Jewish News:

martin kaczynski letterI have no words. Except these:

Dear editor
Re. the Kaczynskis’ letter ‘Pack your bags if EU vote is to stay in’, I am unsure whether I am more offended by their xenophobia, by their Nazi comparisons or by their complete ignorance of the constitutional structure of the EU.
As to the latter point, the UK has an absolute veto to the accession of any new member state (including Turkey).
As to the former points, just imagine if anyone wrote to the ‘Guardian’ expressing a fear about being ‘swamped by Jews’. Targeting other ethnic and religious groups and generalising them as extremists is unacceptable and un-Jewish.
And as to their argument that the EU is a fulfilment of Hitler’s dream: I don’t know which bit of the EU Hitler would have liked most… the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the gender and racial equality legislation, the democratically elected parliament… he’d be spoilt for choice. What a ridiculous comparison.
Gabriel Webber
Representative of Liberal Judaism on the Board of Deputies
(writing in a personal capacity)

Hodiernae histriones

Well, as the zookeeper of fate shoots the gorilla of eternity, and the mother of time sacrifices the toddler of destiny, we see that it’s the end of the blog post.
In tonight’s episode, the Macarena was sung by Shami Chakrabarti, and Martin David Kaczynski and Anna Belinda Kaczynski (no relation) warned against the dangers of the EU. Sir John Chilcot inquired. Sir Topham Hatt announced. This was an Gabrielquotes production!