Leave means kerfuffle

Does anyone remember that time – I think it was around the first half of 2016 – when the Leave campaign professed a belief in democracy?

They said things like, “Bringing sovereignty back home,” “Freeing ourselves from the undemocratic EU,” and, “Empowering our supreme British Parliament.”

Admittedly they slightly spoilt this ‘democracy’ line of argument when they cheated in the referendum, but it was only when they seized on the idea of asking the Queen to block anti-Brexit legislation that had been passed by Parliament (you know, that democratic sovereign British Parliament to which they wanted to restore power) that they suffered a serious loss of credibility.

These are very uncertain times, but fortunately Gabrielquotes dot org dot uk Limited has got hold of a list of future tactics planned by Brexiteers to ensure that we leave the EU. In the exact words of the Leave campaign, the playbook is:

  • Send death threats to MPs who disagree with Brexit
  • Scream “Nazi!” in people’s faces
  • Send the military to Dominic Grieve’s constituency office
  • Deport Sadiq Khan to Belgium
  • Smuggle Donald Tusk’s family to London in a diplomatic bag and hold them until he agrees to no backstop
  • Learn what ‘backstop’ actually means because although we know we don’t like it we don’t really know what it is
  • Start building a wall to separate Northern Ireland from the other bit of Ireland so that people become used to the idea of a hard border
  • Pretend that we’ve secured trade agreements with Australia, Canada and India; nobody will imagine we’re just making it up

These give me some hope that, in the hands of Jacob Rees-Mogg et al, democracy is safe for a few more months.

In any event, since Article 50 has very much been the Parashat haShavua for many weeks now, I thought I might abuse the sacred craft I’ve been taught and set it to Torah trop:


My week: Tulip Siddiq Jr*

Following the outrage of Tulip Siddiq MP having to delay giving birth in order to vote on the Brexit deal – because Parliament doesn’t allow expectant mothers to vote by proxy – I’ve obtained a confidential copy of the diary written by the new baby (pictured right) during that crucial few days.

In about 15 years, when I’m a teenager, I’m sure I’ll really enjoy spending ages by myself in my room. But right now, I’m spending ages by myself in my womb and it sucks. Still, guess it’s better than growing up in a country with no food and no drugs. Apparently food and drugs are two more things I’ll enjoy when I’m a teenager. And cycling. And something called Stock Piling?

Seriously peeved today. I’m supposed to be born this evening but mum has to go into something called a Nose Lobby first. It seems terribly crowded. I wonder why she doesn’t find another lobby, but the snatches of conversation I overhear suggest that this other lobby (the Eyes Lobby apparently) has hardly anybody in it so she’d probably be very lonely. I wouldn’t want her to be in a room on her own any more than I want to be in a womb on my own.

Oh my goodness. I thought that today was finally going to be The Day. The big thing mum wanted to wait for was over, she won it, and now she can go to hospital and let me out. But no, it turns out that by winning the thing yesterday, there’s an even bigger thing today, a Boat of No Conference. I don’t know what that is, but I wouldn’t want to get into a boat unless I had confidence in it (like, for all I know, this boat might not even exist… no, that’s silly, who’d pay money for a boat that doesn’t exist?)

Born. Gosh, this real world is a nightmare! Cold, noisy and I actually have to eat rather than just gently absorbing through a tube. Still, at least I get something called a Blue Passport. But I’ve probably got that wrong. Who’d get excited about a Blue Passport?

*as told to Gabriel Webber

A rolling stone gathers no mosque

The saga of the Golders Green mosque rumbles on, with the news that a lovely interfaith initiative – an exhibition, hosted at the mosque, about Muslims who saved Jews’ lives during the Holocaust – was cancelled following joint pressure from Islamic extremists (who suggested it was “Zionist infiltration”) and Jewish extremists (who suggested it was an attempt at “Holocaust revisionism” because an honest exhibition would focus on Muslims who killed Jews during the Holocaust and not mention the righteous Muslims at all).

Of course, this joint pressure was itself a rather touching interfaith project. Muslims and Jews working, hand-in-hand, to a common end.

However, they wouldn’t want to admit this. And for that reason, I am happy to publish a statement on behalf of the Golders Green Mosque Martyrs, who wish to distance themselves from the other people who were advocating for exactly the same outcome as them:


It’s so unfair!

Diane Abbott (far left) is very upset that she didn’t look brilliant during her last appearance on BBC Question Time, hosted by Fiona Bruce. And, of course, whenever a politician looks less than stellar on TV, that must mean that there’s been some unfairness. It can’t possibly be the politician’s fault.

There was even an amazing conspiracy theory alleging that her microphone was deliberately quietened beyond those of her opponents so as to put her at a disadvantage.

Poor Diane Abbott. What else might have been unfair? A whoopee cushion on her chair? The other panellists pulled her hair and refused to sit next to her at breaktime?

Her full list of complaints has now been published… in poetic form:

Please, Miss Fiona,
This programme Question Time
Made my microphone quiet, Miss…
Surely that’s a crime?

Just try and speak louder, dear,
Elevate your voice.
If you want people to hear, my love,
That seems the obvious choice.

Please, Miss Fiona,
This programme Question Time
Asked me awkward questions, Miss…
Surely that’s a crime?

Well, make your best attempt, my flower,
Then you won’t disappoint.
You have to say some interesting things:
That’s the entire point.

Please, Miss Fiona,
This programme Question Time
Made me look quite silly, Miss…
Surely that’s a crime?

Then blame it all on bias, dear,
Whip up your left-wing fringe.
Make a formal complaint if you want,
Just don’t come to me and whinge!

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Queen’s latest partner

To get a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, you have to go on a 4-day expedition.

To get the next level up, you have to overturn a vehicle that you’re driving, injure two members of the public and retain your driving licence.

To get the next level yet, you have to continue driving after the above incident without feeling the need to wear a seatblet. (To be fair, it was probably a foreign seatbelt so I completely understand why Prince Philip didn’t feel like wearing it.)

The US government standby

…has turned into a US government shutdown. Fortunately, even when the federal government has to close, essential services are allowed to remain open. Gabrielquotes has obtained a list of departments which are continuing their operations by order of the President:

  • The Press Office
  • The Catering Office
  • The Uber-summoning Agency
  • The Golf Office
  • The Twitter Helpline Liaison Administration
  • The Architecture Office (Walls and Barriers Division)
  • The Homophobia Office
  • The Directorate of Pussy-Grabbing

The Book of Webber

So, as the Plan B of time is voted down by the Parliament of destiny, and as the Prime Minister of fate conjures up the eerily identical Plan C of eternity, it appears to be the end of the blog post.
In this week’s episode, the Golders Green Mosque Martyrs were played by Sharon Shitpael and Karen Klapp. Diane Abbott was played by a politician who believes she has a human right to look good on telly. Donald Trump was played by a politician who clearly has no interest in whether or not they look good. Prince Phillip was played by someone who should have been banned from driving a long time ago. This was an Gabrielquotes production.

Limmud: the updated code of conduct

The Sages do not impose on the community a hardship which the majority cannot endure (bBava Batra 60b)

In the spirit of the above-mentioned Jewish heritage, for 2018 the Limmud Corporation Plc has decided dramatically to amend its code of conduct as follows:


Limmud strives to be a place where Jews of all stripes can come together to elbow each other, tut at each other and buy drinks.

Our work is based on the following core values:

  • Food
  • No handouts
  • Colour coding
  • Hashtags

The behaviour we expect from participants

We aspire to a Limmud where everybody acts according to the highest standards of behaviour exemplified by the greatest Jewish leadership bodies of our generation: the Board of Deputies and the Knesset. May that time come soon and last forever, bimheira b’yameinu v’nomar amen.

Here are a few clear rules which apply to all participants, volunticipants, volunteers, participeers, chairs, co-chairs, tri-chairs, quadri-chairs, and anyone anywhere in the world who wears a purple lanyard:

  • At Limmud, anyone can be a teacher. No-one is any better or worse at teaching than anyone else. That’s why there’s no correlation whatsoever between room size and popularity of presenter.
  • If the fire alarm goes off, stand around looking hopefully for someone to come and bring you your coat and gloves or else for the fire just to self-extinguish. On no account leave the building unless you hear both the fire alarm and volunteers shouting at you to move.
  • Sit at the end of rows. One bonus point for tutting at anybody who wants to get past to use any of the 10 or so seats you’re obstructing. Two bonus points if you sit down at the end of a long table in the dining hall and totally block off the rest of it and contribute to the congestion there.
  • Save seats in the dining hall for people who won’t arrive until 20-30 minutes later if at all.
  • Keep the corridors moving by walking at a reasonable speed… then stop suddenly and without warning to look at your mobile and cause a mass pileup.
  • Ringtones during sessions please.
  • On no account take your meat dining ticket with you to the meat dining room. If you take your meat dining ticket with you to the meat dining room you have not fulfilled your duty.
  • If a presenter invites questions, give a comment. If they invite comments, ask a question. If they invite audience participation, keep awkwardly quiet. If they ask for silence, play the kazoo.
  • If a presenter says they’ll only take questions at the end, they definitely have something to hide. Barrack them repeatedly until they agree to an immediate cross-examination.
  • Thou shalt surely not suffer a panel discussion and live.
  • Whenever a comment is being made from the floor and you can’t hear properly, get all your friends to shout, “We can’t hear!” It is a well-known fact that the more voices shouting over someone, the easier it becomes to hear that person.
  • Your way of assembling a cup of tea is right. Anyone who wants to do it differently (hot water before milk, for instance, or vice versa if that’s how you do it) is wrong and their approach disrupts the proper way people are supposed to use the tea station and they should be tutted at.
  • If you’re stuck in a long queue and have a session to get to, ask the people in front if they’d mind if you go first. They won’t have a session to get to. The fact that this is a break between sessions isn’t anything to do with the fact that the queue is long. You have extenuating circumstances and should get priority.
  • There are not strange doors at the back of the Red, Orange and Blue rooms. You might believe you saw doors there, but you didn’t. Those doors do not exist. Don’t think about them. Don’t worry about them. There are no extra doors and they don’t go anywhere.
  • We’ve heard all the Nittel Nacht jokes before.
  • Don’t mention the (Six-Day) War.
  • Re. the revolving door at the entrance: scream if you want to go faster.

We hope that these guidelines are a better reflection of life here at Limmuddington Towers, and that this year, for the first time, we are not imposing on the community a hardship which the majority cannot endure.

Enjoy your Limmud Confival!