The Egyptian backstop: a Pesach special

Please note that this blog post is going to contain a lot of predictable jokes, frequently but not exclusively connected to the Brexodus. Sorry in advance, but in my defence, what else was I supposed to do?

Pesach’s arrival tomorrow, though later in the secular year than usual, is particularly well-timed as, turning on BBC Parliament, we see the spectre of innocent well-meaning people being abused by whips. After a year dominated by the Brexodus and by promises of being, next year, in a country redeemed, how pleasing to think that we’re cleverly outwitting starvation by rationing our own diets and selflessly selling off our staple food.

Meanwhile, the distastefully-named Grand Wizards of Brexit have been talking late into the night about their dreams of a no-deal crash-out… talking so late into the night, indeed, that eventually their advisors came to them to announce (Too predictable. Move on. -Ed.)

Now, the day before Passover, Jews up and down the country are making jokes about the Labour party leaning to the left and thinking about how to incorporate four Meaningful Votes into their family seder – perhaps one after each cup?

There’s also a great sense of communal relief at the postponement of Brexit until Halloween. Stockpiling food has been stressful enough; imagine having to stockpile twice to cater for both a Pesach and a non-Pesach Brexit…

To take your minds, for a few moments, off the doom and gloom and uncertainty, why not sit back, dunk some karpas and dig into this year’s edition of Pesach News:

So how about that. Meanwhile, don’t miss out on the list of suggested topical seder plate additions below.

Y’tziat Ecuador

“Could I pass for Moses yet and sneak out of here?”

It’s not just the Israelites who are marking newfound freedom this week. Everyone’s favourite internet troll Julian Assange (pictured left) has come forth from the confines of his room in the Ecuadorian embassy, after President Moreno kicked him out with a mighty leg and an outstretched foot.

Mr Assange managed to get himself sent out into the wilderness of Knightsbridge by wreaking ten plagues on his hosts, including ingratitude, skateboarding, dirty protest and unwashed dishes. A sea of journalists parted to let him enter the Promised Police Van. There are probably some other parallels too. That’s it really.

It would have been enough

Sing along to a well-known tune by clicking the play button below:

If May had triggered Article 50,
Only triggered Article 50
And hadn’t made an Irish backstop –

Chorus: Day-day-einu, day-day-einu, day-day-einu, dayeinu dayeinu dayeinu (x2)

If May had made an Irish backstop,
Only made an Irish backstop
And hadn’t ruled out revocation –


If May had ruled out revocation,
Only ruled out revocation
And hadn’t promised resignation –

If May had promised resignation,
Only promised resignation
We’d all have been truly delighted –


Of course, as anyone who’s read the Book of Numbers (and frankly, who hasn’t?) knows, the fleeing Israelites grumbled against Moses and found it difficult to agree on what should happen next. So really, they could have benefited from some indicative votes…

But once they decided what to do with their newfound freedom, the next big decision was: how do we celebrate it? So…

Beefing up your seder plate

We’ve all heard of the tradition of adding an orange to the seder plate, to remember those margnialised for their gender identity or sexuality – or adding shoelaces (for refugees), an olive (for peace between Israelis and Palestinians), coffee beans (for fair trade) etc. Personally, I like to add a pomegranate to recall the civil disobedience of Shifra and Puah, the Egyptian midwives who saved Hebrew babies.

But this year, Gabrielquotes is delighted to present a more topical list of potential seder plate additions for Pesach 2019…

  • The shank bone of a Dover sole to represent the parting of the English Channel in readiness for a no-deal Brexit
  • A cactus whose resilience in a hostile environment reminds us of Chuka Umunna and The Independent Group
  • A burger to celebrate Luciana’s brave stand against anti-Semitism
  • A chocolate teapot to remind us that Chris Grayling is still a member of the Cabinet
  • A bunch of rocket to mourn the passing of Israel’s moon mission
  • A date to recall the coming into force last year of the General Date Protection Regulation
  • £350m in cash to remind us of the claim that the NHS would receive an extr (Yes, I think we get the gist of this one. -Ed.)
  • A cravat to mark the first tied vote in the House of Commons since 1993 (Move on. -Ed.)


Our blog post is now completed. We’ve sung the songs, cracked the jokes and eaten the matzah in the background that it took me ages to remember how to do because it’s been a year since I last did it. How fortunate we are to live in a free society where we can take the proverbial out of powerful people and institutions without fearing attack, prosecution or sanctions. Next year in West Jerusalem! Next year in a world redeemed. And preferably in the European Union.

The four sons (and other actors)

So, as the afikomen of time is found by the overexcited child of destiny, and as the karpas of fate is dipped into the salt water of eternity, it appears to be the end of the blog post.
In this week’s episode, Pesach News was produced by the Biblical Broadcasting Corporation and read by Gabriel Webber. Dayeinu was given a special Theresa May theme, while the indicative votes were held by Pharaoh. This was an Gabrielquotes production.

2 Jeremy 1:13 (a Purim special)

Three years ago, this blog’s Purim special featured the little-known Book of Jeremy, a witty parody of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Unfortunately, times haven’t changed as much as they should of, so this year’s Purim special is also a witty parody of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (but perhaps a wittier one). It comes from the Second Book of Jeremy. Ready? Then grab your phylacteries and let’s get started.

1 It happened in the days of Corbyn. 2 King Corbyn, who reigned over the many constituencies of Labour, from BAME to Fabia, held a banquet for all his MPs: Shadow Cabinet and backbench alike. The banquet was a lavish banquet, with meat and drink in abundance, and vegetables from the king’s own royal allotment.

3 When the banquet entered its third year, King Corbyn sent for Queen Luciashti, and demanded, “Display your loyalty to your king, before the kingly court and all my MPs.”

4 But Queen Luciashti refused to show loyalty at the king’s command, and the king was greatly incensed. 5 He turned to his closest advisors, who were called Aboth, Mekdonal, Mekluski and four other amusing foreign-sounding names like what you might expect of people with a darkish tinge, and sought their guidance.

6 “What,” he asked, “shall be done according to the Rule Book for Queen Luciashti, who has refused to show loyalty to me?” 7 Thereupon the advisors replied, “Queen Luciashti has committed an offence not only against you, sire, but against all the hard-working people of the land. For they voted for an MP who would show unthinking obedience to her king. 8 You must banish her; it is the only fitting punishment.”

9 So King Corbyn returned to the banqueting hall, where the merrymaking and eating and drinking was still in full swing, and ordered Queen Luciashti, “You must leave this party.” (Do you see what I did there? -God.)

10 Queen Luciashti went forth from the palace and joined the Independent Group, and the king’s most loyal courtiers published parchments mocking her and jeering at her treachery and Zionism and material wealth and stereotypical hook nose, 11 but they’re not anti-Semitic because she’s just a bad MP and that’s the only reason they’re attacking her they’re allowed to criticise anyone they want she’s not immune just because she’s Jewish what are you going to do set the Mossad on them???!

12 And dispatches were sent to every province and constituency in the land, decreeing that MPs should show unquestioning obedience to their king, and that there had been no perceptible rise in the number of complaints submitted against Haman since King Corbyn’s reign began. 13 To be continued…

There are some special minhagim to be followed during public readings of the Second Book of Jeremy:

  • The event must not, repeat not, be referred to as a megillah reading, for fear of confusion with Meg Hillier MP.
  • Members of Momentum should cheer whenever they hear the name “Corbyn” and boo whenever they hear the name “Luciashti”. Members of the Independent Group should do the opposite.
  • Verses 1-13 should be leyned in Eichah trop.
  • Anonymous trolls on Twitter should use noisemakers to drown out any mention of anti-Semitism.
  • Erm…
  • That’s it.

Shamima Jenga

Haven’t you already tried the new game that’s taken the world by storm? It’s Shamima Jenga!

The rules are simple: each country, in its turn, carefully removes one nation’s citizenship from a 19-year-old victim of grooming and her newborn baby. The important thing is to go first: once you’ve removed your citizenship, it’s Bangladesh’s (or whoever’s turn), and the tower becomes their problem. Whichever country happens to be last to remove its citizenship has international law fall down on top of it!

What fun.

Labour investigated

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced that it is going to be looking into Labour, following complaints that the party is riddled with anti-Semitism.

The press and social media reaction to this announcement has been particularly patchy due to confusion about who or what the Equality and Human Rights Commission actually is, and how it differs from other things with similar initials. As a public service, therefore, Gabrielquotes hereby presents:

  • EHRC – a public authority that promotes equality and human rights
  • EHIC – some ghastly thing that gives British people free healthcare abroad; we’ll be well shot of that after Brexit
  • ECHR – a human rights treaty that means we can’t deport foreign criminals with pet cats; people who don’t understand the difference between the EU and the CoE think we’ll be well shot of this after Brexit
  • EHPA – a European organisation that promotes public health; we’ll be well shot of that after Brexit
  • EHEH – a Dutch airport; we’ll be well shot of that after Brexit
  • EHJE – an equation that reformulates general relativity in such a way that it resembles quantum theory within a semiclassical approximation, named after three foreign-sounding people of whom we’ll be well shot after Brexit
  • EERM…
  • That’s it.

Westminster hots up

Exciting news from Parliament as the MPs are faced with the first ever vote of no competence in both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. If the House of Commons decides that neither senior politican has any competence, they will probably actually do very little of substance but maybe a few of them will drift into a vague centrist grouping that isn’t really planning to stand for election or do anything worthwhile.

One of the reasons for this new use of Parliamentary time is that Speaker Bercow has refused to allow the government’s proposed timetable:

Meanwhile, Labour Party Headquarters, which has been busily calling for MPs defecting from the party to resign and trigger by-elections on the basis that they misled their constituents, has denied that the same reasoning should apply to Jeremy Corbyn. A spokesperson said: “At no time prior to his election as Leader did Mr Corbyn claim to be qualified for the job.”

In other news, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who has called for a “mammoth listening exercise”, has been forced to admit that this will be impossible because the last mammoth actually died out like hundreds of years ago.

One small schlep for man

Everyone’s been wildly excited at the launch of Israel’s first mission to the moon. With the motto For a Crater Israel, it’s unclear where the rocket landed but surely no Israeli craft would be allowed to park in the Sea of Tranquility.

On which topic, a rather interesting letter appeared in the Jewish Chronicle last week…

Have a nice Purim

Credits (ie a documentary hypothesis)

So, as the graggor of time is waved by the overexcited child of destiny, and as the hamantaschen of fate turns into the sugar high of eternity, it appears to be the end of the blog post.
In this week’s episode, the Book of Jeremy was handed down at Mount Sinai. The Israeli moon mission was recorded in the Book of Numbers (Parashat Nasa). Theresa May was played by almost everyone, and it’s hard to have any sympathy for her. And Shamima Begum became a pawn to Sajid Javid’s leadership bid. This was an Gabrielquotes production.