I drove over to Monflanquin for a quietly delicious lunch with two old muckers today. Linda made Shepherd’s Pie (with Heinz tomato ketchup on tap) followed by an apple tart. Nick opened a bottle of demi-sec Saumur fizz to go with the nibbles. I’m going to buy some: not too sweet and very low acidity, it represents astonishing value for money and zero heartburn. There was no ginger beer or lashings of cream, but it was terrific. We all – coming from entirely different standpoints – agreed that the euro was a bloody disaster, that Greece was being bullied, and that Varoufakis rhetoric minus only the balls was wearing a bit thin. There also seemed no difficulty in agreeing that Herr Schäuble is very possibly an escapee Camp Guard bit-actor from The Great Escape.
Later in the afternoon (it’s been a tediously grey day splattered with rain) Nick spotted a massive flock of Crane gathering for their annual Spring migration north. We estimated there were maybe 250 of them up there, squeaking and circling in what French rural myth dubs ‘The call of lost souls’.
They circle and squawk in this manner to attract others of their species obeying the same factory-wired command to head for pastures colder. Go figure…it wouldn’t be my way. But to watch this gathering of the clans is a privilege: twenty or thirty more at a time fly in, flap about, and then form V-shapes. I imagined that one of their number might be Bonnie Prince Charlie, and that by tonight they’d be invading England in order to do away with the Sassenach enemy.
After I’d bidden my friends farewell, driving back towards Cancon I saw another regiment of these huge birds heading towards the main body of the Crane Barmy Army. It does make me think every year about exactly what unknown sense they use to connect – and how much more important such a discovery might be to the future of Homo sapiens than derivatives of paddy field futures, and their role in the financial bankruptcy of Western supermarkets selling fragrant Basmati rice. But don’t get me started.
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What are we to do about ATory syndrome? It is an epidemic affecting the image of the British Conservative Party as never before, and nobody seems to know why this might be. Well…that said, there are a few clues here and there: Boris Johnson, Michael Fallon, Jeremy Hunt, George Osborne and so forth. But twas ever thus – and so it fails to explain why the current outbreak of ATory syndrome has reached pandemic proportions.
Perhaps it has something to do with the ease with which ATory syndrome is passed on, and the distinct lack of guile among those infected when it comes to hiding their diseased nature . Either way, the examples below provide an up-to-the-minute, updated, upgraded and generally upward rising helicopter overview of the nature of this crippling political illness.
Thus, while it has long been possible for the Conservative Press to laud a Tory, no other section of the media space has as yet been able to reform a Tory. And even though the Guardian finds it an easy task to condemn a Tory and at times damn a Tory, very few journalists, books, experiences or facts have ever managed to inform a Tory. Indeed, only the Daily Mail has ever managed, on a consistent basis, to confirm a Tory in his or her opinion that the Conservative Party has a Divine Right to rise from the dead in order to Lord it over the oiks. And in that context, it seems much easier these days to sign a Tory up to the task of corrupting civil servants.
However, recent mutations of ATory suggest that letters have been jumped in order to allow infection of a new species of criticism. So it is today that it seems increasingly plausible to accuse a Tory, assimilate a Tory into UKip, conserve a Tory in amber, console a Tory about losing his seat, declare a Tory mad, or defame a Tory about brown envelopes and taxi emissions.
Recent field research suggests one might even be able to accuse a Chancellor of being hallucinaTory, a Health Secretary of being predaTory, and a Prime Minister of being masturbaTory.
Thus far, however, science remains unable to vindicate a Tory.