Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The art of invenctive

Alistair Darling: Brown's minions unleashed forces of hell on me... yes, yes, but it's hardly news to anyone who cares about these matters. To those that don't, it'll make little difference (bar another dimming of the prospects of them voting for Brown and co).

Still, it's not a bad line in invective - a seemingly dead sheep baring his fangs. But it falls a long way short of a truly magisterial denunciation of an utterly despised and discredited regime. Shelly's Masque of Anarchy is something of a gold standard in this regard. It was written in the wake of the Peterloo Massacre .

Authoritarian and nasty as the current shower are, really they had nothing on Lord Liverpool's regime which, in the midst of the economic and social distress that followed the Napoleonic wars, viewed the majority of the population as the enemy within. (Although it did run up a fairly ruinous deficit and was pretty keen on detaining people without trial. I bet Sidmouth would have loved ID cards too).

Whelan, Prescott and Balls visit the Observer's offices yesterday.


Still, the two aren't really comparable and, yes, Liverpool and co were Tories (that party has a repressive streak embedded deep in its DNA). It's the diabolic invective which that government provoked that really interests me. I doubt any of today's politicos or hacks could manage anything like this.

I met Murder on the way -
He had a mask like Castlereagh -
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed the human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.

Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

Castlereagh was so unpopular that when he died (after cutting his throat because he feared being implicated in a gay sex scandal), his funeral was interspersed by frequent cheers and jeers from the mob. I doubt that even G Brown could manage that. Balls might, I suppose.

Other political news: 7% swing to Gang of Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Jacqui Smith projected to lose seat to Whore of Babylon. New Jerusalem cancelled due to budget cuts. British public again fail to rise like lions after slumber. Hades Central: Con gain.

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