Posted on Sep 09, 2019
It seems that never a day passes without some announcement from Westminster or Brussels (usually Westminster) that reminds of us the delightful Ealing Comedies of yesteryear, writes Gary Cartwright.
In fact many of the leading players in this farce are reminiscent of the great actors, and the characters they played, in those golden years of British comedy.
Even the plots are familiar to us. Passport to Pimlico, in which the citizens of that district of South West London - actually very close to the UK Parliament - declare independence on the basis of an ancient document giving title of the land to the Duke of Burgundy, was surely the template for Brexit. Think UKIP, think Magna Carta.
I once witnessed a UKIP canvasser, during the 2006 Bromley by-election, in which Farage was standing, yelling at a somewhat frightened and very elderly lady on her doorstep that the EU was illegal because of Magna Carta. We'll miss UKIP: the Brexit Party isn't nearly as funny, although Anne Widdecombe is always worth watching.
Boris Johnson, meanwhile, is surely the male incarnation of the wonderful Margaret Rutherford, best known as the headmistress of St. Trinians School.
They bumble, they wisecrack, they even share more than a passing resemblance.
Speaking of St. Trinians, Nigel Farage is absolutely the reincarnation of George Cole's wonderful Flash 'Arry, the gambling, drinking, skirt chasing Teddy Boy, who Cole drew heavily on when he gave the world one of the greatest characters in British comedy, Arthur Daley.
Interestingly, Farage is known by many for his brown camel hair coat, which is seemingly identical to that worn by Daley, and the clapped out Volvo that he drove before he became inexplicably wealthy (I have yet to meet a single journalist who believes the story about where the money to fund Farage's house in Chelsea, as well as all his private security, really came from).
Arthur Daley, of course, sold clapped out cars (and not a single police detective or tax inspector ever believed the stories about where his money really came from).
Just to really push the coincidence, there was an episode of Minder in which Daley was suspected of doing business with the Russians, although he was never invited to appear on Russia Today, which is rather a shame.
Individual actors in the Brexit farce appear to be vying to outdo one another.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, speaking on the BBC’s Question Time show last week delighted panelists and viewers alike when she unveiled the Labour Party's latest policy on Brexit. She plans to renegotiate the current deal - seemingly ignoring the fact that the EU has said it will not renegotiate - then put the new deal to the people in another referendum. The Labour Party will then campaign against the deal that it has just negotiated!
When questioned further on this, Ms. Thornberry appeared to be at a loss for words, much like the several million viewers watching this display of incoherence. It would be funny if it were not for the fact of her position: in the unlikely event of a Labour government, this woman would be in charge of Britain's foreign affairs.
Earlier this week we heard that whilst Boris Johnson is required to write to the EU requesting yet another extension to the Brexit deadline, there is nothing to stop him writing a second letter requesting that the first one be ignored. This will remind many readers of the Pantomimes of their youth, "Oh yes he will!" "Oh no he won't." "Oh Yes he will..."
Whilst not exactly dripping credibility, Jeremy Corbyn remains a player in all of this, although we expect to see him exit stage left shortly. Having spent two years demanding a general election, last night the old Marxist and his party again blocked Boris Johnson's attempt to call such an election.
"Look out, he's behind you!" "Oh no he isn't." "Oh yes he is..."
The night descended into violence as scuffles broke out in front of speaker John Bercow's chair. Its not often we see such luminaries as Bela Lugosi impersonator Jacob Rees-Mogg squaring up to a bunch of former student activists in such opulent surroundings.
Whilst watching this I wasn't sure what I wanted to see the most: the arrival of the Keystone cops, or a crocodile stealing the sausages.
It is tempting to finish off by writing that this would all be hilarious if it were not so serious, but the simple fact is that it is indeed the best show in town. If this all serves any purpose other than to entertain us, I struggle to see what that might be.
We can only hope that the suspension of parliament does not deter these clowns from entertaining us with more of the same. I strongly suspect that it won't.
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