I am no good at singing or – for that matter – dancing, so there is no obvious reason why the song “Pop! Goes the Weasel!” came to my mind when I learnt from the radio that Michael Gove had confessed to using cocaine in his young days as a journalist. I had not heard the song for a good 50 years and had trouble remembering the words.
It then struck me that, if sung with a slight change in wording, it could provide a fine way of highlighting the ludicrous but disturbing situation in which we discover that at least half of the people vying to serve as Tory party leader admit to taking drugs. Maybe, when they are in the company of any of the candidates, whether drug-using or ‘clean’, those of us with half-decent voices could start singing:
Pot! goes the Weasel|
Half a gram of tuppeny Coke.
Half a gram of Ganja.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pot! Goes the Weasel!
Whether in its original wording or these new words, the song is nonsensical but it is catchy. If sung widely – and loudly – when any of the candidates appear in public to stake their claim to be the best person to run our country. this would help to remind people that we are witnessing one of the most absurd events in British politics in recent times.
We are faced with the spectacle of a prime minister sitting in 10 Downing Street watching – presumably with amazement – a circus of her former colleagues, several of whom had ganged up to oust her as party leader, now vying with each other to replace her. None is honest enough to admit that, over the past 3 years, we have learnt that any Brexit deal will be self-harming for the country.
While it is clearly legitimate for a party to choose its own next leader, it seems all wrong that whoever is chosen has a right to assume that he or she automatically becomes Britain’s next Prime Minister. The Conservative party could not have maintained a majority in the present parliament without the support of the Democratic Unionist Party which was shamelessly bought with sleight-of-hand dashing out of public funds – and will presumably repeat the same deal.
One would have thought that a government that has failed – three times – to gain parliamentary approval for the single most important piece of draft legislation that it has put forward in 3 years should gracefully admit defeat and accept that it has forfeited its right to govern us.
The greatest absurdity of all is that, in spite of our pride in our democratic institutions, our next aspiring prime minister will ultimately be chosen by just 160,000 paid-up members of a single party which has been deliberatly infiltrated in the past two years by members of other parties on the extreme right. It seems most unlikely under these circumstances that a party leader will emerge who even has the backing of the rank and file of Tory voters.
The candidates’ Coke and Ganja problems may be there, but they are dwarfed by the apparent flaws in the current Tory leader selection process.