Friday, May 20, 2016

In, Out, Off With Their Heads

Watching the BBC's 'Wars of the Roses' Shakespeare adaptions unfold, I inevitably find myself making a mental comparison with the unfolding debate surrounding the impending EU referendum.  Both chronicle the gradual breakdown of old alliances as the ruling classes fall upon each other and competing leaders struggle for supremacy.  Most specifically, it is the disarray within the Tory party which seems, in my mind at least, to most closely parallel the conflict for the crown between the competing factions of the Plantagenet family.  You can't help but feel that Boris Johnson, self-styled 'leader' of the the 'Leave' campaign sees himself as a Richard of York figure, denied what he believes is his birth right to be leader of the Tory party by the usurper Cameron.   Speaking of whom, there's definitely a touch of Henry VI about Dave - weak, prevaricating and prone to falling into fugue states when he becomes completely incapable of governing.  Sadly for Dave though, he doesn't have a wife like Margaret of Anjou who was prepared to take up the fight against the Yorkists whilst her husband was mentally incapacitated.

Of course, the analogy between the EU conflict within the Tory party and the Wars of the Roses falls apart when we come to the issue of beheadings.  The Wars of the Roses saw quite a lot of these, with various nobles on both sides being decapitated and having their heads displayed on spikes when they ran afoul of the rival party.  One can only live in hope that Boris Johnson meets the same fate as Richard of York, his severed head adorning traitor's gate.  (After which his sons took up the cause, guaranteeing another couple of decades of chaos - could Michael Gove be a modern Edward IV and Nigel Farage Richard III - the crook backed evil Shakesperean caricature, obviously?).  Maybe we could make it a condition of the EU referendum that the losers have to agree to be executed?  On the basis of current polls we could be rid of Johnson, Farage and Gove in one fell swoop.  And if it goes the other way, those of us supporting 'Remain' will at least have the consolation of seeing Cameron and George Osborne put to the sword.

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