Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 4 September 2016
I will be asking questions
Right, that's it. I am no longer going to show any support for Jeremy Corbyn at all. He has - through his incessant mouthpiece, Diane Abbott - called for a ban on after-work drinks in the pub. Next thing you know, he will be doing an Oliver Cromwell and banning Christmas.
Corbyn is a Tee-Totaller, so this decree means nothing to him. The state of British politics today means that we have a choice of him on one end of the spectrum and Nigel Farage or his successor on the other. It's enough to drive you to drink.
It is the 350th aniversary of The Great Fire of London, and they have been re-reading Pepys's diaries on the event. I was reminded that London Cabbies have not changed in hundreds of years, and used to have rants like mine above ever since private hire was introduced to the City.
He persuaded a waterman (London transport was mainly by conveyance on the Thames in a row-boat) to take him up river at the height of the fire, but only by paying double fare. Something else which hasn't changed.
During the trip, the waterman put foward the conspiracy theory that the fire was started by the Dutch, the French, the Papists, or all three, and would not be convinced that it began in a baker's shop in Pudding Lane due to an untended oven.
Whenever anyone asks me which period of history I would like to be re-born in, I always answer 'post-plague (and post-Cromwell) 17th century England' - i.e. the second half of the 17th century.
Everything was in transition in those Restoration days of enlightenment, but the old magic was still in place alongside the new science, and you could still bump into the King out for a stroll in St James Park.
It really shows something when you learn that King Charles the Second - on hearing that many home-owners refused to allow their doomed houses to be pulled down to make fire-breaks in the city - went into town with the Duke of York, payed the home-owners compensation in coin, rolled up their sleeves and began pulling down houses themselves, alongside ordinary members of the public. That is true kingship.
The historian Dr Lucy Worsley was recently asked which period of history she would prefer to be born in, and she lamely answered, 'Any time after the invention of anaesthetic'. What kind of anadine world must she live in?
Which period of history would you like to be born in?