X Close

Will Uxbridge ever trust again? Boris Johnson has left behind a carnival of conspiracies

Political alienation is everywhere (OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Political alienation is everywhere (OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)


July 19, 2023   7 mins

Uxbridge is Metroland, the paradise at the end of the Metropolitan Line. It is a century-old marketing invention selling the fantasy that, if you got on the Metropolitan Line at Aldgate, and stayed on for an hour, you would alight in an E.M. Forster novel but with superb transport links and affordable housing. No one thinks this now. The Tube station might have a superb art-deco frontage and surviving Georgian relics might dot the High Street — Uxbridge is the ancient market town that London ate — but this is sprawl: concrete, cheap goods, bad food. There are surprising numbers of Spanish and French schoolchildren. I thought they were here by mistake — perhaps they think Uxbridge is Oxbridge — but no: they are staying at Brunel university campus.

Uxbridge and South Ruislip is part of the tongue-shaped Tory stronghold in northwest London. It is a land of highly skilled, self-employed non-graduates. It has a Conservative council, was immune to Blairism, and is so Conservative in spirit it still has a Conservative Club whose carpet is the colour of Margaret Thatcher’s suits. It was Boris Johnson’s constituency (a 7,210 majority on 68.5% turnout in 2019) until he resigned from Parliament, rather than face a by-election as punishment for misleading it.

Johnson may be a coward and a fool, but he is still liked here by the people he mirrors: white, semi-affluent, late middle-aged. I think he might have won if he had stood, and it was as good an opportunity for a personal redemption as any. Uxbridge Woman is close to Essex Man: they forgive him Partygate because they would have done the same. “We love Boris,” a woman says, adding: “He just didn’t care.” She laughs. “He’s down to earth. He’s human.” But he baulked, and into the vacuum he made in Uxbridge and South Ruislip — the vacuum that is his legacy, and his mirror — all the oddities floated in.

The numbers are on a whiteboard outside the Underground station courtesy of Star Sports betting. They have sent a political analyst for the day. He says Labour will win this seat, and, in homage, their activists sweep through the high street with their candidate, Danny Beales, 29, a local councillor who grew up in Ruislip, the child of a single parent. They avoid journalists, and then retire to Wagamama. I see the deputy leader of the Welsh Labour Party browsing a charity shop in a straw hat. I am not so sure about Labour: the only certainty is that voters are volatile and emotional, and Uxbridge Person has a problem with Keir Starmer. Voting is a consumer act now — something generated in the subconscious — and they don’t trust him. He doesn’t have Johnson’s fake authenticity and will to drama: a powerful drug when you are trying to avoid reality. The most common responses to questions about Starmer are “I don’t like him” or “I don’t know”. Johnson, one woman says, “doesn’t bother to bury the bodies”.

The analyst is so sure Labour will win, he is now wondering which of the novelty candidates will do best: there are 17 in all, so many that “mainstream” candidates avoid hustings, for fear of looking like attendees at a politicised fancy dress party. There used to be one or two novelty candidates in any by-election: now there is a glut. Now he is calculating Laurence Fox (Reclaim) versus Count Binface (Count Binface Party). Fox is slightly ahead because he did nine series of Lewis and Binface is mostly on Twitter. Novelty candidates fish in the same pool. The main battle is happening off-scene. I do see the Tory candidate Steve Tuckwell — a former postman, a fact that is presented like a jewel on a velvet cushion — in the Three Tuns Pub, but his press man won’t let me approach him. I stare at him as if he is a flamingo while he holds his pint.

The most devoted novelty candidate is Piers Corbyn of Let London Live. He is Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, and he looks like Albert Einstein made homeless. He parks his blue Vauxhall opposite the station. It has a loudhailer on the roof from which plays a song to the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas”. It substitutes the word Christmas with Genocide (“with every jab you take”). Later, he plays conspiracy-theory rap. I can only think: what happened at a Corbyn childhood Christmas? He is accompanied by a press officer who says he is banned from sleeping rough in Westminster. “I am the candidate the Establishment fear,” Corbyn says, which is not true.

He is opposed to Covid lockdowns and Ulez (ultra-low emission zones, a tax of ÂŁ12.50 a day for non-compliant cars that Sadiq Khan is extending here next month). Corbyn reminds me that he was arrested 16 times for protesting lockdown. He says the Underground is 40 times more polluting than roads. He says that if Sadiq Khan cares about pollution he would shut down the Underground, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant: we need more of it. Corbyn is a constant by Uxbridge station, performing his dark carnival, and the council have their revenge at teatime. They give him a parking ticket.

It is obvious that conspiracism, incubated under Covid, has mainlined in British politics, walking from Facebook to life. This is the first by-election where working-class Tory-leaning women tell me it doesn’t really matter who is in charge. If this is Johnson’s legacy, they don’t yet know it. “Rishi is trying,” says one, “but it’s hard to do a job with your hands tied behind your back. Somebody kicks him down. They’ve already got their person to put in.”

A retired bricklayer tells me the Tories have done nothing wrong; that people are greedy for benefits; that the state can’t do everything for people. I meet another who doesn’t know why he votes Tory but will anyway, like a contraction. Another is sorry that Johnson left: “Who’d have a pandemic?” I find no Tory who is happy he has gone.

I meet raging Labour voters. “They [the Conservatives] are for the little people, not the big people,” says one: he can’t afford to go out after he has paid his rent, and is aghast at Sunak’s wealth. Another thinks the Tories “are idiots”; yet another calls Sunak “Fishy Rishi”, but as a former Liberal Democrat alienated by the coalition government of 2010-15, his main complaint seems to be against Jo Swinson’s wardrobe. He has a resentment against her cardigan: “You do have to look the part. And then she just disappeared like a house of cards collapsed. She just vanished into thin air like AI. Like she never was.” Two young men say they will vote Labour when they can vote — they are 16 — as “we are falling apart now”. They are sophisticated, and despondent. “Everything is going downhill. Every year it just gets worse and worse. Imagine what it be like in ten years. Everything has doubled in price. It’s not very safe. Somebody gets stabbed every day.” They never saw Johnson in the constituency. Then one says what I think is the most profound thing anyone has ever said about him, and he says it with great seriousness: Johnson was a meme.

Then there are the apolitical, the non-voters. One calls himself “helpless. It’s all a game. There is no change. It just rolls on and rolls on. The top people stay at the top.” He is functional, but sounds despairing, as if he carries his sorrow in his pocket. A woman in a Little Miss Trouble T-shirt tells me Starmer “is much of the same thing [to Sunak]. Labour and the Conservatives seem to have meshed together.” Inevitably, I meet someone who thinks Johnson is still prime minister.

In the D2o Boardgame Cafe, the man behind the counter says his clientele “are completely disengaged. This is a Conservative constituency, and we are an LGBTQ+ board game cafe. The younger people are red-leaning, but I don’t know if they are even going to vote.” Like many in the constituency, he is against Ulez; it is cross-party anger that the Tories hope to exploit. “I think anything that uses a fine as a method of discouragement is classist,” he says. “If you can afford a flat in central London, you can afford to pay the Ulez charge. All it is going to do is affect the people who need to work in London but can’t afford to live there.”

I walk the high street with the Rejoin EU candidate Richard Hewison; Uxbridge voted Leave, alongside four other London boroughs and the whole of Essex. We meet two repentant Brexit voters in 30 yards. “I got caught up in the narrative, and me and my whole family voted to leave the EU,” says one man, “in hindsight, a terrible mistake.”

David Simmonds, the MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, is “the candidate’s friend”. He sits in the bar of the Conservative Club, which has a quasi-Italian stone garden: wet, aesthetic Toryism. He looks phlegmatic, calm. The Conservative Council is very popular here, he says and voters are proud that Uxbridge is different from the centre of London (“there are deer in the woods, there are rivers, there are lakes”). Tory voters, he says, are most worried about the tax burden.

I meet Leo Phaure, a business analyst and independent candidate, on the square. His campaign is gaudy. His children are leafleting. “Vote for no-Ulez-Leo,” he tells a man who looks like him. “We send a strong message to the Labour Party that they potentially lose Labour voters in next year’s election. We have got a unique opportunity in this town — no one else has got this opportunity — to send a message to Keir Starmer that we reject Mayor Khan and Ulez.  We send a message that if you still support him in next year’s General Election, you are going to lose London boroughs. You can’t have any policy where you [are] persecuting the pockets of the working man.”

He turns to a bystander and says: “I’ve got nothing to hide, I’m not Danny Beales.” (Beales didn’t turn up at the Brunel University hustings on Thursday). They hate Ulez because they think it is unfair: one couple say their daughter had to sell her car and buy a BMW. “And the buses are rubbish,” says a woman. “My seven-year-old grandson says to me: ‘That’s the bus that lies, Nanny.’” Even public transport is deceitful, and in homage to this fear, Beales now says that Ulez should be delayed.

The thing that unites Uxbridge voters is mistrust. If by-elections are a weathervane, this one points to disconnection, to ennui. Five years ago, a car singing about genocide would be an outlier: something bizarre. Now it feels common. Johnson’s danger was always in his precedent. His unseriousness — his sense of carnival — is toxic. Novelty candidates are all his children.

At dusk, the Star Sports betting white board has changed. It is now wondering which minor candidate will get 5%. As I leave, police surround a woman in pink. She has written “Army and Police Traitors” on a pillar under a cross. She starts to shout, holding her Bible in the air: “I am a homeless with a Bible! In London! Hallelujah!” They handcuff her. Corbyn takes his loud-hailer — it seems attached to him — and accuses them of torture as they take her to the van. He identifies with her sorrow: “I have been arrested
”

I ask a policeman: what is happening? “We didn’t arrest her. She is threatening to kill herself. We can’t just leave her.” He indicated his iPad: “I am telephoning her Mum.” This is Metroland. Anything can happen.


Tanya Gold is a freelance journalist.

TanyaGold1

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

26 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ben Jones
Ben Jones
10 months ago

TL;DR it’s all Boris’s fault, atomisation and despair did not exist before him.
Look, I have little time for Johnson, but journalists like Tanya need to find a new explanation for the state we’re in (hint – it’s perpetual soft-left centrism, but I doubt she’ll ever understand).

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Endless articles vaguely describing Boris as ”unserious”, whatever that means. At least he successfully represented the result of a democratic mandate half of Parliament was trying to overturn.
Were people like Lammy serious when they asserted Brexit supporters were worse than Nazis.
Is middle-class Brexit hysteria ‘serious’?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

” it’s perpetual soft-left centrism, but I doubt she’ll ever understand”
Well, it looks like the Tories will be wiped out in the next election. Time for the party to select real conservatives as MPs and they can govern as true conservatives – once they win in 4/5 years down the road.
You are going to suffer 4 years of Labor but that is the price you have to pay. As they say “no pain, no gain”.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
James 0
James 0
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Out of interest, what does “real conservative” mean to you?

James 0
James 0
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Out of interest, what does “real conservative” mean to you?

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Endless articles vaguely describing Boris as ”unserious”, whatever that means. At least he successfully represented the result of a democratic mandate half of Parliament was trying to overturn.
Were people like Lammy serious when they asserted Brexit supporters were worse than Nazis.
Is middle-class Brexit hysteria ‘serious’?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

” it’s perpetual soft-left centrism, but I doubt she’ll ever understand”
Well, it looks like the Tories will be wiped out in the next election. Time for the party to select real conservatives as MPs and they can govern as true conservatives – once they win in 4/5 years down the road.
You are going to suffer 4 years of Labor but that is the price you have to pay. As they say “no pain, no gain”.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
Ben Jones
Ben Jones
10 months ago

TL;DR it’s all Boris’s fault, atomisation and despair did not exist before him.
Look, I have little time for Johnson, but journalists like Tanya need to find a new explanation for the state we’re in (hint – it’s perpetual soft-left centrism, but I doubt she’ll ever understand).

AC Harper
AC Harper
10 months ago

I am reminded of the Monty Python’s Life of Brian song – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
People seem to delight in pulling Boris Johnson down, to say he has no depth or gravitas. And yet his looking on the bright side of life was a cheerful counter to general misery and despair. The misery and despair often turbo boosted by the media.
The piece about Uxbridge is probably more insightful than most, but I also hear another line from the Python song… “Life’s a Piece of Shit, When You Look at It.” It seems that many candidates major on the pieces of gristle and forget that the voters would welcome some positivity.
Altogether now.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

This:

Johnson’s danger was always in his precedent. His unseriousness — his sense of carnival — is toxic.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

This:

Johnson’s danger was always in his precedent. His unseriousness — his sense of carnival — is toxic.

AC Harper
AC Harper
10 months ago

I am reminded of the Monty Python’s Life of Brian song – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
People seem to delight in pulling Boris Johnson down, to say he has no depth or gravitas. And yet his looking on the bright side of life was a cheerful counter to general misery and despair. The misery and despair often turbo boosted by the media.
The piece about Uxbridge is probably more insightful than most, but I also hear another line from the Python song… “Life’s a Piece of Shit, When You Look at It.” It seems that many candidates major on the pieces of gristle and forget that the voters would welcome some positivity.
Altogether now.

David McKee
David McKee
10 months ago

A good, evocative piece from Tanya.

Ennui is right. People think it doesn’t matter who you vote for, nothing will change.

I can’t think of any government in power during the pandemic which is popular enough to win an election, and ours is no different. Does Kier ‘lockdown’ Starmer have any better ideas? Nope, and it will take the voters six months of a Labour government to rumble him.

Politics will be interesting for the rest of this decade.

Bob Downing
Bob Downing
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Whilst agreeing almost totally, no, politics will not be “interesting”, or at least not in its outcomes. Our District Council now has not a single Tory councillor, but the triumphant Greens ditched the LibDems as coalition partners, so we’re left with an even more dysfunctional authority than before. Ditto the Town Council, and the County is – like most – too impoverished to function. So Uxbridge is likely to be repeated nationally, and that isn’t going to produce anything beneficial. It really doesn’t matter, because there’s no sign of any determined political group with a remotely credible manifesto or who any sane person would actually trust.The latest report on drinking, bullying and harassment at Westminster proves that “they” have learned nothing – except perhaps that we’re all fools for having elected them, so they may as well make merry as the boat sinks.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Bob Downing

In a democracy people get the politicians they deserve.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
Bob Downing
Bob Downing
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’ve never believed that, probably because I’ve never been convinced that I (or anyone else) has ever lived in what is commonly (without the erudite commentaries) believed to be a democracy. Certainly neither I nor those living around me, have ever “deserved” the succession of politicians we’ve ended up with! OK – so we don’t have democracy. QED?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Bob Downing

If you are right (UK is not a democracy) …well you deserve it. Revolt or stop bi***ing!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Bob Downing

If you are right (UK is not a democracy) …well you deserve it. Revolt or stop bi***ing!

Bob Downing
Bob Downing
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’ve never believed that, probably because I’ve never been convinced that I (or anyone else) has ever lived in what is commonly (without the erudite commentaries) believed to be a democracy. Certainly neither I nor those living around me, have ever “deserved” the succession of politicians we’ve ended up with! OK – so we don’t have democracy. QED?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Bob Downing

In a democracy people get the politicians they deserve.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

A good, evocative piece from Tanya.
I agree. I’m an American and this piece is too deep into UK local politics for me, but her writing is engaging. Click on her picture and you’ll see all her Unherd articles. I’d recommend her “Life on the Cornish Breadline” piece. It’s about two years old but has stayed with me. Great writing.
She should lobby Unherd for an expenses-paid trip to San Francisco and give us her take on that city.

Last edited 10 months ago by J Bryant
Ben Jones
Ben Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’ll save you the trouble – “It’s all Boris Johnson’s fault”

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

She comes across as a snob. As an American you cannot smell it, but as an Englishman I can.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
michael harris
michael harris
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Indeed it’s never easy to sense the caste lines in other cultures. They are pre-verbal, almost baked in at birth.

James 0
James 0
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m an Englishman and I don’t find her snobbish. I think you find what you look for.

michael harris
michael harris
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Indeed it’s never easy to sense the caste lines in other cultures. They are pre-verbal, almost baked in at birth.

James 0
James 0
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m an Englishman and I don’t find her snobbish. I think you find what you look for.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’ll save you the trouble – “It’s all Boris Johnson’s fault”

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

She comes across as a snob. As an American you cannot smell it, but as an Englishman I can.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Bob Downing
Bob Downing
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Whilst agreeing almost totally, no, politics will not be “interesting”, or at least not in its outcomes. Our District Council now has not a single Tory councillor, but the triumphant Greens ditched the LibDems as coalition partners, so we’re left with an even more dysfunctional authority than before. Ditto the Town Council, and the County is – like most – too impoverished to function. So Uxbridge is likely to be repeated nationally, and that isn’t going to produce anything beneficial. It really doesn’t matter, because there’s no sign of any determined political group with a remotely credible manifesto or who any sane person would actually trust.The latest report on drinking, bullying and harassment at Westminster proves that “they” have learned nothing – except perhaps that we’re all fools for having elected them, so they may as well make merry as the boat sinks.

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

A good, evocative piece from Tanya.
I agree. I’m an American and this piece is too deep into UK local politics for me, but her writing is engaging. Click on her picture and you’ll see all her Unherd articles. I’d recommend her “Life on the Cornish Breadline” piece. It’s about two years old but has stayed with me. Great writing.
She should lobby Unherd for an expenses-paid trip to San Francisco and give us her take on that city.

Last edited 10 months ago by J Bryant
David McKee
David McKee
10 months ago

A good, evocative piece from Tanya.

Ennui is right. People think it doesn’t matter who you vote for, nothing will change.

I can’t think of any government in power during the pandemic which is popular enough to win an election, and ours is no different. Does Kier ‘lockdown’ Starmer have any better ideas? Nope, and it will take the voters six months of a Labour government to rumble him.

Politics will be interesting for the rest of this decade.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
10 months ago

Johnson may be a coward and a fool”. C’mon Tanya, that’s just sloppy. He shows little sign of cowardice – sticking his journalistic and political neck out many times – and he is mostly certainly not a fool. There are many things that can be said about him, some very derogatory and true – he is not as honest as he should be, and not a great communicator with colleagues, and not clubbable, and a big projects/big spender type. He is hopeless at organising things but so are many politicians who usually know it and surround themselves with gifted people, as did Johnson when Mayor.
Indeed the mystery is how he has fallen apart since his electoral triumph and remarriage. Maybe he is not fit for the top job but who the hell is, in modern politics?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

” he is not as honest as he should be”
The man has been described as a pathological/serial liar by the people that know him best (Max Hastings, Simon Heffer, etc).
His own children believe is an a**hole!

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
James 0
James 0
10 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Johnson’s entire career was one big act of cowardice. As Foreign Secretary he was notorious for basically running away when the going got tough.
The man was in the public sphere for two decades and I’m still not sure what he actually believed, other than he should be in power, get all the glory and farm out the hard work to others. He was vacant, undisciplined, and entitled. He was basically David Cameron but with a better media performance.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

” he is not as honest as he should be”
The man has been described as a pathological/serial liar by the people that know him best (Max Hastings, Simon Heffer, etc).
His own children believe is an a**hole!

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
James 0
James 0
10 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Johnson’s entire career was one big act of cowardice. As Foreign Secretary he was notorious for basically running away when the going got tough.
The man was in the public sphere for two decades and I’m still not sure what he actually believed, other than he should be in power, get all the glory and farm out the hard work to others. He was vacant, undisciplined, and entitled. He was basically David Cameron but with a better media performance.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
10 months ago

Johnson may be a coward and a fool”. C’mon Tanya, that’s just sloppy. He shows little sign of cowardice – sticking his journalistic and political neck out many times – and he is mostly certainly not a fool. There are many things that can be said about him, some very derogatory and true – he is not as honest as he should be, and not a great communicator with colleagues, and not clubbable, and a big projects/big spender type. He is hopeless at organising things but so are many politicians who usually know it and surround themselves with gifted people, as did Johnson when Mayor.
Indeed the mystery is how he has fallen apart since his electoral triumph and remarriage. Maybe he is not fit for the top job but who the hell is, in modern politics?

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
10 months ago

It may be just me, but…was this written by Rick of the Young Ones?
The language selection is always revealing. “Hate!” “Coward!” “Fool!” Tories exploiting “anger” against “ULEZ”.
“Brexit Voters”. I got caught up in the narrative, and me and my whole family voted to leave the EU,” says one man, “in hindsight, a terrible mistake.”
Tanya accepts their repentance and forgives them their sins of voting the wrong way. Straight out of the Alastair Campbell lexicon of left-wing offence and silencing of any murmur of opposition.
Repent and convert, or be forever branded racist or like Hitler.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

She is reporting on what someone said.
Either it is true or she is lying.
His feelings are just as legitimate as yours.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

She is reporting on what someone said.
Either it is true or she is lying.
His feelings are just as legitimate as yours.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Smith
Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
10 months ago

It may be just me, but…was this written by Rick of the Young Ones?
The language selection is always revealing. “Hate!” “Coward!” “Fool!” Tories exploiting “anger” against “ULEZ”.
“Brexit Voters”. I got caught up in the narrative, and me and my whole family voted to leave the EU,” says one man, “in hindsight, a terrible mistake.”
Tanya accepts their repentance and forgives them their sins of voting the wrong way. Straight out of the Alastair Campbell lexicon of left-wing offence and silencing of any murmur of opposition.
Repent and convert, or be forever branded racist or like Hitler.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Surely the late Sir John Betjeman would have been a better choice for ‘Metroland’than E.M.Forster, OM,CH?

Otherwise a pithy appraisal of the state of British politics, thank you.

eg: “Gaily* into Ruislip Gardens
Runs the red electric train,
With a thousand Ta’s and Pardon’s
Daintily alights Elaine
..”

(*For modern readers “old’ English usage, which does NOT mean that train was packed with homosexuals, as some may think.)

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

as per Betjeman, it always fascinated that so many of the ” Ooh what will the neighbours think” Pooter petit Bourgeois who call traffic jams ” traffic preserves” use ” toilet stationary” call shampoo ” fauxstool” and have ” french fries” rather than chips on their shoulders about Etonians, ever liked, let alone worshipped KS scoundrel Boris?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

It was a mirage, but he certainly seemed an improvement on May, Gove or Cameron.
However that wouldn’t be very hard would it?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

It was a mirage, but he certainly seemed an improvement on May, Gove or Cameron.
However that wouldn’t be very hard would it?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

as per Betjeman, it always fascinated that so many of the ” Ooh what will the neighbours think” Pooter petit Bourgeois who call traffic jams ” traffic preserves” use ” toilet stationary” call shampoo ” fauxstool” and have ” french fries” rather than chips on their shoulders about Etonians, ever liked, let alone worshipped KS scoundrel Boris?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Surely the late Sir John Betjeman would have been a better choice for ‘Metroland’than E.M.Forster, OM,CH?

Otherwise a pithy appraisal of the state of British politics, thank you.

eg: “Gaily* into Ruislip Gardens
Runs the red electric train,
With a thousand Ta’s and Pardon’s
Daintily alights Elaine
..”

(*For modern readers “old’ English usage, which does NOT mean that train was packed with homosexuals, as some may think.)

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Roland Jeffery
Roland Jeffery
10 months ago

A brisk and drole piece of writing. But I am not clear that there is a political take-away beyond “anything can happen” – which doesnt get us very far, in Uxbridge or wider debates.

Roland Jeffery
Roland Jeffery
10 months ago

A brisk and drole piece of writing. But I am not clear that there is a political take-away beyond “anything can happen” – which doesnt get us very far, in Uxbridge or wider debates.

Douglas H
Douglas H
10 months ago

“Johnson doesn’t bother to bury the bodies”.
Wonderful. Classic quote!
Thanks, Tanya.

Douglas H
Douglas H
10 months ago

“Johnson doesn’t bother to bury the bodies”.
Wonderful. Classic quote!
Thanks, Tanya.