Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lord Bonkers' introduction to the new Liberator Songbook

Three years ago tonight I was in New York. A year ago I was in Manchester. But this evening finds me in Market Harborough.

Anyway,here is the foreword to new Liberator songbook that my fellow Liberal Democrats will be using at the Conference Glee Club this evening.

Bonkers Hall
Tel: Rutland 7

Risselty-rosselty, hey, pomposity 
Nickety nackety noo, noo, noo.

There is no denying it: the Scots have a way with a lyric. That is why I was delighted when I heard that the Liberal Democrat Conference was to take place in Glasgow this year. And when I heard it will take place in Glasgow next year too… Well, you can imagine my reaction.

Liberal leaders from the chillier side of the Border are well represented in the Scottish national songbook.  One thinks of Blue Mink’s wish to be the “Campbell-Bannerman”, of that stately hymn tune “Grimond” and of the New Seekers’ pledge to “Beg, Steel or Borrow”.

More recently the Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Menzies Campbell QC, MP has been widely celebrated – “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that Ming,” as many a jazz chanteuse has put it. The Troggs sang about “Wild Ming” (a side of his character of which we saw too little), while One Direction (who are, I gather, very popular with the young people) assures us there is “One Ming”. On reflection, that is probably a good thing, Ming.

It is, however, the career of Charles Kennedy that has most occupied the lyrics writers of Caledonia: “When Charlie to the Highlands Came,” “Charlie is my Darling,” “Wha’ll be King but Charlie?” Now that I come to think of it though, I have not heard “Will ye no Come Back Again” recently. Perhaps he was noo awa’ once too often?

I am sorry to end on a note of controversy, but I have to report an act of blatant plagiarism. You will all, I am sure, be familiar with that rousing anthem “Flower of Rutland,” with its call to “arise and be a county again”. It inspired the Maquis that drove Leicestershire’s tanks from our fields and lanes, and can still be heard at the Bonkers’ Arms when the Smithson & Greaves Northern Bitter has been flowing particularly freely.

So what is it doing in this songbook under the title “Flower of Scotland?” When I find the man responsible I shall horsewhip him on the steps of his club – if it has any steps, obviously.


No comments: