Saturday, August 06, 2016

Richmond House, G.K. Chesterton and the President of the MCC's buttocks

I have read and can recommend G.K.Chesterton's novels The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Man Who Was Thursday.

I have not read his The Flying Inn, but I can cut and paste from Wikipedia with the best of them:
The Flying Inn is a novel first published in 1914 by G. K. Chesterton. It is set in a future England where the Temperance movement has allowed a bizarre form of "Progressive" Islam to dominate the political and social life of the country. Because of this, alcohol sales to the poor are effectively prohibited, while the rich can get alcoholic drinks "under a medical certificate".
The plot centres on the adventures of Humphrey Pump and Captain Patrick Dalroy, who roam the country in their cart with a barrel of rum in an attempt to evade Prohibition, exploiting loopholes in the law to temporarily prevent the police taking action against them.
Far-fetched, you will say, but have you read this report in the Guardian?
MPs considered nationalising a Whitehall pub to avoid a drinking ban while they are relocated to the Department of Health’s offices for the duration of refurbishment works at the Palace of Westminster. 
Richmond House, which hosts the department, is one of three government buildings owned by Middle East financiers who have bought into an Islamic bond issued by the government. One of its stipulations is that no alcohol will be sold on the premises. 
To get around the restriction, some MPs proposed taking the Red Lion pub, located between parliament and Richmond house, into public ownership and banning entry to the general public.
Important buildings in Whitehall sold to foreign owners? That sale took place under the Coalition so, if it worries you, we Liberal Democrats cannot escape our share of the blame.

But let it serve as a reminder that, for all there willingness to wrap themselves in the flag, the Conservatives will do anything for money.

I am reminded of a House Points column I wrote back in 2005:
People think the cricket authorities are stuffy, but really they are the most shamelessly commercial administrators of all. There are now logos on the players' clothing and painted on the field of play. For the right price you could probably get your company's slogan tattooed on the President of the MCC's buttocks.

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