Saturday, May 27, 2017

Harold Macmillan on Oswald Mosley's uniform

Marina Hyde, in her demolition of Katie Hopkins, quotes P.G. Wodehouse's immortal paragraph on Roderick Spode's Black Shorts:
Katie’s spiritual analogue is Roderick Spode, PG Wodehouse’s piss-take of Oswald Mosley, and a chap to whom Bertie Wooster is moved to remark: 
“The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?’”
Which reminds me of Harold Macmillan's remark when the real Oswald Mosley told him that he was going to put his supporters into a black-shirted uniform:
"You must be mad. Whenever the English feel strongly about anything they wear grey flannel trousers and tweed jackets."
I first read it in Julian Critchley's memoirs A Bag of Boiled Sweets.

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