Tuesday, September 29, 2020

"When he was wise and learned ... he was known as the Calder"

If I understand Nick Barlow's latest blog post aright, it is a story told round a campfire far into a post-apocalyptic future and inspired by Calder's Sixth Law of Politics.

This holds that:

All Liberal Democrat leadership elections are reruns of Steel vs Pardoe

Nick writes:

You know how we have those who are foolish on some days and yet wise on others? They had one such as this. He was said to be an ancient soul, who was one of the Parley-Pardies in the times before the times before, he was said to know the location of the steeper stones, whatever they may be, and that he had, in his youth, put many pieces of paper through the door of many houses, though none could enlighten me as to why that was important. When he was a fool, they laughed and called him Bonkers, an old epithet of the lands of Ukay, my uncle believed, but when he was wise and learned, they sat before him as well-behaved orphans might, and then he was known as the Calder.

Now, there was an ancient prophecy, said to have been uttered by the first Calder of the tribe, that the new leader would be chosen from just two of the Parley-Pardies and that one of would be of steel, the other of a type of uncooked bread my uncle did not know but they called a par-dough. And so, the Parley-Pardies would line up in front of the Calder, he would examine them through squinted eyes and declare for all to hear which of them were steel and which were par-dough.

I have not been so flattered since I lent my name to the chairman of the Blaxwich Chamber of Commerce who attempted to assassinate Dr Beeching in Hookland.

Nick's story also reminds me of one of my very favourite blog posts: Fred Carver's Argonauts of the incredibly specific: anthropological field notes on the Liberal Democrat animal.

For instance:

Liberal Democrats also have formative rituals, or initiation ceremonies, known as “by elections” to establish identification with the group. The by election ritual is much like the circumcision ritual of the Xhosa tribe:

"During the time of the initiation, the young men live in special huts, secluded from the rest of the tribe and especially from any females. They undergo training and endurance tests, which require great discipline. All aspects of the initiation are kept very secret."

1 comment:

Bridget Fox said...

Wonderful wonderful piece by Fred Carver. Thank you for sharing it.