The Grand Old Duke of York (revisited)

My, my! Doesn’t time fly when you are involved in moving home?

The interim since that previous post? Somehow reminiscent of Julius Caesar, Act II, scene i (as learned by heart in Dublin’s High School, circa 1960):

Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma or a hideous dream.
The Genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of a man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.

Yes, it’s been a house-removal.

Malcolm is no longer ensconced in bourgeois London N10, among the Muswell Hill pseudo-intellectuals and City (smaller) bonus boys. He now resides down the road from the ancient City of York’s Bootham Bar.

Bootham Bar

Hark! In the fastnesses of the night, can that be the iron-nailed trudge of a ghostly Roman troop, exiting the legionary fort via Porta Dextra, next stop-over at Cataractonium? Err … sadly, no. It’s the early Friday morning municipal refuse collection.

And so to #Syria. Not.

This whole summer, the British (read English. No: read “Home Counties” English) have been bombarded by the Tory Press, egged on by daily bulletins and utterances from Tory Central, to believe that Ed Miliband is “weak”, and the Labour Party in disarray.

Despite the generally even weather, and a holiday season, the well-established Labour opinion-poll lead was only slightly dented.

timthumb.phpSo Dave Cameron, allegedly inspired by his oh-s0-well-educated and informed spouse (which outré suggestion required an official denial), was gung-ho to blitz Syrian citadels. Thus Parliament had to be recalled to rubber-stamp the bombing.

The Independent, quite wittily, headlined this with a cruel twist of headline (as right).

“Hold hard”, said everyone of sense.
“Hang on”, said the Labour rank-and-file.
“That goes for me, too,” said Ed Miliband. “We need to hear it from the UN”.

And so it came to pass that the Tory fizz went flat. The Recall of Parliament will now debate the UK’s referral to the UN.

With a single bound, Our Hero (Ed) was free. The egg was all over the ConDem faces — for even the Clegg, the one-time Great Pacifier now established as “Deputy PM”, had been clambering on the war-wagon.

Advantage Miliband.

Not quite 1956 over again. Nor quite the principles of Gaitskell over Suez (Miliband has far more, far broader support than just the Observer). But a stike for reality and decency.

And where does that leave Cameron?

Well, as Malcolm has noted before, Cameron has precedent here. So let’s recall a previous Greatest Hit:

  • Prime Minister David Cameron is the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of King William IV.
  • William IV was third son of George III, whose elder brothers were the future George IV and … Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.


Said Prince Fred is generally accounted to have been the Grand Old Duke of York, who:

… had ten thousand men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up.
And when they were down, they were down.
And when they were only halfway up,
They were neither up nor down.

He earned that reputation because of the futile Flanders campaign of 1799.

So with the hill of beans of late August, 2013.

Doubtless the dissenters on the Tory backbenchers, kept quiet of late by the prospect of potential promotion in the imminent reshuffle, will hold against Cameron this Recall and their abbreviated summer hols. Particularly so when any ambitions are disappointed.

Oh, and Malcolm’s other good news is that York is much on a level. No hills. Nice walking. He’s even thinking of taking to a bicycle (even electric-assisted) again.


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Filed under David Cameron, Ed Miliband, High School, History, Independent, Labour Party, Military, Quotations, Shakespeare, Yorkshire

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