Nicky, nukey, Organ and Cosher

All hail the groceress!

[Fret not: that reference becomes clearer in about 250 words time.]

The newly-enstooled Education Secretary (how much damage can she do in three trimesters?) has the making of a right one.That’s capital-R Right. Also religious Right. And right from wrong, no doubt (especially on the topic of single-sex marriage).  One is entitled to muse on her agenda when she so definitively asserts she defines her constituency and parliamentary duties in the context of  “to remember the Word of God and serve the Lord.”

That’s likely to be of particular interest when, after the summer recess, she has to explain her Department’s rôle in the small and on-going business of extremists in schools.

I hope someone teases out why, in an Islamic context, we are meant to shiver, but evangelical Christians get away with it. In case you missed it, the Goveian edict forbidding the indoctrination of creationist rubbish went out … just a month ago. A stable features in the Authorised Version, but shutting the door took a trifle longer.

Rhyming Secs

Laura McInerney picked it up from the Great Education Secretaries blog. John Rentoul was quickly on the case, and referred us to Unfortunately many of the suggested rhymes for “Morgan” seem to have genital associations. So, if we are to take up the challenge of rhymes for Mrs Morgan we have a problem keeping the matter clean, decent, and New Testament (St Paul eschews all that Old Testamental of-the-earth-earthy stuff).

Alas, Dylan Thomas had already set the bar:

First Voice: Mrs Organ Morgan, groceress, coiled grey like a dormouse, her paws to her ears, conjures …
Mrs Organ Morgan: Silence.
Second Voice: She sleeps very dulcet in a cove of wool, and trumpeting Organ Morgan at her side snores no louder than a spider.

The traditional Malcolmian aside:

In passing, I’d have thought the Great Education Secretaries blog comes down to very few names:

  • R.A.Butler (1944-5);
  • Ellen Wilkinson (1945-7);
  • David Eccles (1954-7 and 1959-62);
  • Sir Edward Boyle (1962-64);
  • Edward Short (1968-70)

and the rest are also rans.

I’d happily reckon that reflects my belief everything headed down-hill with Thatcher, first at the Department and then overseeing from Downing Street. By the time that lady was wrestled out of office, happily in tears, a school could expect to be repainted every seventy years or so. Kenneth Baker, Thatcher’s obedient Mini-Me, was the nadir, and his National Curriculum the end of liberal education in this land. At least under Blunkett there was money in the system (for which Tories have never forgiven him, Blair and Brown).

 Still with things Gwalian

After that wander from Cwndonkin Drive, my mind wandered to another famed Welsh context.

pp14be7183Once upon a time (actually round about 1965 to 1967) alternate Saturdays between September and April seemed to involve away fixtures between Tyneside and North Yorkshire. The Art of Coarse Rugby (now out of print, so may the fleas of a thousand camels infest the burnoose of he who fecked my irreplaceable first edition, as right) must include the post-match return.

The IV’s game was probably played on a cow-pasture, inevitably lost: aches dulled in the communal bath, and drowned in the club bar. Then the Grand Return. The crates of Nukey Brown are rescued from the bus boot. Time for the sing-song, celebrating Dinah, or the ornithological hazards of Mobile, and musing on If I were the marrying kind.

Filth aside, there might be a few choruses of Cosher Bailey. Those were the days of The (Liverpool) Spinners, who invited verses for this one from the audience. The rugby connection may have been spawned through Max Boyce (who also did — in this context — The Ballad of Morgan the Moon), but the Ur-version was probably Ewan MacColl:

Crawshay Bailey

I cannot recall where I came upon the gem, but “Cosher” was a derivative of a real person, not of sufficient significance to feature in the Dictionary of National Biography (unlike Catherine “Skittles” Walters/Bailey, inamorata of many — including the future Edward VII). However, Crawshaw Bailey (1789 – 1872) now appears in wikipedia, but more authoritatively — so, note the discrepancies — on the Dictionary of Welsh Biography.

While Bailey was an iron master and railway pioneer in South Wales, he was also a virulent opponent of Trades Unions (which may  explain how he became the headline act in this bawdy context).

During 1835 , when the Calvinistic Methodist Association of South Wales held its quarterly meeting at Salem , Nant-y-glo , Crawshay Bailey , who was an Anglican , provided hospitality for the moderator and five leading ministers , possibly in gratitude to the denomination which had decided in its Association at Tredegar , 19 Oct. 1831 , the year of the riots at Merthyr , that no trade unionist could be admitted to church membership.

He may have some affinities with Mrs Nicky Morgan:

She wrote: “I would also like to see the culture of individuals taking responsibility for their actions taking root throughout our public services. NHS staff, teachers, civil servants and many more all need to take individual responsibility for ensuring they offer the best patient care, the best education experience and the most helpful and efficient customer service they can to the public. Many already do but I am getting very fed up with hearing about problems which were ‘not picked up by the regulator’. If we all take more responsibility for our own actions and monitor those around us I believe we can end up with a stronger society and, who knows, we might even spend less on those regulators.”

Note: “individuals”, not professional associations or unions. Ho, hum.


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Filed under Conservative family values, education, folk music, History, Michael Gove, Rugby, Tories., Wales

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