Monday, October 24, 2011

EU Referendum: if Cameron gets this wrong, the cost at the next election will be immense

This is a guest post by Zach Johnstone.

In the months preceding the European Parliament’s ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 it became something of a ritual for Daniel Hannan MEP to end each speech with the Latin dictum Pactio Olisipiensis censenda est (‘The Lisbon Treaty must be put to the vote’). Indeed, when Mr Hannan spoke in a debate on any issue whatsoever, these words rang out around the hemisphere to the profound disapproval of the pro-federalist members. This was not merely, as it may at first seem, a hollow manoeuvre from a ‘rogue’ MEP with designs on causing a stir in the disproportionately pro-EU chamber. Nor was it in any way a populist ploy designed to add gravitas to a proposal so far removed from the thinking of the mainstream political establishment that it deserved little better than to be cast off as either eccentric or irrelevant. No, this was quite different.

It was, in fact, a direct and unambiguous restatement of the promise that each of the three major parties made in their 2005 manifestos to this effect. Labour’s mandate to govern derived in no small part from a clear pledge to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution, whilst both the Conservatives and the LibDems offered similar assurances to their voters. The parties were united in their insistence that further change to the EU should be subject to popular consent, such that has not been seen for almost four decades in the United Kingdom. Far from raising a contentious issue, it was Daniel Hannan’s intention to exhibit the axiom that MPs were duty-bound to hold a referendum and that, until this was offered, both the national government at Westminster and the supranational institutions of Brussels were uniformly complicit in holding the democratic process ransom.

In the event, there was little that Hannan et al could do to prevent Parliament’s ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, or the LibDems’ abstention from the vote, or the Conservatives’ U-turn on the issue of a referendum in the same year. In the face of the organised party machine, conviction and integrity are soon ground down as the way is paved for opportunism and career advancement. Promises were rescinded as quickly as they had been made. However, even if little was achieved in a legislative sense, the uproar surrounding these events reaffirmed one thing: it is now simply irrefutable to challenge the notion that a large proportion of British people (as many as two-thirds by some estimations) are desperate to have their say on UK membership of the EU.

This is precisely where we stand as we head in to today’s Commons debate on the motion calling for a referendum on EU membership. The people have made their wishes known, and now all that is left is for those with influence to ignore and to overlook.

The popular message could not be clearer: the Union’s transmogrification from an unassuming economic entity to a social, cultural and political behemoth has not been accompanied by sufficient (or, indeed, any) popular consultation. Despite the very provenance of much of the legislation to which we are subject having shifted, not since 1975 have we been conferred with as a demos regarding the direction – or the extent – of this change. To say that this fact is widely regarded as a flagrant insult to democracy does not even begin to encapsulate the sentiment held by many.

Cameron’s determination to whip his party to vote against today’s motion – arising as it does from a petition signed by over 100,000 citizens – does nothing whatsoever to ease this culture of disillusionment and detachment. The offering of directly democratic mechanisms present in both the Conservative manifesto and the Coalition Agreement such as recall mechanisms and elected police sheriffs gave optimism to many who saw such initiatives as the practical manifestation of Cameron’s pledge to return power ‘from the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities. From Brussels to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy’. Perhaps this government, unlike others, they thought, would genuinely seek to push power down to the lowest common denominator: the individual.

Today that optimism will be swiftly laid to rest.

By promising voter empowerment and concurrently voting against precisely that, it is no exaggeration to state that Cameron’s strategy risks permanently tarnishing both his personal image and that of the modern Conservative Party. Today’s vote will not bring the Coalition down; aside from a handful of outcries from the few mainstream media outlets offering anywhere near the appropriate level of coverage to an issue of this magnitude, it will be swept under the carpet. But make no mistake: ‘cast-iron’ promises are not easily forgotten.. After today, any remnant of credibility that Cameron’s party has built up through such initiatives as the (entirely ceremonial) Sovereignty Bill will ebb away. Voters who turned towards the Conservatives as a progressive party with a healthy dose of scepticism reflecting that of the national mood will summarily turn away again. This is not an ephemeral political whim but a reflection of the seriousness with which a government takes its citizens’ right to have their say – get this wrong now and the cost at the next election may prove decisive.

It would be remiss of me to denounce Cameron’s approach without firstly acknowledging, as many other commentators have done, the fact that ‘Europe’ is a decidedly sensitive issue for many Conservatives. As Matthew d’Ancona observes in his latest piece: “ of the great accomplishments of the Conservatives’ 13 years in Opposition was the gradual achievement of unity over Europe.” Not only does the issue risk fracturing the party at any time but Cameron faces the additional challenge of appeasing his Coalition partners. Moreover, it has been widely argued that with more pressing matters ahead (read: addressing the debt crisis), to rake up these old dividing lines is at present both pointless and unhelpful.

Yes, it goes without saying that we are in unprecedented territory: the eurozone stands on the brink of collapse unless France and Germany can broker a deal that satisfies the markets, while the growth forecasts for our own economy look woefully bleak. Yes, the need to manage the fragile and downright unpredictable mood of coalition governance must also be borne in mind. In fact, any number of current issues could be cited as reason enough for the Government to seek to avoid unnecessary distraction. But this is about so much more.

Suspending disbelief momentarily, were the result of today’s motion not a foregone conclusion, I would ask but one thing of all MPs of conviction: to consider for a moment the unique nature of the motion they are to debate. For we are not talking about a simple in/out referendum but one that also opens the door for a genuine via media: renegotiation. The fact is that not every UK citizen calling for a referendum believes the EU to be an intrinsically negative thing; many support it and wish to put the issue of withdrawal to bed whilst others, to varying degrees, wish for the UK to remain a member state on different terms. This motion offers the scope for a far-reaching debate, without the black-and-white rigidity of the traditional in/out dichotomy, through which the true wishes of the British people can truly be determined.

The verdict?

Daniel Hannan is exactly right when he asserts that there is a worryingly prevalent trend amongst MPs on both sides of the House to take what they believe will be the answer to a referendum question and work backwards from there. Referenda in the modern era are held not on the basis of merit but of winability. It is this disingenuous political manoeuvring that renders voters apathetic towards those elected to represent them. Regardless of the outcome for which any particular MP hopes, it is in the vital interests of public faith in the democratic process to permit a referendum to take place and to empower citizens with the ability to articulate their position on the most important of matters. There is nothing to say that a referendum will not tell us that a majority of UK citizens favour further integration into the EU project; opinion polls may point to an anti-EU majority, but they also pointed to a pro-AV majority mere weeks before the referendum earlier this year. This is not about timing or opportunism: it is about the fulfilment of promises; salvaging the very integrity of the democratic process. It is, quite simply, what is right.

For decades the British people have been denied the opportunity to answer a simple but absolutely crucial question: from where, and by whom, do we wish to be governed? If we miss this opportunity, and it seems as though we will, it is troublingly difficult to say when another will come along.


Blogger Temporary said...

"transmogrification from an unassuming economic entity… to political behemoth":

No, it was always an avaricious political entity, from 1958 onwards. See "The Great Deception" by Booker and North or "Europe On 387m Euros a Day" (

"Renegotiation" is a chimera. It's impossible.

Any change in our EU membership would mean a change of the treaties, which means an intergovernmental conference followed by ratifications in 27 parliaments (including a referendum in Ireland and perhaps other states). Do you think that the other 26 countries will give parl'y time to the UK's huffing and puffing?

How can a customs union work if one member has entirely different rules from the other 26 members (because whole swathes of legislation have returned home)?

What do you think other countries would want repatriated?

Why should only the UK get powers repatriated?

There are other arguments demolishing the "renegotiation" option here:

Here are three links that suggest a referendum is the wrong way to go about EU withdrawal:

24 October 2011 at 08:48  
Blogger bluedog said...

Cameron has got it wrong, and may not even survive until the next election.

Consider this: 60 or 70 young Conservative MPs reject the three-line whip and vote against the government. Dave's bluff has been called. If Dave sacks the recalcitrants as Conservative MPs they would be justified in defecting as a bloc to UKIP. Their constituents may even wish that they would do so. This hypothetical defection would trigger a mass of by-elections that the Conservatives may not win if local members are strongly entrenched. In any event the Conservative position in the Coalition is severely eroded. What if Clegg then faces internal pressure to re-align with Labour? Dave's misconceived macho tactics will have blown up in his face and SamCam will be welcoming Milipede's mistress in as chatelaine of Number 10.

Urrgh, the shame!

24 October 2011 at 08:54  
Blogger C.Law said...

Whatever one's opinion on the issue of the EC and a referendum, Mr Johnstone is quite correct in his contention that the constant betrayal of the electorate by politicians of all stripes in reneging on firm promises has inflicted a potentially fatal blight on the relationship between Parliament and People.

This begs the question "whatever can be done to fix it?"

24 October 2011 at 09:27  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

It's simple.
If someone makes me a promise on any matter (cast-iron or otherwise), I expect him to do his best to fulfil that promise or have what I regard as acceptable reasons for not doing so. In the case of politics, I would also expect his colleagues to urge him to keep his promise.
If the person subsequently reneges on that promise, I will never believe him again, regardless of the subject.
Thus I don't believe a word Cameron says.
It's that simple!

24 October 2011 at 10:13  
Blogger non mouse said...

They are patent rubbish: whatever words anyone employs in telling the British people that they are no longer...

The whole thing is a total outrage.

No "government"- 'elected' or otherwise- can rightly give a country away. It's especially ridiculous to suggest that they can do it with no consent from the people.

The problem, then, is that the people are supine and naive enough to let them seem to get away with it. (In the absence of another Italian Job).

For now.
As for that shamoron....

24 October 2011 at 10:15  
Blogger Nicodemus said...

Cameron has lost my vote at the next election because of his blatant disregard for a democratic vote on the issue of Europe, even breaking his own promises.

If I am in any way typical Cameron will be loosing voters in swaths, since he is touching on an existential issue, where angels fear to tread.

His rebellion is as the madness of the prophet Balaam - who tried to beat his donkey into submission, though even that stupid donkey had more sense, and could see what Balaam was blind to, the sword of the Lord.

"How terrible for them! ... For the sake of money they have given themselves over to the error that Balaam committed. They have rebelled as Korah rebelled, and like him they are destroyed." [Jud 1:11]

24 October 2011 at 10:26  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Remember Maastricht as you check out tonight's list of votes in the Aye lobby, the wrong motion though this is. The Labour lot might be fewer (there are fewer Labour MPs to begin with), but it will be much more respectable, and the Labour abstentions might well be even more so.

Whereas The Tories will be the new generation of Tony Marlows and Teresa Gormans. Expect to see them all over the telly between now and 2015, when most of them will lose their seats. But don't expect them to be taken seriously. Or to deserve to be.

24 October 2011 at 11:15  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 October 2011 at 11:27  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...


You are right to assert that the EU was always politicised. This is precisely the point of neo-functionalist integration; with an endgame in sight the political establishment integrates competences gradually so as not to create disquiet.

However the fact remains that when the British people voted in 1975 were they not acquainted with Ernst B. Haas' model of integration from which the European project emanates. The EEC, at the time, was understood to be an economic union irrespective of the designs that others had on its future form and function.

A referendum should have happened long before now precisely because the European project ceased to be purely economic long before now.

I do, however, believe that to say that it has always been an "avaricious political entity" risks blurring the distinction between what was sold to the public and what was known behind closed doors.

24 October 2011 at 11:29  
Blogger Oswin said...

Circumstances outwith the grubby hands of traitors, amateurs, fools, bunglers and free-loaders, WILL eventually free us from the yolk of the EU.

Mind you, when the above comes to pass, the above will constitute an almighty blockage in the now, seemingly de rigueur, 'sewage pipe' of tyrants! Perhaps, at last, vindicating the Channel Tunnel?

24 October 2011 at 15:22  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

This issues begs all types of questions, not least of which is, can we trust ANYTHING we are told either by our MSM, or our apparent government?

I must most regrettably inform you all that one would have to deaf, dumb, blind, as well as as thick as a forest of short planks to believe, or take at face value anything one is told, either these days or any other days.

The public are treated as fools, because as a very general rule they are fools. This is a democracy, therefore the foolishness of the mob rules.

Our ruling elites have grown weary from seeking to con, manipulate, and generally lie themselves into getting their way. Since the apparent fall of Communism, they now seek direct dictatorship, rather then contrived consensus as a method of controlling the masses.

Personally I see no way out of this, for the powers against the common man are so overwhelming that every single, or collective agent of political expression was long since subverted by the exact same ruling elites.

Please understand that their has NEVER been a discourse between left and right, there has only ever been a long standing conflict between good, and evil, true, and lies, us and them.

We are indeed engaged in a never ending WAR between the interests of our own ruling elites, and the interests of ordinary people. These two things may sometimes coincide with each other, however as a general rule they are totally in opposition to each other in all respects, and all of the time.

Some of you who inhabit the area of London may have looked out of their windows on Saturday and noticed something rather strange covering much of the clear blue sky.

Some say these are Chemical trails designed to produce all kinds of nasty effects. I on the other hand could not possibly comment as to what is really going on.

However it is clear that our media has no intention of even mentioning this more then strange events, never mind speculating as to what it was all about.

The point being is that if we can not trust our media to report on these kinds of things, how many other things can we not trust them about?

I long since came to the conclusion that we can not trust them with anything at all, especially when its comes to anything remotely important.

Therefore can we even trust the results of a referendum of the EU, or indeed any past or coming general election, or anything else we are likely to end up being ALLOWED to have a vote on?

What makes so many of you so sure that election results can be trusted, if your own mass media most obviously cannot be?

For as we all surly know, election results where all but always fiddled to a greater or lesser extent in the past, what makes so many of you so confident that they are not still, and will not be in the future?

I contend that the establishment only ever allowed elections in the first place, because they knew with a 100% certainty that they could always utterly control the ultimate outcome of them.

To believe otherwise is simply a victory of wishful thinking over common sense and experienced reality. The UK's continual membership of The EU, being an excellent case in point.

24 October 2011 at 15:29  
Blogger Berserker said...

Yes, the only answer for the people to get listened to would be for a mass defection of Euro sceptics to UKIP! I would then be queuing up to vote!

As a bit of fun, here are a few of my guesses about how the Great British public would vote if it ever got the chance.

The old prisoner voting rights issue will have to be decided soon. I think we have run out of appeals. Popular vote would be about 80% for keeping the disenfranchisement of criminals. By the way, in France the Army had been barred from voting since the 1870's and this was only rescinded in 1945. So did de Gaulle especially in his earlier career ever cast a vote?

Bringing back the death penalty for certain crimes: 60%

Getting out of the EU altogether: 55%

Stopping immigration completely: 30% but only allowing very restricted immigration 90%.

Women's votes will spoil the figures a bit as they tend to be very status quo and what's good for the Nest is good for me,

When will the will of the many, the exoteric right of our citizens be acted upon?

24 October 2011 at 15:44  
Blogger non mouse said...

Oh and I think Temporary's right about that transmogrification thing. Except that it started way before 1958. I'm still intrigued as to why Conrad centred "Heart of Darkness" on Brussells (?sp); and, indeed, about the euro-activities in The Secret Agent.

It's not just in one major composition then, so what are the odds that the Polish person knew something we failed to recognise?

And then Huxley and Orwell contributed; and still we wafted on, through 2 wars; and on, and on,

24 October 2011 at 16:02  
Blogger Oswin said...

Berserker: I think the ''Nest'' might be in for a bit of a hammering, so your figures might true-out after all.

24 October 2011 at 16:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach Johnstone. The Inspector congratulates you on an excellent post. Can’t fault your reasoning anywhere…

Berserker. Your comment on women’s voting reminds the Inspector of the 1997 election, Blair’s landside partially attributed to the gals. A shiny new pin, they saw him as, and handsome too. Can’t see milli thing generating the same effect {INSPECTOR MANAGES WRY SMILE}.

24 October 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Yikes, Inspector! What happened to your old avatar? If we hold a referendum for its return, would you comply with the will of the People?

24 October 2011 at 18:43  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

Office of Inspector General,

Thank you for your kind words, I am greatly appreciative.

24 October 2011 at 18:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi Ha, gave you a fright !

This chappie looks more like your man. Mustn’t be too accurate though as the Inspector would still like to walk the streets of his adopted town, without being stoned by feminists, beheaded by the Muslims here, or shot by the sizeable negro community we are also blessed with. Not to mention being knifed by the down and out druggies. All he expects follow Cranmer, as one should to be informed. (...Thank you God for my neighbours...)

Give it a few weeks, and if still dissatisfied, the Inspector will change it back...

24 October 2011 at 19:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach Johnstone Your humble servant sir. You’re becoming a bit of a regular, hope you’ll stick around until we get our referendum - assuming the EU doesn’t blow up (USSR style)and we are blown clear that way...

24 October 2011 at 19:12  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

Office of Inspector General,

Indeed. I certainly hope to stick around; it is encouraging to see that my articles are being well-received.

Though if you expect to me stick around until we get our referendum you do realise you're probably committing me to decades of article-writing...

24 October 2011 at 19:24  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Inspector, getting stoned with feminists (well, some) can't be entirely unpleasant for a batchelor. Or did you say, "by"?

Mr Johnstone, I too should thank you for your well-writen articles and responses. We're culturally cut-off from Britain and Yurup, out here in the former Colonies, and thanks to your efforts I have a much better idea about what's going on. To borrow a phrase from the climate alarmists: It's worse than we thought.

24 October 2011 at 21:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi The Commons goes to the vote at 10 pm our time. Will post outcome of EU referendum call...

24 October 2011 at 21:23  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


It seems safe for me to comment for now, although I'll need to be circumspect for a little while.

Not to keen on your new picture either. Makes youlook like a blooming Ruskie General. Understand the need for for anonymity. There is one group you've missed from your list of dangerous groups - weasels with sharpe teeth!

24 October 2011 at 21:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Had been thinking you’d been plucked and cooked by the Archbishop. Looks like ‘new image’ is on it’s way out (...when the Inspector has time to do it...). Note the absence of Mr Bloe. Looks like Branson joins weatsop with falsehood.

24 October 2011 at 21:43  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

Avi Barzel,

You are very kind, I am highly pleased to learn that you take such pleasure in reading my articles.

24 October 2011 at 22:09  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


No, still alive and kicking. Looks like my wishbone will be left intact for now. I'm going to keep a low profile for a while just in case of reprisals.

Ernsty will be furious about his computer and I'm looking forward to his return. His admonishment of me last night left me in stitches! There was only one real direct personal attack - I'll leave it with you to guess who this was. Mind you, we have been labelled as 'insurgents' by one character! Strange use of the term.

I see a lot of our MP's are about to revolt against the powers that be this evening. Poor boys, listening to them, you'd think they were off to the frontline to make the ultimate sacrifice rather than the voting lobby. Wimps the lot of them.

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

24 October 2011 at 22:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi.Defeated as anticipated. However 111 for and 483 against. More to come on this the Inspector is sure.

Dodo. Suspect wily old fox Mr Bloe has been softening you for a good hiding. Beware....

24 October 2011 at 22:27  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


Maybe. He does it with such style that one can't help but warm to him.

So 85 revolting Tories. Looks like Europe yet again is going to split the Conservative Party. Just hope 'Little Eddie' and his gang don't benefit too much.

24 October 2011 at 22:36  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Dodo and Inspector,

This is embarrassing. I'm so clued out. A glance at my online paper of choice didn't mention anything about your vote on a the referendum and I...uh...thought for a while we're voting on the Inspector's new avatar. I hope His Grace isn't reading this, because such doltishness must be grounds for getting the boot.

Anyway, ehem, any recommedations for an online British paper with live reporting? You folks know my leanings, so please don't recommend The Guardian. I went to The Telegraph, but the site is hanging constantly with half of the UK clicking on it, and probably because my ISP doesn't link to its mirror sites or something.

24 October 2011 at 23:51  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ok, went to The Guardian...but only because it's not hanging on me. Now, I see why no one's guys must be drowning your woes in the local weatering holes. My sympathies. With all due respect to Mr Johnstone and his understandable pessimism, I suspect the whirlwind created by this may mean that a new opportunity might come along sooner than he thinks. The numbers are significant and the issue has been moved to the forefront as never before. Have another drink, folks, stay safe and get a good sleep to fight another day.

25 October 2011 at 00:11  
Blogger non mouse said...

You could try the Beeb, Avi. So long as you check elsewhere to make up the balance, as it were.

I admit I keep a tab on the World Service - for Christmas and the 9 Lessons and Carols (though even that's euro-ized at this stage).

The Speccie's also not always 'right,' but they keep tabs on events, and their Coffeehousers' Wall is lively. His Grace provides a couple of links to their good editors (Hoskin and Blackburn) on the 'Citations' to the right.

25 October 2011 at 00:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Non mouse,

The Beeb. Of course. With my thining that we are voting to retain Inspector's original avatar and now this, today is turning out to be my least brightest (can you say that) day.Somehow, from my recesses of my failing memory I dug up the names of half a dozen Brit dailies, but totally forgot about the Beeb which, thanks to our Liberal establishment here in Canuckistan, enjoys more prominence and band width than any other. Thanks for your advice!

25 October 2011 at 00:31  
Blogger non mouse said...

Oh...and someone else earlier posted the link to Dr. North's eureferendum: also to His Grace's right hand, citation-wise!
That's outstanding quality, as a site, for commentary, and for other links.

25 October 2011 at 00:34  
Blogger Oswin said...

Well what a monumental cock-up from start to finish ... how to win friends and influence people - not! A free vote would have seen Cameron through, status quo maintained and, dignity/trust/loyalty intact; but no, he had to bugger-up what little credibility he had left. He is now a joke caught between a rock and a hard place. It doesn't get easier from now on, barring some unforeseen miracle; the cat is now out of the bag.

25 October 2011 at 01:09  
Blogger Oswin said...

Well what a monumental cock-up from start to finish ... how to win friends and influence people - not! A free vote would have seen Cameron through, status quo maintained and, dignity/trust/loyalty intact; but no, he had to bugger-up what little credibility he had left. He is now a joke caught between a rock and a hard place. It doesn't get easier from now on, barring some unforeseen miracle; the cat is now out of the bag.

25 October 2011 at 01:10  
Blogger non mouse said...

Indeed, Oswin. And doesn't it also beggar belief that these self-styled elites don't care what the electorate thinks of them. They really can't have much sense of what that might be, or they'd never set their noses out of doors.

After all, even 50m is a fair number to set against a few hundred. Now, if they were to consider the whole 60m.... But then, perhaps they just see us in terms of revenue that accrues to themselves and their true masters.

25 October 2011 at 01:44  
Blogger UKIP said...

Monday 24th October 2011 A bad day for Dave and the political classes - A good day for the resistance:

25 October 2011 at 08:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace


That is today's (inadvertent) sound bite from the PR spiv who masquarades as First Lord of HM Treasury. The sound is that of a collision with reality rather than the smack of firm government that Dave intended.

In a spirit of Christian fellowship, your communicant offers Dave some advice for his continuing professional development - toss a coin.

When the coin lands, on one side note the figure of the Sovereign, and on the other, the Currency. Without a sovereign there can be no currency, for they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Yet in Europe, Dave's handlers have reversed the logic and are putting the prosperity and hopes of a generation at risk as a consequence. Incredibly No 10 bleats that the EU is making decisions that will sideline Britain. Of course they are! That was decided in 1992 when Britain left the ERM, and reinforced by McBroon's decision to stiff Blair and stay out of the eurozone.

So by a miracle, Britain is still sovereign of its own currency. It follows that when Dave raves about repatriating powers from the EU and helping shore up the Euro in the same breath, he is talking about two mutually exclusive propositions.

Could it be that the 82 Conservative MPs who voted against him, and the 15 who abstained, have worked out that Dave has the intellectual consistency of marshmallow?

It does appear so.

25 October 2011 at 08:31  
Blogger G. Tingey said...


25 October 2011 at 08:38  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dodo "Ernsty will be furious about his computer and I'm looking forward to his return. His admonishment of me last night left me in stitches! "

1. Ernst is apoplectic with Branson and ilk. No Internet!
Pathetic and they could not be trusted to run a bath for Ernst! Once Ernsty gets his revised bill, he is OFF.
2. Well, it appears true, absence DOES make the heart grow fonder.
3. Rule 2 of being Ernst..A Jest breaks no bones or hangs/burns/drowns heretics.

OoIG slurring Ernst's good name, cad..a mere fox? pah!
"Dodo. Suspect wily old fox Mr Bloe has been softening you for a good hiding. Beware...." Ernst has given the bird a verbal thrashing on the backside most visibly yet it appears he has made good use of that Catechism, Bulls and Encyclicals by stuffing them down his breeches, to soften the blows!

Ernst's only use for such as listed and including Institutes of Christian Religion, is to prop up the head end of his bed as Ernst suffers from reflux every now and then.
Whereas the Holy Bible is under his pillow and the source of eternal life and treasure beyond price.
What on earth did the Holy Spirit do for all those centuries without the help of those popes and calvin, to lead the sinners to safety in Christ?

"Maybe. He does it with such style that one can't help but warm to him." Dear bird if Ernst was in power you would be first lord of the cabinet for brown nosing, without peer or portfolio! *chuckles at the thought* As His Grace could vouch, you are a veritable olympic champion, par excellence!

Laters chaps.

Ernst has got an crater to power up..Hmm, wonder what 'Jaws' is upto? He was always fond of travel and removing the odd 'grit in the ointment' for Ernst.

Bide me time and wait for the revised bill..there had better be some compo!

Ernst 'spitting blood' Blofeld

25 October 2011 at 15:38  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Non mouse, and guess what? I even had Eureferendum in my favourites folder. It was a a day of "duhs," I tell you. So, after figuring out that the vote was not about the Inspector's new avatar, after your reminder about the Beeb's existence, and that to find that info on the BBC one has to click on the "UK" tab, I think I acquired enough knowledge to exchange a few sentences with the educated folks before moving on to, "So, how 'bout those Leafs, eh (Toronto's unlucky hockey team)?"

Mr Ernst, welcome back from the dreaded Internet-free purgatorium we all fear everytime a site hangs or a screen flickers. My sympathies on the reflux. I get it too from time to time and still can't decide whether reflux pain is worse than a cracked vertebra on a stalled, flat-bottommed speed boat bobbing wildly on the waves and bumping against the rocks of Lake Ontario's shoreline on a windy day. Or something like that. Reflux can cause madness, I found out. Once, when on a construction site without my bottle of antacid, I caused a bit of alarm to the chemistry-challenged by ripping open a paper and grabbing and munching down a generous pinch of powdered plaster. It worked instantly and beautifully, of course, and better than the commercial stuff for which we pay a fortune. Add a little food colouring and a sprinkle of juice powder, and you've got a value-added marketable product with a fantastic mark-up. Until the Food and Drug Admin commandos catch up with you, of course.

25 October 2011 at 16:43  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi, my boy.

Ernst has only popped round to see Ms B, Ernst's daughter, as his beloved grandson has got the 'lurgy' (bug) and is not well..not eating, hot body etc.

Ernst's internet looks doomed for the time being so is considering a new isp, so posting will be sporadic until normal service is resumed..

My boy, that reflux sounds awful, however Ernst's is due to sometimes overindulgence with spices and herbs as he cannot eat food without them. Fair trade off?

Ernst my boy..

Always good to hear from you.

25 October 2011 at 17:15  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Ernsty and Avi

Have yourselves checked out for
for a nasty little virus called 'helicobacter pylori'. It's quite common and causes reflux. It's also a common cause of ulcers. Simple test and easy treatment too. Many GP's overlook it.

Now Mr Ernsty, the Catechism, various Bulls and Encyclicals do offer protection from assault, though not the one you're suggesting. There's no sin in using them the way you do, there're not sacred documents, and I'm glad they are bringing you relief.

And the Bible is, naturally, a book to be treasured by all Christians. Mine is by the side of my bed - to large for under my pillow! A wonderful, treasured
Douay-Rheims Bible that has been in the family for years. Your's, of course, will be somewhat slimmer as it is missing a few books.

25 October 2011 at 17:40  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

All the best to your grandson, Mr Ernst, may he feel better soon and resume devouring everything in sight to the joy of his parents and grandparents!

I learned that it's the acid(juices or vinegars) in some spicy dishes, not to mention the high fat content in what we like most, and not the actual capsicum-based "heat" that's the real culprit. I'm with you; I'd rather go hungry than eat a spice-less meal. So, I discovered that if I just sprinkle even generous amounts of cayenne pepper and dry ground curry spices on something that's otherwise bland and not too fatty, I can avoid reflux. Works most of the time, but when it reaches the terminal end of the food conveyor system a day or two later, you get a reminder you can't miss. Still, a fair trade-off as yous say.

Good luck with your new ISP relationship. Given the way things are going, we might be even allowed to marry our providers of e-joy.

25 October 2011 at 17:57  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi and Dodo

Reflux is unfortunately as specified, due to eating habits..Ernst cannot drink water by itself either, must have something added (preferable a shot of scotch).

Back off to the crater soon as Ernst's little lad is shattered due to hardly getting any sleep last night so grandad will still be worrying tonight but back tomorrow to dolt!

Why do grand children bring such joy?


Nighty night chaps. Trust we will be all here tomorrow.


"Good luck with your new ISP relationship. Given the way things are going, we might be even allowed to marry our providers of e-joy." They would not have to excel much to beat this shower!

25 October 2011 at 18:00  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...


Thanks for the reminder and the tip! I had heard about it a while back, but didn't mention anything about reflux to my leech. I've been scarred; after having my annual checkup a couple of months ago, I feared another...uh, explorative exam. By "simple test," I trust and pray you mean something like multiple-choice questions, not anything involving...what's the word?...discomfort? Once per year, as per Ministry of Transport regs is all I can handle; more and I'd have to file assault charges.

Come to think of it, I seem to often get reflux when down with a cold or a flu, which I suppose would be a great time for this bug to party-on as my imune system tries to fight off the other bugs and the peat smoke toxins.

25 October 2011 at 18:17  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


The test consists of simply drinking a fluid that tastes like orange juice and then blowing into a bag - with your mouth, I hasten to add! Takes all of 5 minutes.

25 October 2011 at 18:41  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ah, thank you profusely for that crucial bit of info, Dodo! Blowing into a bag, with my mouth, I can handle. Drinking, that I can manage quite well too.

25 October 2011 at 19:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps, brings back memories of when your Inspector was asked to blow into a bag with particular attention to be paid on the colour of the crystals afterwards. Passed of course; buggers had me stopped on a blown tail-light !

25 October 2011 at 22:03  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


I wondered just what sort of blow job you were about to refer to!

25 October 2011 at 23:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

On the subject of bags and blowing, and breathalizers, gents, here's a funny a weird way.

I'm on the road a lot for work and I car-pool kids all over town when off, pick up my wife and get sent on errands all the time. The family jalopy is a tame, suburban type of a wimp-mobile, but my hobby toy car is a painstakingly restored 90s rallye type of a rice-burner that would make the Tokyo Yakuza green with envy; a flashy, over-the-top, turbo-charged rumbler with huge racing stripes and a massive wing, the kind of an in-your-face goonish eyesore the police get a serious eye-twitch from. And you should hear the sound.

But wait, there's more. I have longish hair and a beard, and when I'm trucking long distance, I put away my white shirts and black v-necks and coat jackets, and switch to an old studded leather jacket (in case of a cabin fire, of course) and a biker-kind of a do-rag on my head instead of a kippa (lot of bad-hair-days on the road). I wear shades even on cloudy days to protect my eyes for art, and when not, year-round allergies make my eyes red and make me look like I'm tripping on something scary. And, although I constantly go through borders, immigration and customs checks, provincial and state patrol checkpoints, speed traps, aggressive truck inspection stations and random police checks for drunk drivers on holiday weekends, I've never, ever, had a breathalizer test! Never even seen what the machine looks like! Go figure.

26 October 2011 at 00:49  
Blogger Oswin said...


If you are subject to allergies, try a daily spoonful of white honey, from bees hived in fields of oil-seed rape (Canola). It cured me of a whole raft of allergies, and improved my life enormously.

If you can't find any (it does taste rather odd) then buy a bee-skep and find an accommodating farmer, growing oil-seed rape; it really is worth the effort.

26 October 2011 at 17:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi / Dodo The Inspector couldn’t tell you what one of these machines looks like either (…although he did once see some kind of gadget in a pub…). The bags were the only thing back then. The boys in blue were very good about it. The Inspector was on a motorcycle which only had one tail light, you see. They let him ride the two miles home with the brake light adjusted permanently on - followed him part of the way too ! Thinking back, remembers the bags were very expensive for what they were…

Oswin The Inspector has always trusted to irrigating the nasal passages with tobacco smoke. Top results, you know...

26 October 2011 at 18:44  
Blogger Oswin said...

Inspector: after a lifetime of smoking a pipe, cigarettes, cigars and the occasional partaking of snuff (for those 'No Smoking' occasions) I can confirm that none of the above stopped neither a sneeze nor a snuffle, once the pollen was blowing. For true lasting relief, you just can't beat Rape-Seed Oil not to poke it up your nose though!

26 October 2011 at 22:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...


Thanks for the tip. We seem to have everything in Canada lately, so I wouldn't be surprised to find rape seed honey. When I was but a little Avi, my grandfather of blessed memory kept bees as a hobby in our garden and I got used to getting stung every day. Oddly enough, when that was happening, my alergies seemed to disappear.

And, it seems you and I are the only people left in the world who use snuff. I partake on the Sabbaths, as I hate nicotine gum and chewing tobacco requires disgusting spitting and availability of spitoons. Not to be offensive, I sniff outside the sanctuary, in a quiet hallway or the bathroom, but initially received alarming inquiries about my "drug problem."


Ah, yes, tobacco. Allergic to that too, but a man just can't roll over for every little hiccup in life, especially when my US trips expose me to well-priced cartons of Marlboros.

30 October 2011 at 14:32  

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