Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pistols at Dawn.

I'd been looking for ideas to create more interest in politics amongst the young people of Montgomeryshire. Something along the lines of the TV debates that invigorate the US Presidential Election. Mark Johannson and his wife Shirley, who are working to re-establish a village show at Four Crosses next month did ask me if I would be willing to enter a contest with Lembit Opik next month involving a 'Bucking Bull' - at least that's what I thought he said. Not for me I thought, though believe this or not, but I have actually ridden a bucking bull - the rather gentle Hereford with big horns which used to 'run' with our dairy herd when I was a young lad on the family farm.

Anyway, Charles Moore has come up with the obvious answer in his column in today's Telegraph. Why not an old fashioned dual. Charles was reviewing 'Pistols at Dawn' by John Campbell, a story based on the eight most famous duals in history. The last time a political dispute was settled by actual resort to pistols was 200 years ago, during the Napoleonic wars. The British Foreign Secretary, George Canning had sought to dump the all the blame for a failed mission on Lord Castlereagh. The latter was not having it and wrote to Canning demanding an apology and 'satisfaction' - which in those days meant a dual. The challenge was accepted. The two men met on Putney Heath, and incredibly, both of them missed. Castlereagh insisted on another go, and at the second time of asking, 'winged' Canning by shooting him in the thigh. Didn't do him any long term harm though because he later became Prime Minister.

One problem is that I don't own a gun. I suppose I could borrow that Bren Gun that the Royal British Legion in Welshpool are always bringing out on display. I could let Lembit have 'the full nine yards' (which is where this saying comes from). Another problem is that I don't trust the Lib Dems not to resort to dirty tricks. For example, I might swing my Bren Gun around and see him standing there wearing 'The Mother of all Wigs'. I'd have a bullet in my thigh or worse before I could stop laughing enough to take aim. On second thoughts, maybe I should ring Mark and ask him what the 'Bucking Bull' contest involves.


Fingle man in America said...

First off, if Martin Shipton is reading this ... just Glyn letting off some, albeit super heated, steam.

Anyway Glyn, here in the good old 'US of A', would be first-wives get involved - it's all part of the tradition of electing our "First Minister".

Then there's those Super Charlie drop by eating events to show the masses that even a would-be President eats - can even eat burgers (thereby confirming that he/she is not a Vegan), and the odd attendance at a gun fair (thereby pouring water on NRA concerns), and the bowling alley (always a good one), skittles, egg race (for the would-be first lady/man) and so on.

Would be British Prime Ministers are getting in on the act too - look at how Gordon Brown uses his wife to make it look like he is just your average good guy.

But to your original point about creating more interest in politics amongst the young people of Montgomeryshire - how about making/showing a cheesy Utube clip showing a kid running around with a magic wand granting fantastic wishes like: free health care, jobs for school leavers, jobs for graduates, safe car driving courses for today's youth, summer catch-up schools, internships, free organized bus trips to Parliament for Montgomeryshire youth - all to the sound of a marching school band ... then fade into a gentle view of a quite country lane with an attractive young man and woman hand in hand walking towards a road sign with an arrow and legend/caption: This way for all the above ... and then another road sign: Vote Glyn Davies.

Get a few kids to do it for you - upload to Utube - could be a Utube hit - should generate some publicity for you.

Repeat with new Utube clips showing other things that you want for today's youth.

alanindyfed said...

"High Noon" in peace-loving Mongomeryshire! Whatever next?
I think a Bren gun is a bit over the top. You should declare your arms cache before the "Telegraph" gets hold of the story.

Bonetired said...

Nice one here... A duel .. grass before breakfast. But who would be you seconder? And more interestingly who would be Lembit's?
A cheeky thought!

Of course the weapons must be matched so if you have a Bren gun then Lembit must have the same!

Might I suggest ancient broadswords for this duel? Standing in the arena dressed as an extra in Monty Python and the Holy Grail would provide huge entertainment esp since your features would be for all to see whereas Lembit's would be blacked out ....

I assume that you would have enough sense to have a drink in the Bradford in Llanymynech first ... to steady the nerves of course!

US Corr' said...

Well hoots man, the last duel was supposed to have happened at Glasgow University. If I recall correctly there's even an exhibit in the Hunterian Museum located in the Scott/Main building in Glasgow’s west end. A dual with piercing instruments (probably swords, but might have been daggers). If I recall properly, it was the last duel in Scotland. So Glyn – how about using one of those light-sticks from Star Wars? Reenactment of some 'Star Wars' duel?

Glyn Davies said...

FMIA - Its Matt Withers that gives me all the stick - and I'll put your ideas to my campaign committee.

Alan - I've been told that the Bren gun has been deactivated, so Id have to think of something else.

FMIA said...

"Zero hour, 9 AM ... Rocket Man"

Glyn> glad to be of help! yes, Matt Withers not Martin Shipton - how did I get those two dudes mixed up. (Rhetorical question.)

Will be meeting the First Minister tomorrow - third time in as many months - well, 'at hand shake level'. I'm sure this time the FM will give a good short speech. I will thank him for visiting Washington DC and will wish him well; such meetings, on reflection, are not the place for political discussion or playing ‘gotcha’.

Footnote: I still remember meeting the first active British PM to visit Chicago - history was made that day. Met him with two others – the room was actually packed, but I was with a small group of Labour International members - me, Warren Whitesel of then Laff, Whitesel, Conte and Sarat (downtown law firm that hired me from the UK for a ‘big biotech case’), and a British Prof. working at Northwestern University in Chicago, believe it or not though he was from the UK, the Prof was an expert in US railway stats, I first remember hearing the Prof's voice on local Chicago WBEZ – an NPR affiliate station – him being from England, but an expert on United States mass transit statistics. Funny old world. In contrast, Warren was actually a full blown American acorn of Democrat stock, with family ultimately stretching back to the UK. Firm believer in the Democrat cause - it was he who explained to me how Sears Tower was built - I grew to admire that building structure so much I moved into an apartment building a couple or so blocks west of Sears Tower, so when 9-11 happened, the downtown skyscraper area was essentially evacuated, but I stayed put looking up at Sears and wondering if a missing United flight was heading for it (it crashed in a field in PA). Warren and Chuck (Charles Laff) hired me from the UK (their job offer led to me successfully applying for a Green Card). I went from Bath/Porton Down lab to Downtown Chicago in maybe six weeks. I did not know that Warren was such an anglophile - Warren often chatted with me about his experiences in the UK – he did military service there, he explained to me how politicians had guys in the audience with planted questions. He loved having a Brit in his law firm, and for a long time after I moved on he mailed me a copy of the Economist magazine. “That or throw it in the bin”. So I got the Economist magazine in the mail c/o Warren Whitesel. He even gave me the first bed I slept on in my otherwise pretty much empty lake front apartment. He told me to come to his house and get it, “That or throw it in the bin”. Great all-in American American "if you dig" (lines out of a Kate Bush’s “Rocket Man”).