Des Browne and HMS Pinafore

#1
Extract from an article by Niall Ferguson in today's Sunday Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/04/15/do1504.xml

Yet in one important respect, our world is not so different from the world of HMS Pinafore. The principal butt of the operetta's humour is the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter, a political hack who has no naval experience whatsoever:

When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership.
And that junior partnership, I ween,
Was the only ship that I ever had seen.
But that kind of ship so suited me,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

If that sounds familiar, it's because it's uncannily like the curriculum vitae of Defence Secretary Des Browne. Having risen through the ranks of the Scottish legal profession, Mr Browne was handed the safe Labour seat of Kilmarnock and Loudon in 1997. :)
 
#2
May I just add a line or two from the libretto of HMS Pinafore.

Sir Joseph says:

"...a song I have composed for use of the Royal Navy. It is designed to encourage independence of thought and action in the lower branches of the service, and to teach the principle that a British sailor is any man's equal, excepting mine. ..."

Incidentally, H.M.S. Pinafore's secondary title might apply to the repulsive Prescott. It is: The Lass That Loved A Sailor.
 
#5
OldRedCap said:
Like the analogy. Baffled at trying to identify the Two Little Maids. Milburn and Prezza?
Three Little Maids, and from The Mikado...


Back to Pinafore, and I suspect that some of Captain Corcoran's lines could be nicely applied to New Labour's capacity to be economical with the truth:

"What, never?"
"No, never!"
"What, never?"
"Well, hardly ever!"
 
#6
ViroBono said:
OldRedCap said:
Like the analogy. Baffled at trying to identify the Two Little Maids. Milburn and Prezza?
Three Little Maids, and from The Mikado...


Back to Pinafore, and I suspect that some of Captain Corcoran's lines could be nicely applied to New Labour's capacity to be economical with the truth:

"What, never?"
"No, never!"
"What, never?"
"Well, hardly ever!"
Excellent :D and from the opening lines of The Pirates of Penzance

FREDERIC: Yes, I have done my best for you. And why? It was my duty under my indentures, and I am the slave of duty.

KING: Well, Frederic, if you conscientiously feel that it is your duty to destroy us, we cannot blame you for acting on that conviction. Always act in accordance with the dictates of your conscience, my boy, and chance the consequences.
 

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