One of the greats

Iona Opie
Folklorist renowned for her work on nursery rhymes and children’s games who amassed a library of 20,000 books sold for £500,000

For those who don’t know, she and her husband Peter collected nursery rhymes, childrens’ playground games and so on. One of the surprising conclusions of which is just how permanent culture actually is.

For it isn’t so much that parents teach their children these things. Rather, that the slightly older children teach the slightly younger and so on down the generations. The transmission is happening every two or three years, again and again. And things like Ring a Ring o’ Roses have been doing that since the 1670s or so.

This isn’t Gypsies

Norfolk Police let a gang of travellers go on the rampage because they failed to grasp the “community tensions”, leaving a seaside town in lockdown, a review has found.

Shops, bars and restaurants were forced to close on one of the busiest weekends of the year after 23 motorhomes parked up during Cromer’s August carnival this year.

In total, 37 crimes were reported to police including a rape, threatening behaviour and thefts. One pub landlord was pulled over the counter as some of the travellers demanded money. Meanwhile, an Indian restaurant was “ambushed” as around 40 people stormed in stealing alcohol and upsetting diners.

This is a rather different grouping, isn’t it?

They’ll be after My Fair Lady next

A theatre company has been embroiled in a gentrification row after it announced a series of £55-a-head “immersive” Cockney-themed dinner parties to be held in a traditionally working-class area.

The firm apologised after it released promotional material that showed a cast of tracksuited characters, including a pregnant woman drinking and smoking and a tattooed man striking an aggressive pose, in a pub.

The Cockney’tivity Christmas dinners are scheduled to take place across three weeks in December in an “authentic Hackney boozer” in London’s East End. Attendees will get a three course meal and a “Cockney Christmas story” from the actors.

The company, Zebedee Productions, said it would be a “proper celebration of east London culture” and said many of the people involved had links to the East End. But critics pointed out the entry fee meant that, while local working-class people were being sent up, it was unlikely they would be able to afford to be in on the joke.

“The local people, they just get laughed at, they get joked at and there’s no respect there,” said Joe Ellis, who was born and grew up in the East End.

Josh Clarke, who helped run a campaign to gain asset of community value status for a local pub to save it from closure, said: “These establishments want to keep a certain kind of person out. There’s no one involved in that who said: ‘Let’s respect Cockney culture.’”

The traditional Cockney response to someone managing to get punters to pay £55 pounds for a £10 meal would be along the lines of giggling over that first half and half* and by the time the second was easing down formulating a plan to similarly fleece the mugs.

*Light and lager when I was serving bar out in Stratford, light and bitter by then being for the older crowd.

Perhaps Mr BiS, our expert on these matters, would care to comment?

I think we know this, don’t we?

The north-south divide has been the butt of jokes in Britain for years, but research has shown the Watford Gap, which separates the country, was in fact established centuries ago when the Vikings invaded Britain.

According to the archaeologist Max Adams, who made the discovery while researching his new book, the Northamptonshire-Warwickshire boundary known as the Watford Gap is a geographic and cultural reality that can be traced back to the Viking age.

I think it would be very difficult to argue that this is a new discovery, wouldn’t it?

Joris Luyendijk really doesn’t understand the British

With a liar like Boris Johnson as foreign secretary how can Europe trust Britain?
Joris Luyendijk

Well, part of it is that the Foreign Secretary is a diplomat. You know, one of those employed to lie to foreigners?

But this is more important:

What kind of country would appoint a man such as Boris Johnson to such an important office?

Important? It’s the office which deals with foreigners. How can that be important?


“It’s just old-fashioned racism, unless people can come up with facts that lead to a prosecution. There’s never a link between the arrival of Gypsy and Travellers and criminality. If it was proven, the police would be on everyone’s cases all the time. The police have the power to move people on,” she said.

That’s a, umm, fairly strong statement there, isn’t it?

Owen Jones never does understand simple arguments, does he?

LBC Radio host Owen Jones was commenting on reports about the Queen not planning to relinquish the crown to Prince Charles.

He said: “As a country would it be the end of the world [to elect our head of state]?

“Wouldn’t it enshrine our democracy?”

The simple argument here being President John Prescott.

The man who, memorably, used to be the number 1 Google result for “fuckwit,” something caused by this blog and the subject of a Number 10 complaint to Google. Even, a change in the algorithm to make google bombing more difficult.

At the heart of my objection is something that could be regarded as trivial and yet I feel is important. Who gets to pin the VC or GC on the chest of a hero?

Yes, I would prefer the ever so slightly inbred descendants of minor German dukedoms to a politician. Thank you.

Hmm, no, I don’t think this is how it works

I WILL be the Duchess of Beaufort, says Tracy Ward: Estranged wife of the Duke’s heir reveals couple are still married and talks will go on to negotiate their separation


The Duke of Beaufort’s death this week at the age of 89 has provoked much speculation about who will be the new duchess.
Would she be Tracy Ward, the 58-year-old actress turned environmental campaigner, who’s been estranged from the Duke’s colourful son and heir, the Marquess of Worcester, for the past four years?
Or would she be his mistress, Georgia Powell, 48, the beautiful writer he’s determined to marry?

As far as I know at least this works as with the King. The Duke is dead, long live the Duke. The new Duchess is therefore whoever he is legally married to at that moment.

That is, Ms. Ward is the new Duchess.

Not that it bothers me all that much to be honest. My only connection with that is having poached pheasants off the estate at Badminton. Well, sorta.

At dusk they’ll come out onto the back roads to get a bit of grit for their gizzards. If you were to hit one with a car and then pick it up to take home and eat then that’s poaching. If you hit one with a car and then someone else picks it up to take home and eat that’s roadkill, not poaching.

To eat well you therefore need two cars.

That’s rather your problem, not ours, matey

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have challenged the retired judge heading the inquiry into the disaster at an impassioned meeting.

Residents met with Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who is heading the panel, on Monday evening in a consultation designed to let them air their views on what they want the investigation to examine.

But the crowd made it clear they have little confidence in the inquiry. One local resident drew applause and cheers as she said: “You do not have our confidence, you do not represent us and you do not look like any of us.”

This is England. That’s rather what the population of England, the English, look like.

Cliches much?

Grandfather, 33, kicked off plane says he was discriminated against because of his facial tattoos


Davi and Kerry-Anne were accompanied by their daughters Skyla and Shelby-Ann, Kerry-Anne’s daughter Keeley Millerchip, her partner Andrew Bostock and their sons Kenzie and Jayden.

Not actually, it appears, a grandfather. But still…..

Bleedin ‘Ell, the Swedish are more British than the British now

A Swedish rail operator has vowed to name one of its trains Trainy McTrainface after a public vote, saying it would bring joy to people disappointed when Britain rejected the name Boaty McBoatface for a polar research ship following a similar poll.

Trainy McTrainface won 49% of the votes in the naming competition, conducted online by train operator MTR Express and Swedish newspaper Metro, beating choices such as Hakan, Miriam and Poseidon.

“[This is] news that will be received with joy by many, not just in Sweden,” MTR wrote in a statement.

The train will run between the Swedish capital Stockholm and Gothenburg, the country’s second-biggest city.

Last year, the British government said a new £200m polar research ship would be named after veteran BBC naturalist David Attenborough even though the name “Boaty McBoatface” had topped an online poll.

Although, to be fair, ignoring the wishes of the hoi polloi does have a certain Britishness to it…..

My, isn’t the country changing?

Almost one in three children born in England and Wales have foreign-born mothers, new figures show.

In 2016 28.2 per cent of births were to women who were not born in the UK, an increase from 27.5 per cent the year before, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Researchers said that the increase was partly due to higher fertility rates among foreign-born women. A larger number of them are also aged 25 to 34, when fertility is highest.

The rate has been rising since 1990, when it hit a low of 11.6 per cent.

There are changes and changes of course. A cousin married an American, the son is being hot housed at Eton for Cambridge. Not sure that’s going to change England all that much. Certain vibrancies however…..

This is definitely a comment upon British workmanship

But which comment?

When a Canadian construction team came across a giant cannonball as they excavated a building site in Quebec, they did what anyone else would do in this age of Snapchat and Instagram.

They moved the 200lb projectile into better view and posed with it for photographs.

It was only later, when an archaeologist was studying the missile, the workers learned of their lucky escape: The cannonball was still live, packed with a charge and gunpowder just as it would have been when fired by British gunners during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

Still ready after 250 years? Ah, the craft, the workmanship.

Or 250 years late in working?

Here is the British upper middle class in all its glory

The BBC has long invested in a brand of childhood made up of sticky-backed plastic and papier mache. The idea is that if television, like culture in general, makes us better people, the business of self-improvement should begin nice and early. But it is also reinvesting in Britishness at the precise moment when the product is starting to look suspect; with the new, forward-thinking CBBC, the kids will be seduced from the American channels, turned homewards and kept where we can see them.

We don’t like our children very much so w’ll let them be brought up by the TV – Yikes, have you seen the price of nannies these days? – but make sure they’re indoctrinated properlyu rather than watching anything by the septics.

Czechs dress for the climate, not the weather

Something I’ve just noted. Cold summer’s day, rain and rain. OK, Central Europe etc. But they’re all still in shorts and t-shirts getting wet. And thinking about it, same in winter, they’re all out with coats, scarves, hats, gloves, even when it’s a decent warm day.

They’re dressing for the climate, not the weather.

Then, as has been said, we English are the only people who take weather seriously because we’re the only people who have it, everyone else does just have a climate.

Not going to work

The Queen was reported to police for not wearing a seatbelt as she travelled to the State Opening of Parliament in her official call.

West Yorkshire Police said they received a 999 call about the royal journey.

You never really know these days, good joke or just some twat.

Under UK law, civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Queen.

Quite, R. v R. would be a bit of a problem.

Her gaff her rules

In a statement on Facebook, Grapes landlady Anna Slater wrote: “The owners of the Grapes would like to reiterate our policy on large, noisy groups in and outside the premises.

“We do not allow large noisy groups to dominate the pub and ruin everyone else’s evening. This includes stags, hens, political parties. It’s why we don’t show football.

“After last night the recently elected MP for Walton is barred. For life. Several others in his group are also excluded and we are reviewing CCTV of last night to identify you.”

She has an absolute right to such rules as well.

Now, if only the law allowed her to also decide about smoking in her gaff too……

So, not quite the real story then

His lordship had no male heir to his title and an entail provided for the estate to pass to another branch of the family. It is not dissimilar to a plot from Downton Abbey in which the Earl of Grantham has three daughters and no son, so the title and estate will pass to a distant cousin. It was also the real-life situation of the 10th Lord Braybrooke, whose Audley End estate, near Saffron Waldon, in Essex, surrounds the finest Jacobean mansion in England.

The issue came to the fore in 2013 when Amanda Murray, the eldest of Lord Braybrooke’s seven surviving daughters, revealed her irritation at being deprived of both the title and the vast inheritance because of her gender. “It boils down to this: if I was a boy, I would be sitting pretty,” complained Murray, who for many years had run the estate for her father. “My poor father had no son, just lots of daughters. In this day and age, with supposed equality, why am I not allowed to inherit my father’s estate? It’s discriminatory.”

Well, yes and no really, Because the title and the land are going in different directions:

Although the law on royal succession was changed in 2013 to allow the firstborn child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to become monarch, regardless of his or her gender, the concept of primogeniture remains for the aristocracy. As a result the 11th Lord Braybrooke will be Richard Neville, a distant kinsman and internet entrepreneur who lives above a hair salon in Battersea, south London. In another twist, because of a special covenant laid down by the 7th Lord Braybrooke in 1941, the estate itself passes to Louise Newman, a landowner from Devon and the seventh baron’s granddaughter.

You ain’t getting the land because grandpappy said so, nothing to do with the law nor primogeniture.