Thursday, 1 April 2010

Their Lordships and the mice.

I tell you who's a funny man. Lord Brabazon of Tara, he's a funny man. This is him:




He is the Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords, and was a Tory whip under Margaret Thatcher. I sense this does not help convince you of his comic talent. But then, you have not heard him on the subject of mice.

There was a short but terrific debate in the Lords this month, basically about whether or not the House of Lords should get a cat.  If you have two minutes, please do read all of it, but here are the bits where Lord Brabazon particularly shines:

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, I am well aware that there are still mice around. I saw one in the Bishops' Bar only yesterday evening. I do not know whether it was the same one that I saw the day before or a different one; it is always difficult to tell the difference between the various mice that one sees.

Already, you can see this guy has got something. 'The various mice that one sees.' Your Lordship, you have my attention. He's also excellent on the subject of the Westminster 'mouse helpline' that it turns out exists. When asked what other helplines there are:


The Chairman of Committees: I rather hope that we do not have too many other ones. I was not going to advertise the existence of the mouse helpline, although it was advertised some time ago. Indeed, I invited Members of the House to telephone when they saw mice. The trouble is that when the person at the other end of the helpline goes to check this out, very often the mouse has gone elsewhere.
That 'very often' is superb. As is 'elsewhere'. But, I admit, at this stage it is still possible that his Lordship is not being deliberately funny; that this is not dry humour, but just the way he talks. However, all doubt is removed with this brilliantly self-depricating put-down to some smartarse making the dreariest imaginable sixth-form-debate style non-joke:
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: Why should I and noble Lords trust the Executive to deal with mice when they cannot deal with the economy?
The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, I do not actually deal with the economy. I am glad to say that that would be above my pay grade, whereas trying to deal with the mice is probably just about right for me.
I beg to differ. Lord Brabazon of Tara, your country needs you. You have about two weeks to renounce your title and seize the leadership of your party. If we're going to have a Conservative Prime Minister, I want it to be you.  

6 comments:

riffle said...

The man truly is a genius.

Via this thread (highly recommended--especially the comments) at Crooked Timber concerning the same except, I found an exquisite exchange in the House of Lords regarding corned beef tins, concluding with this dialogue:

-----

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: My Lords, is the Minister aware that if, having taken off one end of the corned beef can with the twisty thing provided—assuming that you have not lost it—you then take a common, ordinary, household tin-opener and take off the other end, it is very easy to push the corned beef out of the tin without any danger to yourself?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Yes, my Lords, I was aware of that, and I am very glad that that essential piece of information is passed round for the benefit of this House.

-----

Richard O. Smith said...

OK, you got me there with a sophisticated April Fool double bluff.

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Dasia said...

I love clicking random tags that only have one entry filed under them (this one's 'mice') and finding excellent stuff like this.

Since this was in April last year, I can only assume Lord Brabazon of Tara is a breath away from leading the country by now?

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