The strange story of Sir Keir and the Dragon: a cautionary tale for small children (and half-intelligent adults)

In this satirical ‘fairytale’ (originally published on Friday 30 September), editor Alan Woods paints a picture of the ruthless right-wing takeover of the Labour Party in Britain. And if you think Alan was too harsh in his depiction of the vicious behaviour of Sir Keir Starmer and the Blairites, we encourage readers to watch the three-part documentary by Al Jazeera, ‘The Labour Files’, which details their skulduggery in great detail. If anything, you may come away feeling that Alan has pulled his punches!

Once upon a time (and a very good time it was) we lived under the rule of Good King Jeremy, who held court over the Knights of the Square Table in the mighty Labour Castle.

He was a Good King, mild in manner and courteous to all his Knights and generous to the meanest peasant in the land. In those far off days, Labour Castle was not as it is today. It was a happy, cheerful place, always open to the poor and hungry, who were welcome to sit at the same table as the King and eat their fill of all he had to offer.

Thus was the old King much beloved by the people, but he earned the ferocious hatred of the rich and powerful nobles of the land. They constantly attacked, slandered, harassed and pilloried him in every way, being at all costs desirous to bring about his downfall.

A council of war

No sooner did they learn of the arrival of the new king than they convened an emergency session of nobles to discuss the crisis. Many and various were the opinions there expressed, but one opinion was common to them all:

“This new King hath wrought many dangerous innovations. The character and nature of Labour Castle hath undergone a fundamental change. Heretofore, it was a safe place for us and a good friend and safe stronghold for the rich and powerful who are the principal support and sustenance for the stability of this realm.”

CrusadesThe nobles spoke fondly of the reign of Sir Anthony de Blur, despite his troublesome eleventh crusade / Image: Public Domain

With these words of wisdom, the Earl of Obesity, who was the chiefest man among them, spoke what was in the minds of all present. He continued, whilst all listened spellbound: “in the good old days when Sir Anthony de Blur was King, he was always ready to listen to our good counsel in all the affairs of state.

“It is true that he caused a lot of trouble when he declared the eleventh Crusade against the Mohammedans of Baghdad who were languishing under the merciless rule of Saddam the Bloody, that wretched affair ended badly.

“It is also true that his services did not come free of charge, but that is sadly the case of everyone of all monarchs up to the present time.”

“But most of the others charged reasonable amounts,” quoth another. “That fellow was never satisfied with less than a cart full of gold.”

“‘Tis true,” replied the Earl. “But his services were well worth the money. Now we are stuck with a King who services cannot be purchased for love nor money. And he has taken to arousing our peasants and turning them against us in all manner of ways.

“He has opened his doors to the poor and sick who are treated without charge, contrary to the laws of Aristotelian logic and Holy Writ. For whoever has heard in all history of the position who did not desire to be paid? And he hath maintained in public that we the wealthy are not holy men, but sinners against the laws of God.

“And he constantly rails against the rich. He asks: ‘when Adam delved, and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?’ Is this not a blasphemous question, to incite the ignorant masses to rebellion? I request the authority of the Holy Church on this matter.”

The Word of God

Now there was among those present a Dominican friar, a man of stony aspect and few words, who now stepped forward, saying: “the Bible tells us: ‘For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath’.”

Royal,  f. 301 detailThe friar proposed that Good King Jeremy be burnt at the stake / Image: Public Domain

“Why, this was excellent well said,” exclaimed the Earl, filled with admiration at the priest’s wisdom and good sense. “And does that not mean that our present king is nothing more than a heretic and a sinner, against whom it is our duty to fight the good fight with all our might?”

To which the Dominican replied with a knowing smile: “the Lord is merciful and forgives all sinners [this was excellent news to be assembled nobles, who were all guilty of innumerable sins and crimes unmentionable] – all, that is, save only unbelievers, heretics, atheists, Jews, Mohammedans and other such rabble.”

“And unbaptised children,” a voice called out. “Those too,” said the priest. “And everyone who was born before the birth of our gracious saviour,” observed another. “That is so,” said the priest. “And everyone in the world who is not a Christian,” “Yes”, the holy father consented, but now exceeding irritated by the constant interruptions. “And only those Christians who are baptised and confirmed in the Holy Roman Faith and who attend Mass and confess regularly…”

At this the Holy Father grew extremely wroth and shouted at them that they should not interrupt but return to the point at issue: Was the King an Heretic and accursed Apostate? Undoubtedly. Could they launch a Crusade against Labour Castle with the blessings of the Church? Of course.

On hearing these words, the assembled Lords arose as a single man, clashing their shields and waving their swords in the air, shouting: “Death to the heretic king! Slay him! Tear him to pieces!”

A debate then ensued as to by what methods their enemy ought to be dispatched. Several interesting proposals were made by those present, including hanging drawing and quartering, boiling in oil and being tied to the tails of two horses galloping in opposite directions. But for further moral guidance, they turned once more to the Dominican friar, who spoke these words:

“My children. Be it known unto you that Mother Church is all merciful, and cannot condone the barbarous pagan methods of the past. We therefore propose a far more reasonable, swift and effective procedure, which is burning at the stake. It has been tried many times, and proven to work well. I understand that it is the very fashion of the day on the continent.”

The Plan

This reasonable proposal instantly met with approval by the nobles, who demanded the immediate declaration of the twelfth Crusade against Labour Castle. But their loud clamour was silenced by the intervention of a wise old Knight, now 110 years of age, who had fought in every Crusade for the last hundred of them. He persuaded them to sit down and lay their arms to one side, while he explained them in very simple language certain details which they had all overlooked.

“Be aware, my lords, that warfare is not a game for children. Tis a most grievous error to underestimate the forces of the enemy before joining battle. What you propose is highly praiseworthy, but extremely foolish.

“Behold! Labour Castle is a mighty stronghold that will not be easily taken by direct assault. It is defended by a powerful army of brave soldiers, prepared to fight to the death to defend the King.

“Moreover, the gates to the castle are defended by a secret weapon: a ferocious, fire breathing dragon, enormous in size and hungry for human flesh, sleeps there, awaiting the call to action, it is called Momentum, and we ignore it at our peril.

“Therefore, I beseech you, do not launch upon a thoughtless direct attack, which can end in utter disaster. No! We must seek another road, one that is perhaps longer, but in the last analysis far more certain of success.

“Let us be as the wily serpent who conceals himself in the long grass and waits patiently until the moment comes to strike. Let us launch a campaign of lies and slanders that will blacken the name of the King, undermine his support and prepare the way for the decisive moment.

“Meanwhile, let us put out secret feelers to Labour Castle. Let us seek points of support inside its walls, whereby its defences will be undermined and so weakened that it will not withstand our assault. That is the only way to assure our victory.”

As the sunflowers turn towards the sun on a hot summer’s day, so the assembled nobles turned their faces to the wise old man, lifted their arms and applauded him bravely. And without delay, they set in motion the plan he had so eloquently explained to them.

The silent Knight

Just as the old Knight had warned, the King had many powerful allies and supporters who were prepared to fight to the death to defend him. His chosen Knights were brave and true, and all were loyal to their Liege Lord. All, that is, save one alone, yclept Sir Keir.

Sir Galahad is Brought 273Sir Keir was lifted out of obscurity by the Good King Jeremy / Image: Public Domain

Now this Sir Keir was a man of few words and as subtle as was the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. The son (so it was rumoured) of a humble meat porter in the market of Smoothfield (which some call 'smeth field', and still others Smithfield), he was of a low status and held in poor esteem by his social betters, though he did everything in his power to obscure his ignoble origins by enrolling as a law student in the University of Oxenford.

He was lifted out of obscurity by the kindness and generosity of the old King who was known to be a very poor judge of character. Being of an exceeding kind disposition, he took it upon himself to elevate the young man to the rank of Knight of the Square Table. This decision was much commented upon at the time by other Knights who felt somehow uneasy in the company of this young upstart, as they saw him. But none of them ever suspected that they were nursing a poisonous Serpent to their breasts.

For many years he said nothing, on the exceeding sound principle that it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are ignorant than open it and let them know you are ignorant. So it was that, for many years, people thought that this strange silence was a sure sign of the profoundest wisdom that ever was in this world.

And since that he never, ever expressed even the slightest criticism of the King, but on the contrary, whenever he opened his mouth it was to give thanks to the Good Lord for sending us such a Ruler, and to praise him exceedingly, everyone thought that in all the land, there was no more loyal and steadfast subject than he.

This was a most grievous error. For in the very depths of his black heart, Sir Keir nursed a secret grievance against his Lord and King, mainly that he was occupying a place that he (Sir Keir) should rightfully own and possess.

The Gadarene Swine

Now Labour Castle was inhabited by a herd of Gadarene Swine, the which had been inherited by the King from a predecessor yclept Sir Anthony de Blur. These pigs were evil creatures, lazy, greedy, ill tempered, bad natured and foul-smelling. They greatly annoyed the personnel of the castle by their constant roaming from room to room in search of food and/or promotion, for these creatures were exceedingly greedy for both these things.

By all the laws of heaven and earth, these foul creatures should have made a useful contribution to humankind by being transformed into sausages, ham and bacon.

But being of a soft heart and sympathetic to all living things, our Lord the King not only spared their lives, but allow them to continue their idle and profitless existence, allowing them free access to all the waste peelings of potatoes, carrots and swedes from the Royal kitchen.

But these greedy pigs, not satisfied with the Royal generosity, were constantly complaining about their lot and murmuring extreme dissatisfaction with their monarch.

“What a miserable lot is ours,” they moaned. “That’s such noble animals as we should be fed on the trash left over from the feastings at the Square Table, where the lowest kind of peasant rabble are invited to feast on roast swan stuffed with larks’ tongues. This King is no king, but a friend of the rabble. Why, if you ask me, he’s no better than a Communist!”

The pigs grunted their approval of these sentiments and then hastened back to their pig trough. They naturally never repeated these words to the King who, whenever he passed the pig trough was always received with deep reverence by the assembled porkers.

Nor did they convey their thoughts to any Knight of the Square table, save only one alone, and that was Sir Keir, who said nothing in reply to their complaints, and, as always, kept his council. But in his devious brain, he took due note of everything.

However, in the fulness of time it came to pass that a secret communication was revealed between the aforementioned animals and the King’s sworn enemies, the rich and powerful nobles and their allies the merchants of the City of London, who were forever engaged in plots to dethrone the King, and, if it were possible, send him to the Other World, for their hatred of him knew no bounds.

The Plot uncovered

When the common people, who worshipped the King, got wind of this wicked conspiracy, they were sore amazed and exceeding angry. They gathered in a great multitude outside the Castle Gates and loudly demanded that the treacherous swine be immediately thrown out of the Castle:

“Let us take away their power and privileges, which they have abused for too long,” they said. “Cast them out of doors and send them into the forest, where they can earn their bread through honest labour, instead of plotting conspiracies in the comfort of their rooms in the castle. Let them root around looking for acorns, edible roots and mushrooms. They can find plenty to eat if only they are prepared to work hard enough instead of lazing around, doing nothing to help the common cause, but everything to hinder it.”

PannageThe people demanded that the treacherous swine be thrown out of the Castle / Image: Public Domain

At this, the pigs were sore afraid, for they had a mortal terror of the common people. They sent a delegation to the King and complained loudly about their miserable plight. “Dread Sovereign Lord”, they wailed, “Save us from the wrath of the Common People! We are your loyal servants, but they wish to kick us out like dogs after all our years of service. Just think of the damage this will cause to your wise and democratic image. Think of the harm that always comes from inner fighting, factions and Splits! Defend Party Unity! We beseech you!”

And such was the piteousness of their weeping and wailing that the King’s heart was melted. With tears in his eyes, he embraced them one by one (though all the time holding his nose to avert the ghastly stench that came from their gaping mouths). “Fear not,” quoth he, “for the sacred cause of Party Unity is dear to my heart. I will speak to the Commons and calm their fury.”

This was the biggest possible mistake the king could have made. And he paid for it dearly in the end. Deceived and misled by the hypocritical words of the pigs, he convinced himself that he had achieved his desired end, which was unity and harmony within the Castle walls. In practice, however, he had just provided his enemies with the very means for destroying him and the Castle both.

The pigs went away happy and contented at the King’s unexpected leniency. But when he was safely out of earshot, they laughed with glee and said: “What an uncommon fool is that King to believe anything we say. Verily, such an imbecile does not deserve to sit upon the throne.” And they forthwith renewed their traitorous activities, only more circumspectly than heretofore.

How Castle Labour was seized by its foes

The years passed. The snow covered the fields and forests, then came the Spring, the sun shone, the birds sang and the flowers bloomed once more. But all was not well in Labour Castle. The pigs grew bolder and more insolent with every passing day. All the concessions made to them by the King served not to prevent their scheming and sabotage. On the contrary, the King’s kindness and generosity was seen as a sure sign of weakness on his part.

StabThe King turned his back on Sir Keir, who stabbed him through with a sharp dagger / Image: Public Domain

Now the relations between the pigs and Sir Keir had improved to the point that he actually began to speak with them. That was unusual, because he hardly ever spoke to anyone. He let them know the secret weaknesses of the Castle, pointing out those places that could most easily be assailed and taken by an enemy. This information was duly passed on to the enemy, who chose a suitable moment, and then attacked with all the forces at their disposal.

The King – who, as we have seen, was a trusting soul – suspected nothing. He felt he had a strong defence in his Castle. He did not know that the entire structure had been undermined from within. The pigs wished with all their heart to see the King suffer a humiliating defeat in battle, so that they could more easily organise a plot to overthrow him.

But to their dismay, the first attack was easily beaten off. The enemy fled in panic and left the field to the loyal forces of the King. The pigs gnashed their teeth in a paroxysm of frustration. But they were now in a weak position. They had to pretend to be happy at the King’s victory, or they would have been set upon by an enraged multitude. So they were compelled to bide their time and wait for a better chance. That came soon enough.

Then, one day, when Castle Labour was once more beset with enemies on all sides, the King made a most fatal mistake. Leaning over the parapet, while attempting to reason with his enemies (a mistake he often made) he turned his back on Sir Keir, who stabbed him through with a sharp dagger.

The King, who had by some miracle, survived the assassin’s treacherous blow, turned round, intending to register a formal complaint for this unacceptable conduct, when the villainous traitor made haste to throw him over the battlements, uttering the fateful cry: “There let him lie with the dogs and vultures!”

And straightaway, the stammering from which Sir Keir had suffered from early childhood disappeared completely.

How the Dragon was slain

Thus was the fatal step accomplished that opened the way for the villainous fellow to occupy the throne after which he had yearned and thirsted for so long. But there still remained a last line of defence. The Dragon called Momentum was sleeping down below. If he were to awaken at long last and issue a rallying call to the Common People, the tables could still be turned and the enemy defeated.

momentum dragonThe dragon called Momentum turned out not to be so fearsome / Image: Public Domain

But in the moment of truth, the Dragon called Momentum turned out to be an aged, wretched, clapped-out and toothless animal, no longer capable of uttering even the feeblest echo of a growl, not to speak of breathing fire. Instead of barring the entrance to the castle and roaring loudly to alert its defenders to rush into action, it merely rolled over and went back to sleep, snoring loudly.

That was only natural. After all, what was the point of fighting when all the time both the King and the Knights of the Square Table (falsely known as the “Left”) had been preaching the virtues of peace and harmony, protecting the pigs and discouraging any attempt of the common people to take action against them? No! Party Unity above all. But there was no unity. And very soon, thanks to this cowardly inaction, there would be no Party either.

Having opened the gates of Labour wide for the triumphal entry of Sir Keir, all that was left to this pathetic creature was to roll over on its back and invite him to tickle its belly. And very predictably, it was rewarded for its devotion to loyalty (which some have branded cowardice) with a contemptuous kick.

Sir Keir had slain the Dragon and he longer had any reason whatsoever to fear the “Left”, which was now thoroughly demoralized, fearful of its own shadow, lacking any perspective worthy of the name. It was like an emasculated tom cat, a harmless, domesticated animal, that only needed an occasional kick in the ribs to be reminded who was boss.

The final battle

But there was yet another obstacle barring his way. The old King had very many faithful supporters who were much offended by his sudden fall. They were far too numerous and seemingly powerful for Sir Keir to defeat by a show of force. He therefore resorted to his former sly and duplicitous ways.

“My dear friends,” quoth he. “You all know me well enough. Was I not for many years the most loyal subject of the late King? Was I not his truest, most devoted friend and companion? Rest assured that if you make me king, I will most faithfully fulfil his will to the last detail. Trust me! For behold! Am I not a qualified Man of Law?”

The Knights of the Square table (commonly known as the Labour Left) looked upon each other in amazement. “‘Tis true,” said one. “He is a nice chap really. And we could do a lot worse. I mean, just look at the other candidates!” They all shuddered at the thought of the two Wicked Witches of the North who were hovering on their broomsticks above the empty throne, eyeing it most greedily

Then they said: “God’s Blood and by the Sacred Rood! They are a damn sight righter wing than he is, Let’s vote for him and worship him and raise him up in the name of Party Unity. And let him be called The Lesser Evil. After all, he is the Candidate of the Centre, and that is always a good place to stand upon and sound.” And they all wondered at these great words of wisdom and murmured their approval.

Now what they ought to have said is: that this is always a good option for people who are afraid to fight. For that was always the trouble with King Jeremy and his Knights. Their words were fair but were belied by their actions, and beneath their warlike exterior, they were most loth to enter into battle over anything whatsoever. So, yet again, they chose the easy way, the path of least resistance.

That is the path that leads to Perdition.

The new King is crowned

Having laid hold of the Labour Castle by a skilful combination of lies, deceit and treachery, Sir Keir lost no time in expelling from it everyone who had loyally defended it and the old King against its enemies.

He then threw open the Castle gates and invited an army of his admirers to enter and take possession. They were a motley crew and of most villainous appearance: a swarm of ugly and misshapen dwarves, midgets and pygmies – all sworn enemies of the old King and unconditional backers of the New Man.

CastleSir Keir threw open the castle gates to a motley crew of villainy / Image: Public Domain

The moment had now come for Sir Keir to cast aside his hypocrite’s mask and reveal his true face.

“I wish it to be known.” He announced to this villainous crew, “that I was never a friend, colleague or admirer of the late King. In fact I hardly knew the fellow. Nor did I at any time ever support, back, acknowledge or agree with any of his ideas whatsoever. Nor did I ever append my signature to any manifesto, statement, article or letter in which he had anything to do, either directly or indirectly. So help me God, Amen.”

From that moment on, nobody was permitted to mention the name of King Jeremy. All portraits of the old King were immediately torn down, piled up in the courtyard and ceremonially burned. Except for one – the largest – which was placed on the floor in front of the main entrance to the Castle, where it served a useful purpose as a doormat. Everyone who passed was invited to wipe their feet on it.

For their part, the pigs, who now felt themselves to be in complete control and virtually unassailable, amuse themselves by cocking up their rear leg and baptising the portrait of the former master with a goodly jet of foul-smelling piss.

The rampage continued for days on end. The splendid mahogany Square Table, which from time immemorial had occupied the very centre of the Great Hall, was chopped into pieces and likewise consigned to the flames, while pigs and dwarfs danced around the bonfire, singing and laughing for joy.

In its place Sir Keir erected a golden pig trough of gigantic proportions. It was filled with all manner of sweetmeats and delicacies. In addition to the peelings of potatoes and other common vegetables (which the pigs still ate with gusto) numerous other viands were added:

Tripe and onions, steak and kidney pie, kippers and custard, apple crumble, foie gras, beluga caviar, smoked mackerel, cherry tomatoes, pressed cod’s roe, best Aberdeen beefsteak, boiled haggis, pickled herring, truffles, Heinz baked beans, and many other delicacies.

The preparation of the food was not at all difficult or complicated, since the cooks merely poured it altogether and stewed it in a great cauldron for an hour so. The mixture of different ingredients did not worry the pigs in the slightest, as their taste in matters of both haute cuisines, as on all other matters, was of a somewhat crude and basic nature.

However, when one of the cooks was about to add pig’s trotters to the mix, he was immediately rebuked by the head chef, who expressed concern that such an addition might be considered an indelicacy, if not an affront to the diners. To which the old Wizard who kept watch over the proceedings in the kitchen, in case of attempted poisoning reassured them thus:

“Be thou assured that the addition of the said ingredient will cause the pigs no distress, discomfort or disagreeable sensation whatsoever. The research is carried out by my alchemist has revealed, through long and patient observation, that these animals all display a marked tendency towards cannibalism.”

In fact, the pigs were delighted with their new trough and its contents, and even more delighted when Sir Keir, their new Patron, promised them far higher things once they were all comfortably installed in Number Ten Downing Street, which, he assured them on his Honour, would not be long in coming.

Moreover, Sir Keir had all the pigs dressed as courtiers, with top hats and black tails and dicky-bow ties. Every one was festooned with medals of office, gold braid and other impressive insignia. So they could go around the Castle bullying and bossing the lesser personnel to their heart’s content.

Each pig was raised to High Office, as Shadow Minister for All Kinds of Affairs. And if any unfortunate animal was, by some unfortunate mishap, left off the list, a new kind of Affair was immediately invented for him or her.

In short, they enjoyed a very full portfolio and a most ambitious agenda for the First Term of a future government of (new) New Labour. And so to the public unveiling of his New Venture. The whole Country held its breath in eager anticipation. But when it finally happened, it outdid even the greatest expectations!

Brave Sir Keir paid attention to even the smallest detail of presentation. The result was a veritable Feast for all the Senses. He hastened to festoon his captured stronghold with his emblems and insignia. With a majestic wave of his hand, away went all the dreary old red flags of a monstrous, class-ridden past and in came the new and glorious banner of Labour’s future.

The Hall was bedecked with Union Jacks on all sides and for the first time in its history a noble assembly in Labour Castle opened with the singing of the National Anthem, a most strange and unnatural ditty called God save the King (as it has now been renamed).

Sir Keir informed the assembled notables that from this day hence labour Castle would become known as the (new) New Labour League for the promotion of the Centre. But this immediately encountered a problem, when some incautious and foolish dwarf enquired as to what that word might signify, he was met with an astonished silence. For no person whatsoever – including Sir Keir himself – seemed able to reply to the question.

After some time, the Court Wizard entered the Hall carrying a marvellous thick and weighty book, which he referred to as a Dictionary, wherein he was pleased to read the following definition of the Centre. And these were the very words that he spoke:

“A meaningless abstraction that signifies a vanishing point where all extremes are neutralised, that night in which all cows are grey.”

Upon hearing these words of wisdom, all those assembled dwarves and pygmies nodded their heads in unison and expressed their wholehearted approval for the said definition, for their souls were filled with joy at such a marvellous display of learning.

Great was their degree of satisfaction. But even greater was the unbounded joy at beholding their new leader bedecked in novel and hitherto unknown clothing of great renown.

With the unseemly eagerness of a newly converted apostate, Sir Keir draped himself in the stinking rags of what men call Patriotism: “COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY!” he loudly proclaimed – a stirring clarion call that had an electrifying effect on all present.

As a single man, all the assembled dwarves and midgets began jumping up and down, waving their Union Jacks with loud cheers and whooping and dancing in the aisles. The pigs’ attention, which, it must be admitted, had been wandering up to that point, was aroused by the sound of general the merrymaking. Lifting their greasy snouts from the pig trough, they squealed, oinked, belched and farted as a most sincere token of their unanimous approval.

In a word, a right joyous scene there was, and wonderful to behold!

But wait! From the dimly lit back of the Hall, a Phantom Figure arises. It is the ghost of Benjamin Disraeli, the far-famed Sage of the Conservative Party, long since departed to a Better World. On his skinny arms he carries an enormous banner, upon which are emblazoned the words: TWO NATIONS…

The Hall falls at once into a deadly silence as the dreadful Spectre passes silently among them. Two Nations! Not one, but Two! What can it mean? Can it refer to the indisputable fact that every Nation is cloven into two, absolutely irreconcilable and ferocious Antagonists: the Rich and the Poor?

But how then can Sir Keir speak of it as if it were One? By what Alchemist’s magic has he resolved the terrible Class Strife that has set Humankind asunder from the wars of Spartacus to Sir Michael Lynch, the notorious rebel and his rampaging hordes of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers that are spreading terror in peaceful Boardrooms throughout our land and causing great Grief and Affliction to Sir Keir and his band of dwarves?

But by a simple wave of his magic Rule Book, calmly pronouncing the ancient and wonder-working Words, “By the Holy Rood and the Sacred Order of Bans and Proscriptions do I henceforth banish thee from this Green and Pleasant land.”

And there was all of a sudden, a flash of lightening and a clap of thunder, such as is heard on the final Day of Judgement and everyone in that Hall was struck dumb and amazed. The ghost of Disraeli vanished in a puff of acrid smoke, carrying with him his objectionable heresy of the Two Nations.

And all at once the Hosts of the (new) New Labour were filled with the Holy Spirit. And they rose up as a single man, took up their swords, cudgels, knuckledusters, shillelaghs and Rule Books and marched forward to the Promised Land of Sir Keir the Brave.

The Promised Land where there are not Two Nations, but only One – the One that is the true Creator of all Wealth, the One that gives us all our work and our Daily Bread, the One that owns the land on which we stand, the befouled and tainted air which we breathe, the little money that still remains in our bank accounts, the Army, the Police, the Civil Service, the Monarchy, the Press, Radio and Television and the Church of England.


And with these inspiring words still ringing in our ears, and with tears in our eyes, we regretfully bid adieu and God Speed to Labour Castle, while Sir Keir once more opens his Great Dictionary where his eyes fall upon Doctor Johnstone’s wise definition of PATRIOTISM:



We will leave the final words to the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who wrote in his celebrated poem The tale of the Golden Cockerel, the following instructive lines:

Сказка ложь, да в ней намек!
Добрым молодцам урок.

Or, in plain English:

The fairy tale’s untrue

But in its there’s a clue,

A lesson for good boys and girls.

And maybe for you, too.

(From Pushkin, Zolotoy Petushok, translated by Alan Woods ©, 29 September, 2022)

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