If you are old enough, you will remember The Two Ronnies TV show when the titular duo were at the peak of their fame. You might even remember the mini-serial that threaded through their shows in 1976: The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town.
I thought about that when new episodes started to appear in the current soap opera surrounding the pervasive and inappropriate behaviour of powerful men in the Palace of Westminster. Each new instalment seems to introduce another ‘actor’ in the risible life of what passes for the UK Parliament and its band of lecherous cronies. Only, now, the name of the mini-series has changed as we are beginning to find that the miscreants are well-known to the gossip-mongers of the Westminster village (and the Parliamentary whips).
In fact, they are so well-known that some have been given their own nicknames. So what should our mini-series be called? How about The Phantom Taxi Tickler of Old London Town, a phantom whose modus operandi is to accost fellow passengers in the back of a London cab (where, of course tickler is a mere euphemism).
Or could it be the Phantom Lift Lunger of Old London Town, whose speciality is to lunge at otherwise unaccompanied women in elevators? Apparently the Lift Lunger is so well-known for his misdemeanours that young women are advised never to be with him if otherwise unaccompanied. It makes you wonder what they mean when they talk about being ‘elevated’ to the House of Lords.
(Unfortunately, Happy Hands does not fit into the standard Two Ronnies title, so we would have to re-phrase it slightly, Happy Hands: The Phantom of Old London Town and that just doesn’t work, does it?)
The thing is, if the offenders are so well-known then why has nothing been done about it until now other than to give them alliterative nicknames? Why have shameful (or worse) behaviours been allowed to continue until they become almost institutionalised when they could, and should, have been nipped in the bud? Time for a clear-out methinks.
Meanwhile, here is this week’s limerick:
You don’t need a magician to conjure
A scandal to wantonly plunge a
Into ordure; just ask the Lift Lunger.
Postscript: Jo Brand showed how to nip things in the bud this week when calling out the all-male panel on Have I Got News For You this week when it made rather too light of sexual harassment. It’s not often that you see the likes of Ian Hislop with his tail firmly between his legs. A quietly-stated but very powerful intervention from her.
(And talking of Hislop, “yes” I do know that this post’s heading is not original. It originates from Hislop’s periodical: Private Eye.)