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  • Lord Copper

Listen for the drum

I don’t really want to write political stuff here, but we have an election imminent, so a least a passing reference is almost unavoidable. But not too much.

One thought I have comes from nonsense poet Hilaire Belloc, whose poem Jim concludes with the lines:

And always keep a-hold of nurse,

For fear of finding something worse.

That will probably be my guide in the voting booth on Thursday; yes, I know it’s a bit negative, but I defy anyone to find anything in the election campaigns of any of the parties which can possibly inspire optimism. The remains of Pitt, Peel, Palmerston, Gladstone, Disraeli, Lloyd George, Churchill must be revolving at speed in their graves. And it’s no consolation that it is also happening across the Channel to our closest neighbours, where le grand Géneral, I’m sure, is pounding against the lid of his coffin to get out…..

Anyway, enough of that, and on to something which is, I strongly suspect, closer to the heart of most of the metal trading fraternity. Wine. A good friend of mine recently gave me a book called I’ve Bought it, So I’ll Drink it. This is a development of a wine blog, Sediment, written by two writer/journalists who know themselves by their initials, CJ and PK. The blog had entirely passed me by, and - sadly - they recently finished it after ten years. It is still online, though, and the book represents a fine selection of pieces from over the years. I’m not going to go into huge detail here, but the premise of the blog is that one of the writers is motivated to find the cheapest possible wine available, and the other by a somewhat more sophisticated palate. The pieces are written alternately, but with a degree of cross-referencing; it may not sound much, but it is highly amusing and very well written. I thoroughly recommend buying the book (published by Metro Publishing), or at least seeking out the blog posts (

Just to return to my opening topic, I do feel a sense of unease about the likely result of this week’s election. How did the French aristos feel in May/June 1789? Or the Russians in January/February 1917? Did they have an inkling of what was coming down the track at them? I am not suggesting violent revolution looms, but I do have a feeling this time that (at least in my view: I accept others may take a different line) some genuinely economically and socially damaging policies may be heading our way, which may be difficult to unpick in the future.

Still, in Great Britain at least we do have some legendary or historic heroes who have promised to return if the realm is in serious danger. King Arthur, for example, who lies sleeping on the Isle of Avalon, ready to awake when his people need him. Or Sir Francis Drake, the beating of whose drum will signal his return to save the day:

"Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,

Strike et when your powder's runnin' low;

If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port o' Heaven,

An' drum them up the Channel as we drumm'd them long ago.”

(Obviously, the reference to the Dons needs updating………).

Or maybe we go with Jeremy Clarkson, who, in a Sunday Times article a couple of  weeks ago, suggested that we needn’t worry about the policies, since Starmer’s gang would be so obsessed with their debate and inability to agree about which bits of anatomy belong to men and which to women that they wouldn’t have time for anything else.

Me, I’ll stick with Hilaire Belloc and hold on to Nurse…….




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