Bite the Ballot

‘Nur die Allerdümmsten Kälber Wählen ihre Schlächter Selber’ is a German idiom meaning ‘Only The Very Stupidest Calves Elect Their Slaughterers Themselves’. The British version would be ‘Like turkeys voting for Christmas’, while in the U.S., the tasty birds would ballot in favour of Thanksgiving. In a similar vein, a 1930s German satirical photomontage showed Hitler as a butcher with a chicken (France) and the caption ‘Don’t panic! He’s a vegetarian’.

8 June 2017

Tim Koch goes to the polls:

Today, 8 June, is the General Election day in the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Theresa May called the election three years earlier than scheduled, officially to strengthen her position in negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union. Initially, it was assumed by most observers that May’s Conservative Party would easily be returned with an increased majority, not least because the opposition parties were thought to be divided and unelectable, with Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in particular dismissed as holding unpopular and out-of-date ideas. However, politics is a funny thing and during the course of the election campaign, May’s attempts to sell her party as a ‘one woman band’ led by a strong ‘Margaret Thatcher Mark II’ have not gone down well, while old-fashioned socialist Corbyn’s anti-austerity policies have won him support. Of course, there is nothing new in politics, as a couple of old cartoons that use the hackneyed rowing metaphor show.

A political group or party that is personified in one person: At the 1931 general election, a small group of official Liberal Party candidates (‘Independent Liberals’) led by former Liberal Party leader, David Lloyd George, stood on a platform of opposition to the coalition National Government. Sir Herbert Samuel was deputy leader of the Liberal Party. (Punch, 1931).
A political outsider whose ideas suddenly get popular support: Lord Randolph Churchill (‘Lord R.C.’, the father of Winston) was a Conservative radical who, by 1885, had formulated the policy of progressive Conservatism known as ‘Tory Democracy’. He held that the party ought to adopt, rather than oppose, popular reforms, and to challenge the claims of the Liberals to pose as champions of the masses. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach (‘Sir M H-B’) was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. (Punch, 1885).

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