BND’s Dead Parrot Sketch

(or “Bill Newton Dunn falls off his perch”)

Back in 1999, the East Midlands Conservative euro-team was discussing which Winnie-the-Pooh character they’d most like to be associated with.  Bill Newton Dunn said he liked to think of himself as the Wise Old Owl.  But a hoarse stage-whisper from the back made a less kind suggestion: “No, Eeyore“.  The room collapsed in laughter, and Bill seems to have been on a bed of thistles ever since.

Later, of course, Bill switched his allegiance to the Lib Dems, because he couldn’t agree with the Tories’ policies on the EU.  And more recently, I moved to UKIP, for much the same reason.

On Wednesday, we were invited by BBC Radio Humberside to debate whether the UK needed an In/Out EU referendum, following the remarkable statement by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble that there may need to be a German referendum before further fiscal integration can proceed.

Our exchange suffered, as a debate, because it was so one-sided.  Listening to the replay, I was struck by the contrast.  I was making a clear, principled and fact-based case for the British people to have their say on EU membership.  Bill was reduced to increasingly querulous and irrelevant ad hominem attacks (“please stop that parrot interrupting!”), and finally to pathetic appeals to the presenter to be allowed more air-time.  At one point Bill insisted that the European parliament was “perfectly democratic”.  This from the man who claims to have invented the phrase “democratic deficit”.

One has to have some sympathy for Bill.  Seeking to deny the British people a say on our EU membership is an increasingly tough case to sell.  But perhaps Bill should ask himself whether he has anything interesting or useful to say before he goes on air.

Sadly, I’m afraid that John Cleese does dead parrots a whole lot better than BND.

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3 Responses to BND’s Dead Parrot Sketch

  1. I quite agree, you certainly won that one!
    “Europe” actually is quite important in many people’s lives: I think a lot of people see it as a sort of add-on which isn’t that important.
    For us ordinary people, Europe is a place of holidays. Lots of my friends go there. For football, for sexy holidays, for a day or two on Eurostar. Some actually still have houses there too.
    What they are beginning to find is that Europe is not a good place to go. It is not rich any more. It is full of street crime, people sitting on the street begging or middle class people going through dustbins. A lot of the once lively restaurants and bars are very quiet. And then there are street demonstrations. My own favourite – Asturias is now buried under a pile of unused tower blocks.

    My wife and I have family in Australia and Singapore and that is where we are going. We are saving up! And I am working to pay for the meals.

  2. Gary Rickard says:

    If BND’s constituents were listening to that radio interview, they’d be asking for their votes back. Belief in the EU is like religious faith in some nutty cult. The faithful are brainwashed and reject evidence no matter how undeniable it might be.

    I have to agree with Mike over what’s become of Europe. I regret buying our house in Andalucia which has turned out to be illegal, my lawyer has been stacking shelves at LIDL, my elderly father in law has just been robbed and ripped off on holiday in Greece. I’ve just seen how the Spanish celebrate winning football tournaments (bumping into each others cars whilst waving flags and honking their air horns – not many hands left for the wheel). Great display of football though and for a few days, Spain can forget that it’s economy is ruined.

    It used to be said that Africa started at the Pyrenees but after a couple of recent visit to Paris, I’d say it now starts around the Somme.

    I’m off to Hong Kong.

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