Wednesday, October 8, 2014


       If you aren’t already facing the situation, you may well be soon. It’s late at night, you’re desperately tired, yet one of England’s many parliaments is yattering on in your living room, oblivious of the time.

       It started innocently enough. In the bar, it seemed charming and witty, and you invited it up to drink grog, or perhaps to snort patchouli. You didn’t quite catch its name. It might be the Long Parliament, or then again, the Short Parliament (is it wearing lifts in its shoes?). There are so many possibilities! You can only hope it isn’t the Wicked Parliament, nor the Drunken Parliament. It might be the Foolish Parliament, the Barebones Parliament, or even the Addled Parliament. And may Fortune keep it from being the Rump Parliament!

Does it seem to regret it’s former life? You may have the Reformed Parliament on your hands, but, then again, it may be its unregenerate younger brother Ernest, the Unreformed Parliament. Could it be the Parlement de Bordeaux, having nipped across the channel to do some shopping for the wife and mistress? If it is composed of a large number of birds, the odds are that it is Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowles.

       Whoever it is, though, it is having far too good a time to even think of leaving. It is making motions and having divisions and at any moment it may resolve itself into a committee of the whole. No hints have worked, not even the stagiest of yawns. When you turned out the lights, several members whipped candles out of their pockets (oddly, they were already lit). Even standing on the table and saying in a bad imitation of a brogue “Bejabbers, it is that tired I am, and me with a date to be sinking the Lusitania in the morning!” has brought no results except that the Speaker has made some room for you to lie down next to him on the woolsack.

       You have two choices. One is to simply allow the parliament to remain in session until it is dissolved, listening to it talk about tenths and fifths and membership by tenure. However, if you chose this, remember that the Long Parliament was elected in 1640, ejected in 1649 and came back for another go eleven years later. Or, you can call us. We have conjured up and retained the exclusive services of the ghost of Oliver Cromwell who, for a surprisingly reasonable fee, will stalk into your home and thunder “You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” There is no Parliament so hardy as to stay after hearing this.

       Of course, you then have the ghost of Cromwell haunting your flat, but there is only one of him. Perhaps you can charge admission. At any rate, call us soon. We’ve grown tired of his company and he’s driven all our friends away.

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