Party Games

Looking at the news today, I have to agree here with Alittleecon and Mike over at Vox Political: it did indeed look very, very much like Cameron was playing to the backbenchers in his own party, rather than trying seriously trying to prevent Jean-Claude Juncker taking power. As for the consequences, it has left Britain isolated in Europe, which might be the way the Tory Eurosceptics and closet UKIP supporters want it, but it does this country no favours at all.
Apart from this, the ‘Yes, Minister’ clips shown here about the Euro assault on the sausage were actually holding up a satirical mirror to a serious issue at the time. In 1984/5, Brussels attacked the British sausage for precisely the reasons Hacker states in the clip below. It contained all sorts of offal, which fell well below what Europe considered decent and wholesome. Also apparently what the scriptwriters felt could be decently put into a BBC sitcom before the watershed. They missed out the bit about testicles, as well as other kinds of gristle, going into the mix, as was reported in the Observer. The result was that there really was a campaign to save the British Banger, fronted by Barbara Windsor. This sported all manner of Carry-On style songs and verses to get its message across, like ‘They gave cippolatas to their inamoratas’. Well, the furore about the British sausage seems to have blown over, but the fundamental issues still remain.


The news over the last few days seems to have been dominated by the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the new president of the European Commission, and David Cameron’s unsuccessful attempt to thwart his appointment. Putting aside the issue of whether Juncker is a suitable person for the role or not, Cameron’s naked politicking brought to mind the Yes Minister Christmas special “Party Games”. Though not exactly the same, there are enough similarities to provide the excuse I need to share some clips.

The episode is set up by Hacker discussing European plans to standardise the sausage:

After convincing the EEC to allow Britain to keep the name “British sausage”, Hacker decides to boost his popularity by first pretending the sausage issue is still live and then giving an impassioned speech railing against European regulations:

What’s this got to do with Cameron? Not a lot, but I do question his sincerity…

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