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Doreen Tipton: Never mind Brexit – we need Brisket

Weekend | Published:

Having spent the past few months watching politicians of all flavours totally butcher our chances of a successful Brexit, it got me wondering whether my local butcher could have done a better job.

Brexit's a meaty issue

I’m sure he could, cos there’s a bloke who really knows how to negotiate.

I remember watching him flogging brisket every Sunday at the outdoor market – a veritable masterclass in selling. He started by holding aloft a piece of meat – a bit like Rafiki from The Lion King holding baby Simba above his head proudly for all the kingdom to see. Having earnestly proclaimed that it was the very last joint of beef he had left, he then spent 20 minutes paying homage to the brisket – praising it with almost Shakespearean eloquence. Soon, a huge crowd of salivating peasants had gathered in front of his trailer, each desperately wishing they could own this succulent and rare item, but knowing that it would almost certainly be beyond their meagre peasant’s budget.

Having thus elevated the brisket to mythical status, the butcher then subliminally plants in the peasants’ minds a suitably exorbitant price tag, and sets about reeling in his mesmerised audience. The patter went something like this:

“But I’m not asking you for 35 quid today for this wonderful specimen, ladies. No, not 25, 20 or even 18 pounds. Because today, for one day only, for the first one to stick their hand up, this last-remaining prize Brisket is yours to take home and savour for just eight quid. . . and I’ll even throw in a couple of sausages.”

At which point a hundred hands would shoot up excitedly, and scuffles would break out, while the butcher’s assistant manages to magically find another 100 remarkably similar briskets of beef hidden under the counter. The white-coated Maestro then proceeded to flog 800 quid’s worth of meat in 15 seconds – all cash.

So, how would the politicians have handled the Brisket negotiations, I wonder? Their patter would have gone something like this: “I appear to have 100 dodgy lumps of beef to get rid of. Possibly worth a fiver. Anybody want to pay that? If not, I’m happy to cut the price. Or give you them for nothing. Or even pay you to take them away. While I’m at it, please take my car and trailer. And if that’s still not good enough, don’t hesitate to let me know, and I’ll hack off one of my limbs.”

The problem here is fairly obvious. Most ‘career politicians’ have never run a business, and wouldn’t have a clue how to start. And for all their verbal eloquence, they also seem curiously devoid of common sense. Common sense is what we common folk use instead of A-levels and university degrees, and it tends to do the job, whereas your average politician is about as street-wise as The Pope. To compound matters, they’re aided by strange creatures called ‘civil servants’, who these days are no longer civil or willing to serve.

So, here’s my idea to sort out the problem. Politicians are obviously obsessed with imposing diversity on the rest of us, so I suggest we start by having a more diverse Government, by making sure it no longer consists purely of politicians.

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We need to introduce quotas, insisting that the Cabinet should include at least one butcher, a plumber, an ambulance driver, a fire-fighter, a nurse, a couple of factory workers, a carer, a shopkeeper, an entrepreneur, somebody from the army, a hairdresser, a pub owner and a taxi driver, as well as a few wild cards – a drag act perhaps, a professional pickpocket (he could be the Chancellor), a tramp, juggler, contortionist, comedian, drug dealer, and one person who’s clinically insane and alcoholic (as opposed to the current system, where several cabinet ministers are clinically insane and alcoholic). Then, perhaps, at long last, the Government would properly reflect the people it purports to serve. In fact, I’d allow just one career politician in the cabinet, to give us somebody to laugh at (in case the comedian’s no good).

We would operate a rota system, so the new Cabinet members can still find time to do their normal job – after all, we wouldn’t want them becoming full-time politicians and forgetting their roots.

But, I hear you ask – what do we do with all the left-over politicians? Well, we would re-train them, also operating on a rota system. One day they’ll have to work as a butcher, the next a plumber, and so on. If they do well, at the end of three years we could award them with a Certificate of Common Sense, welcome them back onto Planet Earth, and try to reintegrate them back into society. We’d also charge them nine grand a year for the course, and send them a reminder letter every six months saying how much their personal debt has gone up.

Plumbers are usually plumbers because they know how to plumb. Nurses are nurses because they know how to nurse. So why is it that, to be in a Government, you don’t have to know how to govern? It’s a mystery.

Not to worry. Once the politicians have finally butchered Brexit and left us with a dog’s dinner of a deal, the common folk will no doubt quietly sigh, shake their heads, and start working that little bit harder to put things right, and of course pay a bit more tax. After all, every civilised society has to make sacrifices and put aside some of its hard-earned money to subsidise its loss-making misfits. It’s just a pity that our misfits are the ones running the country.

Tarra a bit x

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