The Brexit update, this time with spider brooches

Britain’s supreme court ruled unanimously on Tuesday (the day I’m posting this) that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament (called, in case it shows up in a crossword puzzle, a prorogation) was illegal, and before the pixels of the online news stories were dry the speaker of parliament had announced that parliament would be back in session on Wednesday.

But even before that happened, some members of parliament were already sitting on the House of Commons green seats, just to make a point. 

As the BBC put it, the court ruling said the serving prime minister broke the law and gave unlawful advice to the queen.

Short of the inscrutable Lady Hale [president of the court], with the giant diamond spider on her lapel, declaring Boris Johnson to be Pinocchio, this judgement is just about as bad for the government as it gets.”

Okay, we’d better take a minute to talk about the spider. It’s a brooch–or in Ameri-speak, a pin–and within hours had been printed on a tee shirt that was being sold online, with some of the profits promised to an organization for the homeless. 

#SpiderBrooch was trending on Twitter when I checked and a sampling of tweets (a whopping two out of two) shows that it’s driving people to poetry: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when Cummings tries to make us Leave” and “Spider-Brooch, Spider-Brooch, / Deals with how the law’s approached. / Heard a case, huge in size, / Caught the PM telling lies. / Look out! / Here comes the Spider-Brooch.”

Brooch (I had to check) is pronounced to rhyme with approach, even though it looks like it rhymes with mooch, although it can also rhyme with hootch, pooch, and other elevated nouns that don’t rhyme with approach. English. I love it, but it’s a mess.

So much for the fun stuff. What happens next? A majority of parliament agrees on exactly two things: 1, They don’t want to no-deal Brexit, and 2, they don’t want to be locked in the broom closet during this crucial period when the Brexit deadline is looming and Johnson is trying to avoid asking for an extension. 

After that, the cracks in the Rebel Alliance begin to show. Some of its MPs want to remain in the EU. Some want to leave with a deal (ask what kind of deal and more cracks show up). Some want a second referendum as a way out of this mess. Some, I’m sure, want to go back to the broom closet and hide while the crucial votes are taken so they can say, “It wasn’t my fault.” 

Parliament could hold a vote of no confidence and, if it passes, replace Johnson with someone else, but that involves agreeing on who that should be. That’s another thing they don’t agree on, or at least haven’t so far.

The general belief is that Johnson will try to hold an election and run as a champion of the people against the government. Which has a certain irony, since right now he is the government, but never mind. Whether he’ll be able to hold his party together is anybody’s guess. He’s lost six out of six votes in the House of Commons, lost a major challenge in the courts, and been judged to have misled the queen. Folks here take that last offense seriously even if I can’t manage to.

On the other hand, he’s already thrown his most visible opponents out of the party, so it’s hard to know if anyone’s left to oppose him. As I’m fairly sure I keep saying, stay tuned.

114 thoughts on “The Brexit update, this time with spider brooches

  1. In Virginia, out pronounced oot, so I had out rhyming with brooch when I read it. Never thought to try to rhyme it with approach. Really enjoy the grammar and pronouncement lessons you give us.

    British system is interesting. Or is it a system or a make it up as you go, based of course on tradition.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Now, I have to go oot yo the hoose.. (Out to the house)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting, so a brooch can get a t-shirt in England. When I was there, just months before England hosted the Olympics, I couldn’t find a single Olympics t-shirt. I even approached a t-shirt printing company and they looked at me as if I was nuts (which I am, but that’s another story entirely).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Same day Pelosi decided it was time for impeachment since most, if not all, those first-time Representatives she was trying to protect from their mad dog constituents in the 2020 election have been clamoring for it. Both nations are at crucial moments of decision. I’m hoping for two days of rest from it all when I visit Much Ado Bookshop and as many pubs and tea shops as possible in tiny Alfriston before arriving in London on the tenth. I shall be awash in fortifying British liquids. Oh, and some scones, clotted cream, jam and maybe even spotted dick.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Ah – the comic strip “Pogo” by Walt Kelly used a few expressions I picked up during it’s heyday – some of us even know all the verses of the Christmas favorite “Deck us all With Boston Charlie.” Pogo was a possum who lived in Okefenokee and his friends included Albert the Alligator, Churchy La Femme (a turtle) and a Porkypine whose name escapes me. Even if you didn’t know of the strip during your days in the U.S. you certainly know his famous remark “We have met the enemy – and he is us.”
        But “by neddy-dingo” certainly sounds Australian. I didn’t think of that until I had already hit “send”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Brooch comes from the French “broche”. Same meaning. Let’s remember that 70% of English vocabulary comes from French. (Just made that up, but I’m not too far.) (Vocabulary came with the Normands who were relocated Vikings which makes little sense does it?) :)
    Another “emprunt” from French: Tally-ho comes from Taïaut. (Same meaning and usage).
    Thus: Thaïaut on the Blonde mop!!!
    Take care

    Liked by 2 people

      • I use a QWERTY keyboard. So used to it that when in France I have to use an AZERTY keyboard, it is complicated. But for some strange reason this keyboard has the right accents: â, é and è, useful when I write in French. ë is a treat, and so is the cédille: ç.
        And Hurray for Pelosi, she finally launched Impeachement! Yes!

        Liked by 2 people

        • We do indeed live in interesting times.

          Keyboards: I’ve gotten used to the British one, which relocates the quotation marks and a few other bits and pieces. A techy friend gave me an American keyboard that had wandered, uselessly, into his life and I find I hesitate to change back since my fingers have learned this one. When I lived in the US, it never occurred to me that keyboards could be anything other than the one I was used to. We really can be provincial.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I et you many French don’t even consider the possibility of a different keyboard. ;)
            Worst keyboard I ever used was in Prague, c.2003. I needed to communicate back and forth with the office to solve a few issues. Used the computer at the hotel’s business centre. All the consonants on the keyboard had accents! On consonants! Not vowels. Above, below. Crazy. Almost Cyrillic. My staff would answer my mails saying: “We think you meant that?” ;)

            Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed. There’ve been calls for the brooch to have its own twiiter whatsit and for a few seconds I thought about stepping in and setting it up. Then what passes for sanity returned. It’d be fun briefly, then a lot of work.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate to say it, but although we have an unwritten constitution, it seems to have just about worked this time (although we’re not out of the woods yet!), whereas a certain wannabe dictator who shall remain nameless seems to still be, somehow, running rings around the written US one.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The word brooch has lost all meaning to me now, and I am slightly unclear as to how to pronounce it…

    My brain keeps trying to make me thing brooooch (with the oooo like a ghost).

    I am pretty sure I used to be able to handle this word…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand the impulse, but it’s also incredibly important.

      Apologies–I went all serious there for a moment. I think one way I can face it is to see the absurdity, even while I take it entirely too seriously.


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