We reluctantly present some words of praise for Portsmouth’s most (in)famous Conservative by Sir Eugene Nicks QC, KBE: soldier, lawyer, lover, brother, mother and Policy Advisor to the All-Portsea Conservative, Regressive and Imperial Association (established 1799).
Ladies, gentlemen and your valets, before I wax on and wax off about the scalding topic of the day, I must tell you something important. The Islamofeministocommunistic editors of this here blood-red rag have taken umbrage at my opinions and are trying to remove me from my position as Consent Manufacturer-At-Large. Pending litigation that will hopefully bankrupt this utter waste of vellum parchment, the rapscallions running the show are preventing me from receiving messages by making the holes in my internet too large – or something like that. I beg you, therefore, to send me missives of support (via semaphore, Morse code or smoke signals) to the following address:
Donna Trump Tower
Southsea (and certainly not some Dantean disaster hole like Stamshaw or Buckland)
Fortunately, through a combination of legal acumen and frankly illegal intimidation, my team have managed to persuade the editors to keep printing my copy and, more importantly, keep paying my foie gras and brothel bills. At least for now.
Righto, let’s get on with what I really want to jaw about. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the unseating of a fine statesman, a gent of honest Christian aim and a jolly good chum, Mr Peter Griffiths. Back in ’66, when men were men and Soviet traitors were running the country, Pete lost against some pinko thespian in the constituency of Smethwick. But two years before, he’d won the same seat while campaigning under a slogan that was – and still is – cruelly misrepresented by the Forces of Darkness – well, Redness. What Pete actually said – and I was right there beside him at the time, my awareness admittedly hampered by my having quaffed 28 Glenfiddichs for elevenses – was: ‘If you want a nincompoop for your neighbour vote Labour’. See? Nothing so wrong with that.
Well alright, Petey-baby did go on to describe South Africa as a ‘model of Parliamentary democracy’ and ‘Apartheid … as an alternative to integration’. He was also for the repatriation of immigrants and against the Race Relations Act applying to the good old British boozer. But should we really judge a man by silly little mis-steps like these?
Smethwick’s loss was Portsmouth’s gain, for as soon as he’d been tossed by the lapels out of the political chaps’ club, he was appointed a Pompey don at the old College of Technology. In a 31st October 1966 report, The Hilsea Afternoon Snooze, long a loyal ally of the Great Blue Cause, mentioned the Petester’s ‘alleged views on the colour issue’ without disclosing what those views actually were. Very discreet of them.
His career went onward, upward and outward, and in 1979 he was returned MP for Portsmouth North. One doesn’t want to suck on one’s own bassoon, but I rather believe that Pete won because of a catchy little jingle I wrote for him that wryly referenced his earlier couplet: ‘If you want glory for Portsea vote Tory’.
Throughout his second go round at legislating, he was on the droopy liberal wing of the party and considerably to the left of yours truly on most issues. He was dashed keen on the death penalty, thought the SDI ‘Star Wars’ programme a whizzo idea and described unemployed youths as ‘bone idle’. One thing we did agree on, though, was his call for the bombing of mainland Argentina during the Falklands War. In fact, if I’d been drunk and in charge of the Ministry of Defence at that time, I might have gone further and colonised the whole bally place.
As is their wont, the trusty Snooze seldom questioned Petey on any of his positions. Indeed, on 29th October 1985, they even gave him his own one-off op-ed in which he dubbed that cuddly old racist Enoch Powell ‘an outstanding figure’, was glad to have made good on the pledge to ‘get Government off the backs of people’ and signed off with this Mrs T*-ite flourish: ‘I won’t be satisfied until “the frontiers of the state” really have been “rolled back”.’
Many of the world’s greats passed on in 2013: Nelson Mandela, Mrs T**, Michael Winner. It is only right, proper and Portsmouthian to add Pete to that august roster. Whereas other obituaries brought up the mucky old business I examined above, the good old Snooze politely equivocated by repeating Pete’s claim that he had ‘no prejudice on the grounds of race’ and stating merely that ‘he became associated with a hard-right wing agenda’. Of the four tributes the Snooze gleaned, only one, by Labourite John Ferrett, was critical of the man and his policies. Our now Civic-Colonial Governess called him ‘a very well-respected MP’ and our then MP for Portsmouth South said, ‘he always did what he thought was best for Portsmouth.’
Three cheers for the Snooze – giving a mouthpiece to power so that it can speak over truth since at least 1966!
*May her name be praised.
**May her name be praised again, and somewhat more than we should now be praising Theresa May.
Photography by Moshe Tasky