25 maart 2019

Rutte, May and the Black Knight

The steady flow of political embarrassments from the British Government have made the Brexit discussion into some kind of sketch show, although the people on stage realized long ago that they aren’t particularly funny. It is fitting, therefore, that Mark Rutte recently likened Theresa May to the Black Knight, a character from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Rutte was highlighting her resilience in the face of seemingly endless setbacks to her Brexit deal, but I feel that he may have stumbled onto something even more amusing. Allow me to explain.

A Monty Python reference goes down better than a cup of tea during the six o’clock news

World famous for his acting career, production work, and general amiability, John Cleese expertly delivered us the Black Knight all those years ago. Nowadays, Cleese is also feeling the Brexit strain; in fact, he has plans to relocate to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean. Can you imagine a better place to forget all the deals, no deals, soft Brexits, hard Brexits, Brexits over-easy? With Brexit as uncertain as ever, maybe Rutte is hinting to May that she does have other options—for example, a Long Island Iced Tea on Caribbean sands, thousands of miles from all the parliamentary figures who’ve been hounding her over these last two years. It doesn’t solve the mess Britain is in, and it won’t go down well in the press; but I would imagine all that noise would be drowned out by the sound of waves lapping against sandy shores. May seems to be having a miserable time in government, but I can see her drawing a line in the sand. If she doesn’t get her deal through she’ll be on the first flight to, well, anywhere with some sunshine I suppose.

Rutte masterfully tuned-in to the feeling of the British public, as a Monty Python reference goes down better than a cup of tea during the six o’clock news. However, in light of the recent Dutch elections in which Rutte lost his upper house majority, I have no doubt that Theresa May is sitting in Downing Street frantically googling “Best Monty Python Quotes” in search of a snappy comeback. Watch this space; someday soon we will wake up to headlines of hamsters and elderberries.

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