Sunday, 6 February 2011

White Trash Sally Bercow is not novel

If you've never read Nicholas Monsarrat's 'Richer Than All His Tribe' I urge you to search Abe Books to find a copy. In it a Labour life-peer is sent off as Governor-General of a British colony preparing for independence, bringing with him his wife, Bobo...


".. a one-shot erotic poetess who had written a notorious narrative poem, banned in half a dozen countries, which read like a catalogue of her past lovers, complete with their achievement-ratings. It had been called 'Oh Come! All Ye Faithful', and its jacket alone, on which was a nude photograph of the authoress quartered like an anatomical Ordnance Survey map, was a collector's item. She was now First Lady of Pharamaul, entitled, amongst other things, to the curtsys of all lesser females."


Monserrat develops wonderfully Bobo's wild swings between insisting on rigid formality and wholly inappropriate chumminess where protocol should have prevailed; she attempts to seduce her husband's ADC and makes a clumsy pass at one of the colony's leaders-in-waiting, an African statesman of great gravitas and dignity. She is an embarrassment to the entire British establishment, and viewed by the natives as the worst kind of white trash, undeserving of respect. The parallels with Sally Bercow are obvious. I won't spoil the ending. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Plus ca change then. A certain ex-Labour appointed High Commissioner would seem to fit the bill exactly.

H said...

Based purely on my reading of "The Cruel Sea", he (Monserrat) was a highly competent writer, but quite a misanthropist (and, like as not, misogynist too). Still, well worth the read (or raed, indeed).

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Since the House of Commons has become - by its own laziness and incompetence - a kind of hollow shell with no worthwhile powers or authority, and at the same time a branch of the entertainment industry, it is entirely appropriate that the ancient and once-great office of Speaker should find its near-final appointee in the person of the vacuous trivial undignified ineffective pompous self-important and utterly insignificant waste of oxygen that is Bercow.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.