Brexit Musings (II) – Whistle While You Work

Whistle while you work

Welcome to Brexit Musings – part II.

Last week, the Brexit boys and girls stayed at home.

12th July

Boris Johnson has an uncanny knack of coming out with great statements. Some time ago, in one of his more sober moments, he remarked

My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.

Well Boris, as Foreign Secretary you are entitled to check for yourself that Elvis isn’t on Mars (nothing is certain). As for being reincarnated as an olive – if true, I just couldn’t resist the temptation to tell you – in no uncertain terms – to get stuffed.

Last September, our good old Boris described the inseparable link between free market and free movement of people as “complete baloney”, even though both concepts start with the word “free”.

Today he’s come up with another gem:

The sums they [the EU] propose seem to be extortionate and I think ‘go whistle’ is an entirely appropriate expression.

Not only is it appropriate coming from Boris Johnson, but it is also extremely colourful, demonstrating the unsurpassed dexterity that Boris demonstrates in his sublime manipulation of the English language. First “baloney”, and now “go whistle”. I ask myself what sort of institutions catered for BJ’s spiffing (that’s another beefy word) education? Let’s have a look:

  • schooled in Camden, Brussels and Sussex – hang on a minute, is that THE Brussels (a.k.a. Brussel and Bruxelles)?
  • awarded King’s scholarship to study at Eton
  • Oxford University scholarship where he read Classics

Having read Classics at university (I read books when I was a student), I’m sure that BJ will know all about Plato’s doubts over the well-foundedness (that’s the quality of being well-founded) of politicians and the dangers of too much democracy (referendums and all that – or is it “referenda”?).

But what about “go whistle”?

The term “to whistle for it” refers to asking for something that you probably won’t obtain, and alludes to sailing ships stuck on a windless sea. Sailors whistled with all their might, in a desperate attempt to summon a wind. A surprising expression for old BJ to be using because I would have thought that when he’s around there’s quite a lot of wind (must be the Brussel sprouts).

Remember the Dad’s Army episode with the German prisoners? Now I know that BJ isn’t the only great British leader with an attitude problem towards Continental Europe.



Here’s my version of Pike:

Whistle while you work

Johnson is a burke

He’s half farty

So’s his party

Whistle while you work

Well, whatever you do after reading this post, please don’t tell Theresa May my name.

Michel Barnier, the flamboyant French EU negotiator (what is it about men with grey hair?) duly responded to BJ by saying that he could only hear ticking clocks and no whistling. I don’t know about you, but I can’t sleep with a ticking clock in the bedroom, so I really don’t know what he’s talking about. Anyway, let’s just hope that it’s just a clock and not a time-bomb – not that the UK cares about that, of course.

Well, now it’s back to school for our intrepid duo, and let’s see what gems they can come out with this time around. Let’s just hope that the gems don’t belong to the British expats in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK.