Copyright © 2005 Martin Newell
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I was listening to Radio 2 yesterday morning and by accident they played a good track, without talking over it or crashing it into the news pips. The record was You Took Advantage of Me by Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. It kind of got me thinking. What with the recession and everything, we can't afford to go running wars in central Asia anymore. Given that we do need to fight a war though,...otherwise there'd be nothing for the Guardian journalists to get concerned about and our lads would have nobody to rehearse with. So we need a budget war. One of the first things a budget war needs to be is nearby. Still with me? Good. So I fed some data into the computer and this is what I came up with. One word: France.
We need a war with France! Now don't say. 'Boring.' Being at war with France was perfectly okay in the old days, before we had long-range missiles, mid-air refuelling and Hercules transport planes. Sure, I've toyed with the idea of a war with the Dutch. The Dutch do a really good naval war as a matter of fact. We had about four wars with them, way back when. They sent their ships up the River Medway once, so they're no push-over. The Germans? The Germans hold a great war actually. Even my dad admired the way the Germans went on. "Great soldiers!" he'd say admiringly, with that peculiar respect that the British soldier only reserves for people who've given us a damn good thrashing in the past. He had all the time in the world for the Germans, the Afghans and of course the Turks.
But I'm thinking 'long game' here.The French are good at a sustained grudge. Who else could we have a Hundred Years War with? Want to know why? Two words. 'Long' and 'lunch.' If the French weren't so fond of lunch it would probably only have been about a Twenty Years War. Another thing with the French is that they've got two climates. So when the winter came in, we could move the new Anglo-French war off the plains of Nord Pas De Calais and down to Provence for a few months. Why not? There's a great train service. You could be back in London drunk out of your mind and involved in some Elvis-legged knee-trembler in an alley outside your club in Piccadilly, within only a few hours of having been shelling a French farmhouse earlier that afternoon.
French food is brilliant. French P.O.W. camps would be infinitely better than say German ones. The French are a civilised people and despite all the American jokes about them, they used to be pretty good at holding wars. Look at Napoleon and Joan of Arc. You'd need your wits about you to tackle them on a Stella hangover wouldn't you? No, I reckon it's high time we went to war with the French. Their turf of course. Lovely countryside, brilliant grub and top-notch gusset in most cases. The roads are much clearer. The trains work. Our lads would love it. And I'm sure that the French would be only too happy to have us. At least we'd be fighting an enemy we like. And it would be cheap and easily accessible. And we've got a lot to learn from them about industrial unrest. They just do it with such verve! I think we should get onto President Sarkozy as soon as possible. This could be a real boost to both of our economies.
The type of guys we'd be fighting.