The Spectator

Brown as Nidgett

Brown as Nidgett
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Strength, energy, service, change, trust, steadfastness, change, resolution, purpose, change ... Has anyone noticed how like Peter Simple’s Lieutenant General Sir Frederick ‘Tiger’ Nidgett Gordon Brown sounded yesterday? In November 2005 Nidgett brought his great strategic mind to bear on the seemingly intractable problems of the Middle East, problems that Mr Brown will have to address, or pretend to address, before long. The new Prime Minister might learn something from Nidgett’s insights:

‘In my view your average common or garden Arab man in the street, or rather in the dried-up wadi, is a bit of a scrounger, a bit of a lounge lizard and a bit of a barrack room lawyer....

‘Treat him right and you'll have him eating out of your hand like a dose of salts. Treat him wrong and you'll find him shinning up the nearest gum tree, spitting defiance at all and sundry, right, left and centre. He won't be fobbed off with a handful of dates, believe you me, as many ill-informed people imagine.

‘As I see it, the secret is leadership, initiative, vision, initiative, leadership and above all bags of guts....’

Footnote: Some Readers of Coffee House may not be familiar with the Peter Simple column of the Daily Telegraph. It was written by Michael Wharton, the great Yorkshireman and reactionary satirist, who died January 2006, aged 92. You can get a good taste of his work here.