Churchill and a pantomime baddie

I never heard that expression before: ‘pantomime baddie’. About half a year ago it already became clear to me that I was going to cancel my membership of the International Churchill Society. Another half year earlier I became a member after finding out what a great source of information it provided (see both ’embedded links’ below). And now is really the time to terminate my membership immediately. For two interrelated reasons.

I found both of them in the newsletter from the International Churchill Society about the upcoming yearly gathering. It concerned the special guest at the meeting in Edinburgh and the opportunity to somehow be part of the event when you had not been able to get tickets. To start with the latter. Actually members were presented with the chance to participate in a way that allowed them to feel like real aristocrats themselves.

The real life aristocratic person invited as the special guest was former Conservative MP Nicholas Soames. He was member of a rebellious group of 21 Members of parliament opposing Boris Johnsons’ policy vis-a-vis Brexit. Jessica Elgot Chief political correspondent of the Gurardian wrote about them:

The whips are telling Conservative MPs today a very simple message – if they fail to vote with the government on Tuesday they will be destroying the government’s negotiating position and handing control of parliament to Jeremy Corbyn,” said a senior source in the whips’ office source.

Later other members of this group joined the Liberal Democrats

One might guess about the reasons this old looking man is invited as the special guest by the International Churchill Society. No doubt among these is the fact that he is the grandson of Winston Churchill himself. A clearer example of the fact that lineage says nothing about someone is hard to find. (And yes: in a sense that is a pinch of criticism towards the greatest statesman of all time.)

Among the very first results ‘googling’ on this mister Soames was an interview in The Indepedent of Mark Thomas. Thomas is a comedian.

Today, only a small minority, but still a fair number of comedians, clearly excel when it comes to criticizing governments.
I quote:

I try to find the good in my enemies It’s not unusual to be able to get on with people despite what they are doing being awful. The only person I have met who I considered to be without any redeeming features was [Conservative MP] Nicholas Soames. Back in the 1990s, he was avoiding inheritance tax [on family heirlooms he had been left, using a tax concession available at the time of listing them as open to public inspection] and we found out he had a lovely three-tier mahogany buffet with partially reeded slender balustrade upright supports. We organised hundreds of people to make appointments to see it. Eventually he just paid the tax.
He was such a pantomime baddie.


And no mistake: tax avoidance is very different from tax evasion: avoidance is perfectly legal! This ‘baddie’ was dodging.

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