This political landscape is as stupid as the wacky world of ’Allo ’Allo!

PUBLISHED: 14:09 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:10 08 October 2019

Francesca Gonshaw, Gordon Kaye and Vicki Michelle in 'Allo 'Allo in 1984

Francesca Gonshaw, Gordon Kaye and Vicki Michelle in 'Allo 'Allo in 1984

2010 Getty Images

Paul Barnes has drawn parallels between the current goings on in Westminster and a farcical comedy of the 1980s

As the nights draw in and leaves tumble in the breeze it's our pleasure to retreat to the café in the German-occupied village of Nouvion. We rub shoulders and drink wine there with Resistance fighters, Gestapo men, German army officers, escaped Royal Air Force men. Our host is Rene together with his wife Edith, a woman who can hold a tune but can never sing it without causing her hearers pain; customers order cheese, not only to eat but to stuff in their ears. Rene, middle-aged, plump and balding has a mysterious sexual magnetism that his young and lusty waitresses can't resist. "Ooooh, Rene," they growl as they fling themselves into his arms.

This is the land of 'Allo 'Allo! one of the finest and funniest sitcoms ever made, repeated each weekday evening at 6pm. The French don't speak French; the Germans don't speak German. All speak in English with accents bolted on.

"Listen carefully; I shall say zis only once," says the beautiful resistance leader in the beret and belted mackintosh. "Good moaning," says the village policeman. He is really an English spy. His fractured English represents French that is so bad even the French need interpreters. We speak their language, or at least their catchphrases.

"Rene!!!" That's Edith, catching Rene in a clinch with Yvette Carte-Blanche, the waitress with the stunning figure and passionate growl. Rene pauses. "You stupid woman!" he says before delivering some preposterous reason for the scene. Edith always apologises.It happens every week.

"You stupid woman!" I've been saying it a good deal lately, to the radio and the television. To be fair I've been saying "You stupid man!" too, as well as unprintable variations according to circumstances. There does appear to be a lot of stupidity about, more than I can ever remember.

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It took a "highly respected journalist" 20 years to overcome her coyness and come out with a yarn about Boris Johnson having squeezed her thigh.

Uncannily, she turns out to be the partner of ITN political editor Robert Peston, whose Brexit stance appears to be equivocal. Elements of the media have plastered themselves with paint and feathers in a song-and-dance over the story.

When I heard a reporter try to doorstep Boris on this trivial tale, I yelled out "You stupid woman!" Oh, lawks-a-mussy-me! It transpires that the stupid woman is Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC's political editor no less. Now she's an excellent broadcaster, impressively informed and articulate, a genuinely highly respected journalist. So why does she bring herself down to join in this raucous crush? It's not the first time.

In the past she's even been seen and heard among the loutish, bawling mob outside Number 10. What do they hope to gain from yelling questions at people on the opposite pavement?

When Theresa May entered Number 10 she told us that politics is not a game. How many of us shouted back "Oh, yes it is!" and how many times have we been proved right since? How well informed are we by the curious practice of broadcasting editors who perch their teams outside parliament on College Green? Interviews have a background of yet more incoherent bawling from flag-wavers of all persuasions. What are we to make of strange creatures like that blank-faced fellow in a top hat with a placard in each hand, moving from side to side to stay in vision?

Not a game, when the very constitution is thrown into the air and comes down broken? Parliament itself was a playground when all sides screamed abuse; when honourable members, short of sticks and stones, were calling each other names and blubbing like infants when they claimed to be hurt; when the shadow leader demanded that the attorney general be brought to the house to apologise for "calling us turkeys." There, there.

The game goes on and while it does I shall be nipping out to get myself some more mature brie to stuff in my ears, muffling the songs of the stupid. While all this lasts I think the printed word might be safer.

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