god bless us, every one
Cards on the table, this is a rehash of last year’s mistletoe missive, so many of you will already know I have strong feelings of what constitutes a suitably moral festive flick. It’s either Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ where James Stewart’s George Bailey is saved by trainee angel, Clarence, or ‘Scrooge’, the 1951 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, in which we see the superbly frozen-hearted Alastair Sim thawed by the passing of several Christmas ghosts.
Calling the general election at this festive time proved inspired and ensured all Boris’s Christmases came at once. Hope was a difficult doorstep-sell as it interfered with Amazon Prime deliveries and goodwill to all those identifying as whatever gender was at an all-time low. With Jeremy Kyle no longer on the tele, Brexiters were able to turn out in their droves and this certainly brought a wry smile to the cold bloodless lips of Jacob Rees-Marley, a cursed individual who would need more than three ghosts to change his behavior. Our very own elf-on-a-shelf, Sajid Javid, fresh from his Deutsche Bank days of dealing the financial-crash-causing toxic swaps and derivatives, produced a pantomime star-turn as multi-millionaire Mr Potter, creating a magical asset-stripped desolate wasteland of a wintry scene.
Those two cantankerous and ever-heckling Muppets, Statler and Waldorf, were superbly played by the Ghost of Christmas Past, long past and way past his best, Oh-Jeremy-Corbyn, and sidekick, Ol’ John McDonnell, who no longer had a farm, or a party for that matter, to represent. Priti Patel, Cinderella’s ugliest sister proved pink really wasn’t her colour and Widow Jo Swanky found she couldn’t go to the parliament ball in any event. The male servant of the household, Buttons-Gove, popped in to show us insincerity is now no longer his second nature but first and Tom Watson, who’d signed up earlier in the year to star as Humpty Dumpty, chose to give both pantomimes a less-wide berth. In the fracking far north, the Krankies brought the SNP house down with Snow White Sturgeon looking visibly relieved that Aladdin Salmond was no longer rubbing his golden lamp right behind her. Oh yes he is.
Anyway, enough of that malarkey. As it transpires, the character of ol’ Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t dreamt up in an episode of Kirstie’s Home Made Christmas, but was inspired by Eton and Cambridge educated lawyer and property magnate, John Camden Neild (1780-1852). His huge house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, would be illuminated by a solitary candle that he carried with him from room to room, whilst his threadbare clothes fell about him as rags. A well-known figure in Dickensian London, he became nationally (in)famous upon his death by leaving his half-a-million pound fortune (now worth the equivalent of £66 million) to Queen Victoria. WTF, now there’s a proper full-on royalist for you! She then did what he should’ve done in the first place and used the legacy to give pensions to his servants (to whom he’d left nothing) and paid for a memorial window in the North Marston church, where Neild was buried. All-heart was our Mrs Melbourne.
Mind, it wasn’t all good news for his penniless benefactors, as the vast amount remaining has since been recognised by royal historians as the principal source of private wealth that transformed the relatively penniless Hanoverians into the Windsor plutocrats they are today. And if it was, Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s Prince Charmless wants it known that it wasn’t enough by half as he can now hardly afford a thin & crispy margherita in Woking’s finest. So, in these deeply concerning and uncertain times, give generously to the charities and good causes that pull on your heart strings, be loving to those you care about and try to help each other get through this thing, whatever ‘this thing’ is to you. Eat, drink, make merry and as Ebenezer’s new-found BFF, Tiny Tim, observes “God bless us, every one”. Merry Christmas.