WE stand on the cusp, laddies and gentlewomen. Yes, it’s Super Saturday as you read this. Doon yonder, where our rulers reside, they’re thrashing out the ins and outs of being out, after years of being in.

At the outset, I’d planned to provide you with a full guide to the new deal and the implications for the economy in both Britannia Major and Britannia Minor (Scotia), but then I thought that you might spot a fundamental flaw in my analysis: to wit, that I don’t know anything about it.

Accordingly, I’ve decided to focus instead on Super 1880. Yes, that was the year that was, like, the best ever, according to a bewilderment (I think that’s the collective noun) of researchers. The boffins, from Warwick University, Glasgow University Adam Smith Business School, and the Alan Turing Institute in that London, analysed emotional content detectable in books and articles over the last 200 years.

The reason why 1880 appears to have come out top is because the British Empire was at its peak. More people were getting rich and educated and, while poverty was rife, it was good, British poverty, which is and always will be the best poverty. No snowflakes back then. Folk were proud of their squalor. They didn’t complain or, if they did, they were imprisoned.

Apart from that, in the course of researching this article or piece, I’ve been unable to find evidence of much happening in 1880. The only highlight anyone mentions was the first successful shipment of frozen mutton from Australia.

As for the Empire, well, there was trouble in Basuto – home, as you will recall, of the Basotho people – and the year ended with the outbreak of the Boer War and, shortly afterwards, the massacre of British soldiers at the Battle of Bronkhorst Spruit. I can’t think that being bayonetted in the Spruit would make anyone happy.

On the political front, the Tory Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, retired. Not only was his gout getting him down but he remained distraught after the massacre of British soldiers at the Battle of Isandlwana the previous year (and, in the happiness stakes, you didn’t want a spear up your jacksie either).

While British troops were happily being massacred abroad, William Gladstone became Prime Minister at home, after his Edinburghshire (as Midlothian was properly known) Campaign, which involved speaking to mass crowds in what passed as entertainment in pre-Downton days.

Perhaps it’s a hangover from my school days that the name William Gladstone makes me come over all sleepy. You too? Well, wake up, readers, as I whisk us all forward to the year 1978, which the same researchers say was, like, the worst year ever. This has caused a storm or mild breeze of protest from those who were there and loved it.

There was the so-called Winter of Discontent, of course, industrial strife, rubbish piling up in the streets, yada and an additional helping of yada. On the plus side, a pint of beer cost less than 30p, England failed to qualify for the World Cup, and you could buy a hoose for, on average, £17,000.

Unfortunately, the following year saw the election of Margaret Thatcher and the ongoing triumph of the free market, with the result that the average cost of a house is now £240,000. Mrs Thatcher’s election lifted the national mood, it says here, and matters progressed merrily until, in the 1980s, Britons were happily rioting in many towns and cities of Englandshire.

I suspect that the trouble with a lot of such research is that the indices they analyse don’t stack up to a hill of beans – or reality, as I have also heard it described.

One wonders what future researchers will make of 2019, a year of fury and intolerance, caused by having no foreign wars to fight, a year in which the nation stood on the brink of enormous economic success after Brexit.

Perhaps schoolchildren will start dozing over their books when the name Boris Johnson comes up. They brighten on seeing the term Super Saturday but, finding it’s not about football, back to sleep they go.


KIM Jong-un, a right wrong ’un, revealed his country’s latest sophisticated weapon this week: a horse.

The leading North Korean daftie rode the beastie up Mount Paektu which, credit where it’s due, not a lot of us can say we’ve done. Leading analysts said Kim was channelling his inner Putin, though we’ve yet to see the peerie dictator with his tap aff, perhaps because he doesn’t want to reveal his weapons of moob destruction.

He’s been seen gadding about on a cuddie before, and experts say such equestrian shenanigans often precede a major announcement: “Tonight I will have the pie and chips. No beans.”

However, we mustn’t titter. North Korea is a major nuclear player, and it’s thought the horse comes into the country’s war plans, which involve First Minister Kim riding over to Canada then south to the American border, where he takes a nuclear bomb out of his saddle bag and flings it as far as his wee fat arms can manage.

Then he says, “Home, Fido!”, and the horse returns to NK, where terrified officials reveal the disappointing news that his nuke was a damp squib.

Still, it’s not every day you see a donkey on a horse.


GOVERNMENT plans to make voters provide photo ID have caused consternation among me.

Recently, I’d to shell out nearly 80 quid for a passport, when I haven’t been abroad for 11 years and have no intention of going. Been before. Ghastly place. You need to provide ID for so many things now, such as buying a wig or if you want brown sauce with your fish supper.

I can’t think what help photo ID would be in stopping electoral fraud, which is already evident in the list of candidates. Who wants two votes anyway? British people find voting even once a terrible hindrance to their busy schedules.

You’d think we’d have electronic voting now, but there’s a risk of Kim Jong-un hacking the system so that we end up with him as Prime Minister.

So, we trundle along to a church hall set up with trestle tables, from which hang stencilled posters with alphabetical directions. We take a pencil and mark a cross next to the least appalling candidate, fold the paper and put it into the slot of an old, scarred metal box.

It’s like stepping back into an episode of Dad’s Army. And that’s how we like it. ++++

DEATH has been in the papers again. This time, rioting erupted in several rural areas after Mr Motivator, the fitness personality off the telly, announced that he wants his ashes to be mixed into a fish paste, which would then be put into sandwiches for mourners to eat.

I’ll be quite candid with you and confess that I cannot be bothered researching if Mr M. actually said this or not. But it was on the front page of the Daily Star which, in a court of law, I would swear on before any bible.

Mr Motivator’s catchphrases include “Be happy” and “Get wicked”, which seem evidence of a confused mind. The latter is theologically dubious, while in reply to the former I would always say: “No.”

Still, there may be merit in this fish paste idea. At least nothing would go to waste. I suspect my ashes would probably give everyone appalling wind, and the sombre atmosphere I desire for commemorating my life would be ruined by raspberry sounds emanating from sundry nether regions.

I wonder if it would be possible to have my ashes inserted into Rennie’s tablets, which have been a great spiritual comfort to me over the years.

Read more: Now that's what I call environ-mental