A Gentleman’s Diary of the Pig Plague Year 22

Mrs Murray and I continue very Well, with no need of Physick. Yesterday we took our Promenade down to Gunnersbury Park. We made a picque-nique with some Roast Fowl and a quart of claret, and watched the Gentlemen of Acton in a match at Cricket against some visiting Gentlemen.

Mrs Murray commented what a goodly Providence it was, that had assured that, even in these terrible times of Plague, each team had yet been able to find eleven players, and some of them very fine looking and Portly!

The talk was all of Baroness Udders who has been caught stealing from the public purse. Nobody could recall a single reason why a woman of such small Distinction might have been elevated to the Peerage. It is believed, however, that she commands prodigious many of the new postal ballots in a Rotten Borough very nigh upon the Tower, where the poor disgraced Mr Blair had been much beset by Liberals. Mrs Murray observed to me that Baroness Udders was a mere Harlot who should be Whipped around the Town. I cannot find it in my heart to disagree with her.

Returning home up Gunnersbury Road, we passed by an emporium for funerary services. We were very much surprised to see that all appeared quiet. Perchance the proprietor had collapsed from overwork, and become himself, in that sense, a Victim of the Great Pig Plague? That we should live to see such Melancholy times!

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22 thoughts on “A Gentleman’s Diary of the Pig Plague Year

  • anticant

    Isn’t it glaringly obvious why Baroness Baksheesh was elevated to the peerage?

  • mary


    Personal life

    The diary gives a detailed account of Pepys’s personal life. He liked wine and plays, and the company of other people. He also spent a great deal of time evaluating his fortune and his place in the world. He was always curious and often acted on that curiosity, as he acted upon almost all his impulses. Periodically he would resolve to devote more time to hard work instead of leisure. For example, in his entry for New Year’s Eve, 1661, he writes: “I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine …”. The following months reveal his lapses to the reader; by 17 February, it is recorded, “Here I drank wine upon necessity, being ill for the want of it.”

    As well as being one of the most important civil servants of his age, Pepys was a widely cultivated man, taking an interest in books, music, the theatre, and science. He was passionately interested in music; and he composed, sang, and played, for pleasure. He played the lute, viol, violin, flageolet, recorder and spinet to varying degrees of proficiency.[50] He was also a keen singer, and performed at home, in coffee houses and even in Westminster Abbey.[51] He and his wife took flageolet lessons from the master Thomas Greeting.[52] He also taught his wife to sing, and paid for dancing lessons for her (although these stopped when he became jealous of the dancing master).

  • Craig

    Can’t be bothered – I’ve outed him now and his propaganda for the FCO’s support of torture. More important things to think about.

  • KevinB

    Brilliant work Craig. Very funny.

    Surely The Independent will offer you your own column shortly.

    Mmmm, maybe not.

  • John D. Monkey


    Arguing with Crawford is a game you can’t win so I agree it’s best to ignore him.

    There’s an excellent appreciation by Gregg Easterbrook on the ESPN site of Jack Kemp, which I found idly perusing Guido.

    He was a man who was important to US politics but of whom we read very little in the UK. Even when he was a big player in the Reagan years. I always find it interesting when the UK media lazily accuses the US media of being parochial (which it is) without seeing the beam in its own eye…

    Kemp’s politics were not mine but his humanity and understanding that you need to work for those who didn’t vote for you just as much as those who did was head and shoulders above the rest of the Republican Party.


    This links to from his letter to his grandchildren after Obama was elected, which is worth a read. It has an interesting para:

    “My advice for you all is to understand that unity for our nation doesn’t require uniformity or unanimity; it does require putting the good of our people ahead of what’s good for mere political or personal advantage.”

    I fear that almost everyone in UK politics, especially Gordon Brown and his supine Cabinet, have forgotten this, if they ever knew it.



  • anticant

    That’s a bit hoity-toity, Craig. The purpose of debate is to set out your own case as clearly and forcefully as possible, and to refute the flaws in your opponent’s case. If we all confined our public discussion to people we agreed with – as NuLabour does – it would become futile.

    I sense some personal animus, and maybe some old office politics history, between you and Crawford. Which is a pity, because you both have worthwhile things to say and this debate needs to be had.

    Just because your blog is deservedly successful, and you’ve had a good week, please don’t get prima donna-ish.

  • Craig


    No, there’s no bad history or current animus between Charles and I.

    It’s just that my own views on torture and intelligence are exhaustively documented. Charles view is, as always, indiscernible from the British government position, as put to me exhaustively in my evidence session to parliament last week. So I see no point in putting myself through the hoops all over again for the six readers of Charles’ “Blogoir”.

    I am very happy for you and others to take on the argument with him.

  • anticant

    Craig, it is really very unwise to dismiss what you haven’t read or to assume you know what people are saying before you have heard it. Charles has gone to considerable trouble to deal with several of the points you raised with him about his time in Poland etc. It would at least be prudent, not to say courteous, to read his posts before brushing them aside. Whether or not you choose to respond is up to you. I certainly think this is an important matter, because it is about the ethos of the Diplomatic Service during the Blair era.

  • Anticant

    I did read it. I followed the link from your own blog! It remains however nothing more than a restatement of the government position.

  • Stevie

    Another great post Craig. Is there anything we can do to follow up your successful evidence session last week? I noted there were a few of the Lords present who seemed interested in a number of particular points you raised and it might be an idea to follow up these lines.

    Good luck with the baby too.

  • anticant

    I’m re-reading Lord Vansittart’s autobiography, “The Mist Procession”, which depicts a very different Diplomatic Service to what we have now.

  • Abe Rene

    Drink you Claret by the pintful? Verily, you must have entered on to better times. But we are puzzled at how Portly players could play well – ah, we understand, they were but Gentlemen, and so devoted themselves to looking fine, and drinking Port, while leaving the playing to the Players. Verily a similar pattern to certain Party Leaders, who occupy themselves with drinking the drink of their choice and plotting the undermining of our ancient liberties (which occupation they boldly call “new labour”), while leaving the hard work to servants with brains well-washed , the better to devotedly repeat the doctrine of their Masters, and the better for both estates to receive a good whipping, come Election night.

    Good luck to both of you.

  • nextus

    A fine post, sir, befitting one of our alternative national treasures! (Tongue firmly in cheek, as ever, I see. You are an imp!) I agree there are reasons to be cheerful.

    At the JCHR meeting, you successfully lobbed a grenade at the government’s defence of complicity. (It struck me that Evan Harris was anticipating Straw’s inevitable weaseling, and helped to demolish the hidey-holes.)

    Moreover, you’ve had a sobering influence on Creepy Crawford. He’s starting to lay out his “all for the good of the country” ethic on the dissecting table.

    And it was hugely entertaining to hear Iain Dale throw such a strop on Galloway’s talk show:

    ID: “All you’re interested in is trashing Margaret Thatcher’s reputation and stopping somebody from debate, and I’m just not going to play your game!”

    GG: “What? … What’s that supposed to mean? Speak! Say your piece! … Say your piece! Why don’t you answer?”

    ID: “No, because you’re going to interrupt me … ”

    GG: “No, Iain, I’m not going to interrupt you at all. You can speak … as long as you like.”

    ID: “Please let me interrupt you.”

    GG: “The microphone is there. Speak as long as you like.”

    ID: “… What’s the point?!”

    GG: “Well, the point is … several hundred thousand people are listening to you.”

    … etc. Wonderful!

  • nobody

    Pepys aside, this Patrick O’Brian fan enjoyed it immensely.

    As for the plague, my favourite statistic of the week was that in any given flu season in the US over 30,000 people die. I can’t speak of the accuracy of the figure; but then neither can anyone else what with the media’s complete and utter uninterest in how this flu compares to every other.

    The most sensible explanation for the absurd hype I’ve seen put forward was that a warehouse load of tamiflu was approaching it’s use-by date and between throwing it out, and having governments purchase it at full price, the former was thought to be more appealing to shareholders.

  • anticant

    And who is a big player in the firm that makes Tamiflu? Donald Rumsfeld.

  • Christopher Dooley

    re: Rumsfeld and Tamiflu

    Is this guy a genius investor or what ?

    Oil, Arms, Anthrax vaccine, Tamiflu

    he sure anticipates the markets quite well

    how does he do it ?

  • anticant

    Well, he was certainly a genius in investing chaos in Iraq which made big “reconstruction” bucks for his Halliburton and Blackwater friends.

  • shootallpoliticians

    Two things wrong here; firstly, you could never, EVER be described as a gentleman.

    Second, she’s not Mrs Murray yet is she, just another in your long line of shags.

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