My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk (says Jeremy Corbyn)

BH HC Agincourt troops
We happy few … who voted Labour.

I’ve got a 4-period day tomorrow, so I could do with an early night.  Instead, I put a pizza in the oven at about 11pm …

Thanks a bunch, exit polls.

Yesterday, I explored how Shakespeare might vote in today’s General Election.  Reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that he and I might avoid discussing politics over our ale – a bit like I have to with my dad, to be honest.

I voted Labour.  Let’s get that out of the way.

I expected a big Conservative win, and wanted to register some meaningful opposition against it.  Last time round, there was a majority of less than 2,000 in favour of our local Labour MP, so I abandoned my usual determination to strike a blow for the environment by voting Green, and put my shoulder to the wheel.

With the fatalistic view of Henry V on the night before Agincourt, I switched on BBC Radio 4 at just a few minutes before the polls closed.  As the big Exit Poll arrived (BBC/ITV/SKY), I couldn’t quite do the figures, or believe what was said.  Now, it may well be proved wrong, but it would have to be VERY wrong for my pessimistic views to be confirmed.  I’ve got a 4-period day tomorrow, so I could do with an early night.  Instead, I put a pizza in the oven at about 11pm …

God only knows:

a) how long I can stay awake; and/or

b) whether that exit poll is remotely accurate

… but I’m genuinely sitting here – pizza consumed – with a fatalistic view about what I’ll wake to tomorrow.  Hope and pragmatism are beating the crap out of each other, and in the meantime, as I can’t sleep, I’m scanning Henry V for apposite quotations, a bit like I did for Richard III and Donald Trump:

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party:

On the election being called:

‘We would not seek a battle as we are,

Nor as we are, we say, we will not shun it.’ (HENRY:

On refusing to give up:

‘my ransom is this frail and worthless trunk’  (HENRY:

On Corbyn himself:

‘I think the King is but a man, as I am’  (HENRY:  VI.i.102)

On the eve of ‘battle’:

‘O God of battles, steel my soldiers’ hearts;

Possess them not with fear..  Take from them now

The sense of reckoning’ (HENRY:  IV.i.286-288)

Theresa May and the conservatives:

On general arrogance in anticipation of an easy victory:

‘I will trot tomorrow a mile, and my way shall be paved with English faces.’  (DAUPHIN:  III.vii.80-81)

‘If the English had any apprehension they would run away.’  (CONSTABLE:  III.vii. 135-136)

‘It is now two o’clock; but let me see, by ten

We shall each have a hundred Englishmen.’ (ORLEANS:  III.vii.155-156)

– – –

By the time I’m awake again (which will be earlier than planned) it’s quite possible that Orleans will have been proved correct, but at the moment I’d like to savour the hope – such a rare commodity these days – that things might change for the better …


All line references are to the Arden Third Edition.



Author: Boar's Head, Eastcheap

Hyperactive English Teacher and Tutor; Shakespeare-obsessed 'Villainous abominable misleader of youth'; 'old white-bearded Satan'; Friend of the Orangutan

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