Saturday 20 October 2012

Cameron Does The Europe Neverendum Hokey Cokey

If there is one thing seared on the memory it is the jig “Do The Hokey Cokey”, where a line of linked people, usually alternate male and female, snake around the hall or room or wherever bellowing out the lyric and doing the moves. 

During my youth it usually marked the point where those attending were either seriously sloshed or felt that the “do” needed livening up with a bit of noisy jollity.  As a stroppy youngster, inevitably, I felt that it was undignified for people as old as 30 or even more to be doing this kind of thing.

The lyric, it still makes me wince, is on the Wikipedia entry along with other versions internationally.  It begins, “You put your right leg in, you put your right leg out, in, out, in out, shake it all about….” and goes on, and on, and on.  In the days before amplified sound it was one thing, heaven knows what it is like with amplification.

Nevertheless, such a basic simplification of basic human movements can be applied in other contexts.  One appears to be the current Prime Ministerial view of the nature of question to be asked in any referendum we may have on the issue of Europe.

We are told that it might be an “In in” question, that is do we go with the flow as it is happening in Europe at present, or do we engage in one of those diplomatic dances where the idea is that some sort of deal may result to the satisfaction of both parties,

The trouble is we have done this before, a great many times.  Those brilliant minds at the Foreign Office and the highest reaches of the Civil Service allied to the wayward attention of our politicians have almost always ensured that we were well and truly sold down the river.

That is why so many of us feel that not only must there be a better way, but the only way is out to enable us to attend to our own affairs in our own interest.  So the question should be “In or out”, and if the vote is for in then the question on what basis can be addressed.

One matter that does complicate the issue is that we are now at a point where fewer and fewer trust anything that emerges from government and our first instinct is not to identify the key issues for but to ask who is getting the loot and has most to gain? 

In the past this was often hard to work out and we were bedevilled by lack of access to information or debate or to any thorough critical analysis.  In the age of the internet this is not the case, there is a lot more to go at and some very good material for debate if you know where to look or are interested.

But the difficult part is how to transmit any of this to the mass of the voters, or rather those who will actually vote.  This should be a function of the media, but this today is either bought or bound up with sensation or trivia. 

So if the trend is against what our elite want, we will be offered the media equivalent of the Hokey Cokey to amuse, engage or distract us.  If then we are only offered an “In in” choice we will finish up with an “In” dictated to us by Europe.

Who was it who said “First, get rid of the pianist”?


  1. Here in the US, we refer to it as the "Hokey Pokey"


    You English and your continental ways.

    1. When the men of the 82nd Airborne notably the 504th Airborne Regiment around 1943/44 called it "Hokey Pokey" they were firmly asked to say "Hoky Cokey". In England at that time "Pokey" had a very rude meaning. Then, of course, the continent was isolated.

  2. I never knew about a rude meaning - in early 40s it was the name of the stuff my Gran made from boiling up brown sugar and treacle as a very very great treat, and letting it set hard. I was allowed to use a small real hammer to break it into pieces. (Shock horror - Health & Safety). It was also a skipping game with two girls turning a rope at school 'Hokey pokey, penny a lump, the more you eat the more you jump' At 'jump' you jumped out from under the rope. Found out whilst living in New Zealand such sweets had been popular there. Amazing, still have my own teeth. They always had the Hoky Cokey at War Time dances, children and babies would go too and sleep on side benches. Many joined in with what everyone I knew called the "Oky" Cokey. Never an H to be heard. Apologies for digressing - the lights are going out rather too fast just about everywhere.