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Thursday 7 February 2013

Private Eye Commons Sketch – Spot The Author

[Update at end of post]

Many hacks and pundits have written for Private Eye over the years, and often under a variety of pseudonyms. These have been recently joined by a Parliamentary sketch-writer who goes under the alias of “Gavel Basher”. The latest effort from the pen of this author can be seen below – click for larger image – under the heading “Called to Ordure” (geddit?!?).

I have to confess that this feature is one that I often skip, concentrating instead on the parliamentary goings-on in the adjacent HP Sauce section of the magazine. But this effort caught my eye (as it were) because the whole thing looked rather familiar. There is a certain coarsening of the style – the pundit free of the constraints of his editor – but there are clear clues as to who he is.

Behold a very familiar style

Here are some of those clues:

1 Tories are Very Wonderful people, if only by inference. Labour, on the other hand, are quite dreadful oiks, being worked deliberately and maliciously by “Auguste” Balls (whom this author clearly dislikes) for the purposes of puerile barracking.
2 John Bercow is held to be in league with Labour, and particularly with Balls.
3 Tories are scrupulously polite people, and Labour members are just rotten to them in return.
4 Labour MPs who he doesn’t like are by definition “little”.
5 There is much flowery and pretentious language deployed.
6 There is also the inference that the rotten lefties have been on the sauce beforehand, without actually making the accusation directly.
7 Strangely, no other sketch-writer sees the Commons the same way.

In addition to all of that, if it is indeed the pundit I think it is behind the “Gavel Basher” alias, his editor takes what can only be called a “Zero tolerance” attitude to those who have previously worked at the Eye. So one has to assume that the appearance in Private Eye was cleared beforehand, or that someone is hoping they don’t get caught.

So who is the mysterious “Gavel Basher”? All replies – or perhaps that should read “confirmations” – will be gratefully received.

[UPDATE 8 February 1555 hours: word has reached Zelo Street from the odious Quentin Letts (let's not), who has asserted that he is not behind "Gavel Basher".

That may surprise anyone who has guessed that he is the source, which appears to be most of those who have ventured an opinion. But I can only pass on what The Great Man says]


Anonymous said...

I'd say Toby Young but he's on holiday in Kenya and I doubt he got to see Treasury questions.
So maybe Delingpole or Gilligoon?

john b said...

Lett's see if we can work this one out between us.

simonB said...

Whoever it is they've gone downhill. I wouldn't miss them if they stopped. And don't get me started on "Keeping the Lights On."

Anonymous said...

Letts be having the answer.