News has emerged that ‘sides’ of Morris Men are to be outlawed between 1st of July and 30th September this year. The popular, some will argue, summer's evening beer garden and village green stalwart is believed to have become a casualty of Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt’s drive 'not to make Britain look bloody silly in front of the rest of the world'.
Speaking today from his South West Surrey constituency where he was holding a surgery Mr Hunt said, “We have a lot riding on this Summer, what with The Olympics and Paralympics, and having a bunch of beardy overweight men cavorting around outside our pubs and on village greens in smocks and bells cannot be allowed under any circumstances. What on earth would overseas visitors think of us? We’d immediately be labelled as the ‘Mentals” of Europe. It’s not even as if Morris Dancing is classy and sexy like Riverdance was. I mean all those colleens in smashing little short skirts. What? Eh? Eh? Ding-dong!"
And the move appears to be enjoying some much welcome cross-party support and is uniting the recently fractious coalition. Nick Clegg added his weight to the debate for the Lib Dems, “What, allow overseas visitors to see Morris Dancing in all its blubbery beardy horror? Not when I have one single last dying breath in my body. This is our chance to shine on the world stage. Why would we want to mess it up with Morris Dancing? What next? Another bloody River Pageant? It’s just too ghastly to contemplate!”
And in a rare 'big three' full house Labour leader Ed Milliband snapped, “If I had my way it would never be allowed to be seen in public ever again. It's a complete and utter toe-curling embarrassment. Especially when they get that sheep's bladder thing out!”
But the much-maligned dance-form was stoutly defended by its national president, Charlie ‘Caper-Caper’ Clarke who told Mariella Fostrupp of Sky Arts, “Well Oi don’t roightly know what’s meant to be wrong with Morris Dancing, me old dear, me old ducker. There’s plenty o’ them as likes it like me pretty little darlin. Oh arr! It goes royght back to ancient toymes yer know. Now you tell me what could be better than six blokes, a fiddle and a concertina making lovely music and the lads all a-leapin about drinking beer and a-fartin and a-burpin in the faces of holiday makers? Absolutely fabaluss me deary!"
But Mr Hunt appeared unmoved by the impassioned plea for clemency. “Nonsense, it's dire!," he insisted, "Anyone found transgressing this new law will be liable to six months imprisonment and a £5000 fine for a first offence. Repeated offences will not be treated quite so leniently though. And indeed on reflection there is perhaps some mileage in taking what Mr Miliband has said onboard. So with that in mind I intend order an all-party committee to consider a permanent ban."