The Old Grumpies: EU - should we stay or leave?

2 January 2015.......    Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to supporters during a visit to The Crossley Gallery in Dean Clough, Halifax. TJ100647f Picture by Tony Johnson

2 January 2015....... Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to supporters during a visit to The Crossley Gallery in Dean Clough, Halifax. TJ100647f Picture by Tony Johnson

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At our recent meeting it was inevitable that some discussion would take place regarding the European Referendum and whether we were for staying or leaving.

When a member arrived late and was asked is he was staying or leaving he thought that his presence at the meeting was being questioned and his response confirmed his right to be called an Old Grumpy.

On the subject of the Referendum we soon agreed that according to a variety of people it would be terrible/wonderful if we stay in, or terrible/wonderful if we come out. We do know that anyone advising us what to do are telling us what is best for them and not us. The consensus was that we didn’t think it would make much difference.

It appears that older people want to preserve what they see as British values but the younger generation don’t bother much about history, which after all, as Alan Bennett said, is just one thing after another.

Someone then asked the question, reminiscent of the words of CEM Joad who would usually say on radio’s Brains Trust “It all depends what you mean by…” and in this case it was British values. This proved far more difficult than it was imagined and what followed was a discussion about a number of frequently used words and what they mean.

We know what hypocrisy is. It’s when most politicians’ lips move or it comes from the groups who criticise other people for the use of legal means to minimise their tax demands, when they only deal in cash for work done or given. What VAT?

No one was sure what austerity meant but some politicians are going to get rid of it but don’t tell us how.

What does poverty mean these days? Is it when you’ve only one car or can’t afford the latest p-pod or whatever they call them? There followed a lot of ‘in our day we knew what poverty meant’ and it almost reached the level of the Yorkshire Man on Monty Python who claimed he lived in a cardboard box in the middle of the road and had to lick the Tarmac for breakfast.

Just when the meeting, for once, had been seriously considering a subject, in this case definitions, we were then asked if we knew what “dilate” meant and before we could answer we were told it meant a Welshman who was never on time, or a Yorkshire man who lived a long time. Then they came thick and fast.

Direct was a Welshman who had just crashed, diverse was a Welsh poet, directory was a Welsh vicarage and diarrhoea was a Welshman who owed rent.

Then the Yorkshire ones took over. Had we heard of the definition of a variety of medical terms? Terminal illness was what you got at the airport, an outpatient was someone who had just fainted and labour pains were when you got hurt at work. It became fairly obvious that many members had been unable to keep up, or in some cases awake, and the chairman realised that once again he had allowed the meeting to descend from a modest intellectual level to the usual jovial jousting from the jokesters. Announcing it was almost time for his medication he closed the meeting.