Did you think all that ever comes out of Dorset is fossils? Or that most political Brexiters are crusty, scrofulaic old men with questionable hygiene, an onanistic fetish for the past (the more forgettable the better) and misty-eyed nostalgia for things like the Norfolk Island penal colony, public beheadings of entire families, and the good old days before socialist medicine when all a GP’s medical bag contained was a hacksaw and a bottle of scotch?
If so, Sir Christopher Chope will surprise you. For he somehow manages to breathe new life into what have threatened to become tired old clichés about Brexiters. God knows by what strange alchemy he does it but I bet Michael Gove’s dying for a sniff.
He isn’t a well-known Brexiter but makes up for it with staunchly pre-Cambrian views about most things. Like Isaac Newton, although with more justification, he is modest about his achievements. Unlike Newton, Chope’s backward-looking, nativist myopia has only been made possible by squatting on the shoulders of pygmies. In this he harks back to the days when the Cricket Test and a manly dislike of garlic marked the alpha British male. He’s an old-school hanger, flogger and unanaesthetised testicle-ripper for whom climate scientists, burka-wearers, po*fters, the BBC, Alan Turing and women seeking equal pay and conditions – in short, most of us – are just invasive spores from the mould on a month-old sandwich excavated from a Marlburian satchel.
In parliament, Chope is notorious for tripping up often sensible bills through objections and filibusters while going to equally absurd lengths to inflict his own obsessions on the house. For example, he saved from ignominious obscurity the gentlemen’s weekend amusement of taking unsolicited photographs up ladies’ skirts and prevented action to oppose female genital mutilation and the mistreatment of circus animals. Conversely, long before Steve Bray’s one-man siege of Parliament in all weathers, Chope and a number of other trilobite-fanciers including Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone “camped” inside the Commons for several days. Perhaps it was raining outside.
They demanded time for their “Alternative Queen’s Speech” of “forty true-blue bills” reflecting real Tory values. These included: restoring capital punishment and national conscription; amalgamating the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Offices into a new super-ministry located on Rockall; a National Margaret Thatcher Day; withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights; privatisating the BBC; leaving the EU (with no referendum – remember THAT next time a Brexiter calls you “undemocratic”); and forcing prisoners to be chained to rolling repeats of The Black and White Minstrel Show for their entire sentence.
Why was he in the news recently? Because he delayed resolution of his government’s scandalous attempt to let off their corrupt Brexiter mate Owen Paterson by forcing a debate on a subject upon which everyone says they agree – except, clearly, Sir Christopher Chope, a man who once claimed £881 of our money to have his sofa refurbished.