Caleb, Willie, Pete and Teo were well into their fourth, maybe fifth, beer.
“King has to resign.”
“Why should he? You think MacDonald wasn’t crooked?”
“He has to, it’s the honourable thing to do.”
“Ha! Honour in politics! You’re taking the mickey, Pete.”
“All I shay is, ish not my shircus, ish not my monkeys,” Teo slurred.
The argument came to a dead stop. “What?” the others said.
“Ish old Polish shaying, means . . .” Teo scratched his head, shrugged, “. . . means not my problem.”
“Of course it’s your problem.”
“Only if you’re a damned Liberal.”
The debate went downhill from there.
#99WordStory #CarrotRanchFlashFictionChallenge #FlashFiction #HighamFamilyHistory #CanadianHistory #Politics #KingByngAffair #MargaretGHanna
The back story:
Caleb Higham, my maternal grandfather, liked to drink. My uncles have stories of him coming home after a night of drinking with his buddies, three sheets to the wind, drunker than a skunk, pissed to the gills (pick your metaphor). Plus, he often sported bruised knuckles, a black eye, and a swollen lip because once “liquored up” he often got into fisticuffs. How he managed to drive the six miles from Assiniboia back to the farm without killing himself remains a mystery. Grandma Higham, a confirmed teetotaler to her dying day, was not amused, as they say. She invariably tore a strip off him, but it did no good.
Caleb was also a staunch Liberal. His brother-in-law was a staunch Conservative. This led to many good-natured political debates around the kitchen table. What those same debates might have been like with Caleb’s drinking buddies is anyone’s guess.
The “debate” referenced in this story is the rather messy 1926 King-Byng affair. In the federal election that year, the incumbent Liberals under William Lyon McKenzie King won fewer seats that the Conservatives under Arthur Meighan. Governor-General Lord Byng suggested that King resign but King refused, claiming he could continue in power with the support of the Progressive Party that held the balance of power in the House of Commons.
Then word leaked that one of King’s appointees had taken bribes, whereupon the Conservatives claimed that corruption was rife in the government. The government took its usual approach and appointed a commission to investigate. Thereupon followed a lot of too-ing and fro–ing but eventually King asked the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament to let Meighan form government. Lord Byng refused, citing King’s prior claim.
King promptly resigned and asked Meighan to form the government, which he did. The Liberals and Progressives moved a Motion of Non-Confidence which the Meighan government lost. Parliament was dissolved and another federal election was held.
This time, the Liberal party won a plurality of seats and King was once again Prime Minister.
Who says politics is boring?