Brexit & the Burger Van

The Tory Party has the political equivalent of food poisoning. Patrick Sullivan argues that, with new leadership, it can get better.

Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor
On 15 May 2019 08:46

With the Brexit Party looking like it is going to romp home in the forthcoming European elections; certain commentators have already written their obituaries of the Conservative Party and are now only waiting to be given the green light to make inevitable comparisons between the Tory Party and a “dead parrot.”

Having had the Conservative Party as “dead parrot” during my adolescence and whilst at university, I also witnessed it come roaring back to life; like a mixed-metaphor phoenix riding a husky. That same year it stopped being funny calling me “Tory Boy” was also the same year; I learnt a very important lesson.

I ate a dodgy burger.

My usual kebab shop of choice, Mr. Arco’s was closed, and I was hungry. So, I was faced with a Sophie’s Choice of a dilemma. I could go hungry and waste away some of my excess weight. I had been building up my energy reserves, in order to sustain myself in the event of a zombie apocalypse. I knew that Sod’s Law would come to bite me in the arse with that one. If I indeed, did raid my reserves, then I would be caught underprepared in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Sod’s Law therefore that this is when a zombie apocalypse would happen. I could not allow myself to be responsible for the zombie apocalypse. I had seen Shaun of the Dead.

Now that I am half the man I used to be, I know the stories about food shortages and zombie apocalypse-like conditions must be true. Overcoming my fear of the treadmill and turning from jolly fat bloke into not as jolly, and still not thin, healthier bloke has meant that my energy reserves are considerably depleted. Of course, Sod’s Law means that now we are going to get the zombie apocalypse, of course, this time if the mainstream media is to believed it is going to be much worse; a No Deal Brexit is not even going to be a zombie apocalypse times a million, a No Deal Brexit times a hundred million. I don’t know if I can eat enough Ringo’s Pizza, in time.


Having correctly resolved, in late 2005, was in the interest of the greater good, for humanity, that I could not allow my tummy to rumble for much longer; I knew that waiting for the sun to rise and Sainsbury’s to open was not an option. Thinking of Sainsbury’s there was no food in the house that didn’t require cooking and there were three house rules. They were, in order of importance; not to switch Olly J’s protein shake with Nesquik, not to drink Olly J’s protein shake and not to let Patrick cook.  There was a realistic prospect that I might burn down the house.

Burning Down the House is a great 80s tune; it’s very catchy to listen to. It is also what almost happened the last time I tried to cook. I had convinced myself I could be the new Gordon Ramsay, and in a way, I was; in effectively managing to piss people off. I was less so with the delicious meal part of the equation. I learnt that day that cooking was not my forte, and that if you harken to Fireman Sam when trying to put out a tiny kitchen fire, you probably need to lead to learn fire safety.

To all the kids reading this article about the Conservative Party and Brexit (ostensibly, at least); firstly, why are you reading this, instead of building a Lego Death Star, and secondly, and this is important, Fireman Sam lies.

Sometimes, throwing water on flames just makes a small kitchen fire into a medium fire. Fireman Sam does not tell you that and, apparently, that is a very poor excuse for making things much worse and is probably not the first thing you should mention to the housemate who has just run into the kitchen with fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers contain foam, which happens to put out fires.

Now I might just be extremely dense, or this might be a parable meant to illustrate the mind-numbing stupidity of some in the mainstream media and the Conservative Party, with their approach to taking on Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party. Their approach to firefighting comes from watching fantastic but out-dated episodes of the West Wing and maybe the U.S. House of Cards. They might have been watching Fireman Sam for all the good it has done them. By frustrating Brexit, decrying populism, talking down to the electorate like they were stupid and asking GOTCHA questions in unserious interviews, as if they were Noel Edmonds; the supposedly smart people are Burning Down the House, their House. If they keep doing what they are doing; they’re in for nasty weather.


Back in 2005, with cooking ruled out and Deliveroo, at least a decade away (long wait), I knew that I must venture out into the big, wide world to find sustenance. I knew what I wanted but I did not have the option of Mr. Arco’s that cold and windy night. Mr. Arco’s was great, he knew I liked bacon and although bacon had only been available as part of a bacon cheeseburger before. Mr. Arco knew that the best way to get me to spend my money, just as the best way for a politician to get vote, is to provide me with what I wanted. It wasn’t on the menu and it wasn’t a typical order but given he had bacon and means to cook it, but the customer like the voter is always right. It was not a mind-blowing order and just because he had to do things a little different than he had before, it really wasn’t that hard. I remained a loyal customer until I graduated, and like the prodigal son of old returned home. If only our civil service had the service mentality of Mr. Arco.

However, on the day in question in late 2005, the Mr. Arco option was not open to me. I had expected Mr. Arco to be open, but for some reason to do with Michael Gove; Mr. Arco could not open that night. Story of my life, I want something, and Michael Gove says I can’t have it. Muttering under my breath, about the Govester, who regardless of the time or circumstances always looks exactly the same; I resolved that if I could not have my bacon box from Mr. Arco then maybe I could at least get some red meat from the nearby Burger Van. In the absence of Mr. Arco and for the reasons outlined above it looked like the Burger Van was the only option left open to me.

There was a problem with the Burger Van however, it had been nicknamed “The Rat Burger Van” due to a rumour that the burgers were made from rats and the bacon probably came from rats too. That being said, the van had recently been given a fresh coat of paint, and the guys there were promising a new menu was on the horizon. It ending up being a con as the new menu turned out to be offering the same rat burger, just under a different name. That day, before the new menu – the worst menu in history – having the option of Mr. Arco closed off to me, and the other nearby kebab shop also unexpectedly closing early – the only option I could see open to me was the apparently reformed Burger Van.

Still I needed reassurances. I asked the Burger Van Man, about the rat burger rumours, as I was understandably sceptical, but he sounded so sure of himself when he told me that the burgers were 100% pure cow. I later learnt that was bullshit. Also bullshit was the pronouncement that “Cows, Mean Cows”. What he must have meant to say was “Cows Mean Cows, Unless Cows Mean Rats”. I should have known better, but Michael Gove.

I brought the Rat Burger thinking I was going to be given red meat, instead I was given food poisoning.  Apparently, I looked like death warmed up, or even the Walking Dead, from the aforementioned zombie apocalypse. The Rat Burger Van had given me food poisoning but as I lay in bed, muttering about this wouldn’t have happened if not for Michael Gove, I could not imagine myself ever being 100% again. I felt awful.

Thankfully, in my telling of this story I have almost superhuman foresight when the narrative demands; so, I had the foresight to see myself writing this now and I had super-cool stuff ahead of me, once I rid myself of the scourge of the Rat Burger. The problem was only mine, in that I had eaten the initial Rat Burger, and once I had been able to get the Rat Burger out of my system, via osmosis, I would be able to rise like the Phoenix in the following year’s X-Men: The Last Stand. If that comeback left a little to be desired, I also knew I reboot the comeback this year like X-Men: Dark Phoenix. I know the Dark Phoenix is a villain, but the franchise is going to be rebooted again now Disney has brought Fox, and the X-Men are falling under the banner of Marvel Studios, and it is going to awesome.

In a telepathic mind-meld with my past self, I told myself that unless I rid my system of the Rat Burger via osmosis, there would be no endless regenerations available to me. The same would be true, if I kept going back to the Rat Burger Van because as the old saying in Tennessee goes “Fool me once, shame on you. You fool me, I can’t fooled again.”.  


Sitting here right now, I am hugely proud of myself for taking my own advice. It is a sign of real wisdom being able to listen to yourself, when yourself is me. Otherwise, it is a real sign of wisdom to listen to me. I know that is true because a wise man once told me.

If I hadn’t rid myself of the Rat Burger, via osmosis, I would still be in the foetal position with food poisoning. The process of osmosis might’ve uncomfortable and even little a bit messy but it was necessary to get better, By now the Rat Burger would have fully integrated itself into my system and I would never be able to rid myself of it. I did get rid of it and the Rat Burger Van went out of business because nobody liked eating Rat Burgers.

The Tory Party has food poisoning.  It needs to rid itself of its current leadership; be it by osmosis, the 1922 Committee, an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention or calling Ghostbusters. It will stay sick and remain unable to reboot or regenerate until it does.


Patrick Sullivan is the Political Editor of The Commentator @PatJSullivan

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