The UK has expressed a formal apology to the international community on behalf of Lily Allen following her recent tearful appearance in a television broadcast from Calais, France.
Shortly after the apology had been issued, an uncharacteristically grave looking Boris Johnson made a speech in parliament in which he expressed regret about the incident in which a “British national’s… sentimentalism” had threatened to undermine Britain’s reputation for “decency, level-headedness and personal self-restraint”.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Members of the House will be aware of the news of Ms Allen’s interview from Calais in which she made… an emotional display.
Make no mistake – a prominent British national’s brash sentimentalism does at this time threaten to undermine this country’s reputation for decency, level-headedness and personal self-restraint, a reputation that has been built over centuries. The matter, therefore, is a grave one.
Had Ms Allen been discussing the situation in the Calais camp, and had she been weighing up the relative merits of the available responses open to the UK, then perhaps those tears, public though they were, might have been understandable – an unfortunate and unintended consequence of a difficult discussion that could not have been foreseen.
However, it is apparent from the video that there was no such thoughtful discussion, and the video was primarily intended to broadcast the emotional response itself, a fact which I know will be very disturbing to Members of this House, and to the public at home.
Ms Allen’s decision to consent to the broadcasting of a video of herself indulging in a public display of her own feelings – aided and abetted by the BBC, I might add – is in fact a source of such bewilderment that it leaves no room for the outrage which it would otherwise rightly illicit. It is as if Ms Allen and the BBC think that the British people are interested in what ought to be the private feelings of an individual.
I am sure that Members of the House will agree that Ms Allen’s ostentatious wailings strike a stark contrast to the quiet dignity and wisdom of the stiff upper lip, which must surely count among one of the most bafflingly brilliant of British behaviours, but which – I fear – now finds itself on the endangered behaviours list.
Such public sentimentalism as that which Ms Allen displayed has become increasingly common in Britain over the last few decades. The threat is that such vulgar displays of feeling drown out the solemn and dignified restraint of the great mass of British people, who quite understandably resent what they are being subjected to quite against their will.
Honourable Members will be pleased to know, therefore, that the government’s response is that it is now actively looking at steps to reverse this ’Dianafication’ of Britain where previously it had only been inactively looking at those steps.
It is this government’s aim to bring about the return of decent, civilised, and appropriately buttoned-up British behaviour by the end of this parliament – an aim which I am sure Members of the House will agree is entirely in accordance with the spirit of Brexit, and the will and (proper) temperament of the British people.
In the meantime, the British Board of Film Classification has rated the clip in question a 15, and I am pleased to inform the House that it will only be broadcast after the 9 o’clock watershed to safeguard the impressionable young.