i Editor's Letter: Honestly, you couldn't make it up


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The Independent Online


There is a nonsensical exchange in one of my favourite film comedies, which goes like this:

King Roderick: "The Duke. What did the Duke do?"

Hubert Hawkins: "The Duke do?"

King: "Yes. And what about the Doge?"

Hawkins: "Oh, the Doge!"

King: "Well, what did the Doge do?"

Hawkins: "The Doge do?"

King: "Yes, the Doge do."

Hawkins: "Well, uh, the Doge did what the Doge does. Eh, uh, when the Doge does his duty to the Duke, that is."

King: "What? What's that?"

Hawkins: "Oh, it's very simple, sire. When the Doge did his duty and the Duke didn't, that's when the Duchess did the dirt to the Duke with the Doge."

King: "Who did what to what?"

Hawkins: "Oh, they all did, sire. There they were in the dark; the Duke with his dagger, the Doge with his dart, Duchess with her dirk."

King: "Duchess with her dirk?"

Hawkins: "Yes! The Duchess dove at the Duke just when the Duke dove at the Doge. Now the Duke ducked, the Doge dodged, and the Duchess didn't. So the Duke got the Duchess, the Duchess got the Doge, and the Doge got the Duke!"

The film is The Court Jester, starring Danny Kaye as Hawkins and Cecil Parker as the King (and, coincidentally, Angela Lansbury as the love interest, Princess Gwendolyn).

For some reason, this piece of dialogue crossed my mind when I heard yesterday that Barclays CEO Bob Diamond (the man who had refused to go) had resigned, and that Barclays chairman Marcus Agius (who had resigned) had unresigned. Honestly, you couldn't make it up.

Stefano Hatfield is away

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