The Third Leader: Milk and honey

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The Independent Online

Some accuse David Cameron of a lack of substance. I hope they are feeling chastened today: this is a man whose announcement that he wants to make us happy is swiftly followed by the news that one of his favourite songs is Benny Hill's Ernie. Implementation in three days. Impressive.

For who could not be cheered by the image of Mr Cameron dressed as the eponymous milko, on cart, hat skewed, hand sketching that famous salute? Or, indeed, of him singing, as he says he is in the habit of doing at parties, those magical lines involving cocoa three times a week? I would give much, too, to hear his way with that plaintive, echoing "Erneeee!" after the poor chap bites the dust.

Perhaps, though, there will be those aghast at the Conservative leader championing an artiste regarded as the nonpareil of incorrectitude; and others who will point out that Mr Hill's epic can be taken as a metaphor for political success, in which the dashing dairyman loses out to the ruthless baker, a brooding fellow who has more to offer, including the size of his meat pies, not to mention his macaroons.

But I applaud this tribute to an underrated wordsmith (even if it is said that he stole a lot of his material). Probably unequalled, for instance, is this: "I twirled her round the dance floor. She said: 'I hate the way you're doing it'. I said: 'Why?' She said: 'I've got a wooden leg and you're unscrewing it.'"

And let's hope no one makes too much of another Hill classic, They Said It Could Not Be Done: "They thought that it could not be done. Some even said they knew it. But he faced up to what could not be done, and he couldn't bloody do it!"