Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brothers and Sisters Have I None, or On the Moral Ascendancy of the Monarchy

Brothers sisters have I none, 
but that man's father is my father's son.
Who is it?
That is a well known English rhyming riddle. The story below uses the same technique, but extended to hilarious lengths. It's been a favourite of mine, giving me endless mileage at all sorts of dinner-table conversations. And a good test of others' sense of humour.

(The text below was sent to me by a friend and it looks like it has been circulating for a while. Please let me know if it needs attribution or copyright holder's authorisation.)


Make of this what you will. This joke was told the other day by Peggy Noonan, who used to be Ronald Reagan’s White House speech writer.

Al Gore was in London and met the Queen. Ever the policy wonk, instead of asking her about race horses he quizzed her on her leadership philosophy. The Queen said she found that the best way to govern was to surround herself with intelligent people.
“But how do you know they are intelligent?” Gore asked.
“I ask them telling questions” said the Queen and promptly telephoned Tony Blair. “Mr Blair,” the Queen said, “your mother has a child, your father has a child and this child is not your brother of your sister. Who is it?”
“Why, it’s me,” said the Prime Minister, without a pause.  “Correct” said the Queen.

Gore returned to America and called George W. 
“Mr President, may I ask you a question?” he said. 
“By all means,” said the President.
“Your mother has a child, your father has a child and this child is not your brother or your sister.  Who is it?”

George W. was stumped and remained silent for a while before saying, “May I get back to you on that, Al?”
He asked all his closest aides before finally ringing Colin Powell, to whom he posed the telling question.  Powell, like Blair, replied, without a pause: “It’s me.”
George W rang Gore and said: “I know the answer to your question.  It’s Colin Powell.”

“Wrong,” said Gore.  “It’s Tony Blair.”

Photo of Al Gore by Breuwi from here.
Photo of George W. Bush from here.

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