The M. P. Militant

Punch, April 29, 1903


The M. P. Militant.—“I was obliged,” observed a constable, recently giving evidence against a violent prisoner, “to obtain the assistance of two M.P.’s before I could secure him.” Enquiry on the part of the startled magistrate elicited the explanation that M.P.’s are Military Police. “Oh,” said the magistrate, leaning back with an air of relief, “I thought you meant Members of Parliament.” It is a pleasant idea. The spectacle, for example, of Mr. Balfour, his philosophic doubt momentarily sunk, attaching himself with a prehensile grasp to the collar of a straggling desperado, while Mr. Arnold White, with a cry of “Efficiency!” springs to his assistance, would be both grateful and comforting to the jaded sightseer. There would be no need of a Fourth Party to enliven that situation.




Unsigned paragraph as printed in Punch; entered by Wodehouse in “Money Received for Literary Work.”





Arthur James Balfour was Prime Minister from July 1902 to December 1905; P.G.’s reference is to his 1879 book Defence of Philosophic Doubt; Arnold White was a controversial English journalist whose 1901 book Efficiency and Empire attacked British government.


John Dawson