History of the British Conservative Party
The modern Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, also known as the Unionist Party in the early 20th century, as a political institution is nearly as old as the Vatican and Prostitution. It is therefore usually called the third oldest professional organisation though perhaps not as much fun as the other two. Just like the Vatican, they have a warped sence of geograpy, but only when it comes to Britain. Then again, there is no need to travel to these PC places. You know they vote Libdem over theeeeeeeeeeerrrre.
- 1 Moses, Amos and the Isle of Wight
- 2 Walking Backwards into the Future
- 3 It's The Pitts !
- 4 Age of Disraeli and Excess Facial Hair
- 5 Tickled Pink
- 6 First World War and Pigs
- 7 Second World War and Dogs
- 8 Tory Glory Days End In the Drink
- 9 I've Never Had It So Often
- 10 Mummy Mia ! Sir Alec Douglas Hume and Ahoy ! Sailor !!
- 11 Saved By The Fair Matron of Grantham
- 12 Thatcheriana: Enemies Without and Within
- 13 Major Major and Out in the Cold
- 14 The Bald Era
- 15 Hair is Back
- 16 References
Moses, Amos and the Isle of Wight
The Conservative Party are the direct descendants of Tory Amos, a son of Moses who decided to leave the Promised Land for Ancient Britain as they didn't like living next door to foreigners. They had their own version of the Ten Commandments (Moses's secret manifesto it was said) which had as its laws like 'Covert Each Others Asses' and 'Though Shall Not Have Another God Before Me Unless He Can Pay Off the Mortgage.
Know as 'The Tories', they then spent the next eleven centuries isolated from civilisation and a power shower. They made home their home on the Isle of Wight where extensive inbreeding resulted in hideous deformities, shrieking voices and black hair. When it was realised that they could walk to the mainland at low tide, the marauding band of braying halfwits embarked on a terrifying but radical campaign of doing everything exactly the same as it had been done before, thus establishing the key tenet of Tory philosophy.
The Tories quickly colonised the Southern Britain and especially the 'Home Counties' around the city of London where they could practise their poor social skills. Quickly , large houses and posh schools were constructed with haste so that the Tories could acquire the veneer of a civilisation whilst at the same time retreating to the sanctuary of a golf club where they could vent their true opinions. Humorously enough, some 'wannabe Tories' also liked to mix them even they were dirt poor, stupid and had low self esteem that made them look up to people with money.
Walking Backwards into the Future
According to a lot of old dusty books, the Tories were formed in 1679 as a pro-monarchy party in opposition to the Whigs . The latter were a bunch of loose living ,looser stockinged, powdered aristocratic elite who thought they were better than any boorish king. The Tories were aghast (just trying saying it I am 'Aghast'..there...you know how the Tories felt) with this snooty Whiggery and fully supported the Merry Monarch King Charles II and his many mistresses.
However Charles's brother James damaged the Tories when he came out as a Catholic which neatly underminded their political programme of One King . One Nation. One Religion. Upset with James, the Tories were split between the The Jacobites (Hurrah for James !) and the Trilobites (Bottom Feeding Toryism - believed everything came in threes). The Jacobites loved their image of doomed struggle and basically made the Tory name a bit of a dirty word. When Queen Anne died in 1714 , the Jacobites tried to install James 'The Old Prancer' as King but were beaten when the Whigs shipped in a family of ugly, short and nasty Germans from Hanover and announced that they were the new royal family. The Jacobite Tories then retreated into Scotland to weave kilts, bake shortbread and sing sad songs. They had another go at political power in 1745 with the Young Prancer but that ended in disaster. That really marked the end of the Jacobites who eventually moved to Rome and ponced money off the Pope until they all died out in 1807.
The demise of the Jacobites , left the 'Trilobite' Tories to mooch around parliament for the next fifty years. However they found it hard to make friends with anyone and would sit at the bar moaning about the price of beer and that the country had gone to the Whig dogs. However in 1760 their fortunes changed when King George III decided he really liked these people and told them to regroup as a political party to be known as the 'Tory Party' (Mach Two) to take on the dominant liberal-elitist Whigs. George thought this was a cunning plan to stop parliament from getting around to chopping his head off.
It's The Pitts !
King George's first 'Tory Prime Minister' was Lord Butt-Craque but he wasn't any good and had a thick Glaswegian Scottish accent. Instead the King then turned to a former Whig William Pitt the Elder to become Prime Minister. Pitt the elder who was latter honoured by the Americans with the ugly city of Pittsburgh , is now regarded as the first real modern Tory by conservatives today. His policies of kicking foreigners and expanding the British empire still has appeal to them today. However the King thought Pitt was becoming too powerful and told him to move to Kent and become Lord Chatham . There the Elder Pitt eventually died when he fell into a dock whilst dancing the hornpipe with sailors.
He was succeeded as Tory leader by his son William Pitt the Younger. Like his father Pitt believed in Patriotism at Home and Ignorance Abroad . Pitt soon won the trust of King George and helped him to remove the debauched Whigs from office . He then went on to remain Prime Minister for the next twenty years and only died when he was blown up by an explosive pork pie. The French , Americans and Whigs were suspected but no one could be persuaded to confess.
Pitt's brother William Pitt the Fat Middle Aged Bank Manager became Prime Minister but Tories fell out and started shooting each other in arguments about honour. In the subsequent blood bath the Pitt family were eliminated. King George was blamed for his lack of control and then declared to be incurably insane. He was carted off to Windsor and locked away. The Tories then blamed the Americans and started a policy of searching their ships to look for recruits for the Royal Navy. The Americans failed to see this as example of British humour and paid an assassin to shoot the British Prime Minister 'Frank' Spencer Perceval. War was declared and ended in a score draw three years later (though Americans still think they won this war).
The Tories settled for Lord Liverbird , a sharp talking politician who would later claim he had discovered The Beatles many years later. This government saw the Tories head to victory in 1815 over France which led to the British Empire to become the world's first superpower for the next 100 years. This should have guaranteed them permanent political office but they had been infected with 'liberalism' and thought it was important to introduce reform. This lead to some confusion amongst their supporters so they instead chose Duke of Wellington to become Prime Minister.
However the Duke of Wellington was still used to fighting his opponents on a battlefield and would turn up to the House of Commons with a brigade of guards, cannons and the Gay Hussars to take on the 'Whig Scum'. He was even shocked that his cabinet refused to take orders and would argue . When Wellington wanted them shot for cowardice , he lost the vote in the House of Commons and let the Whigs to creep back into office. They then carried out a series of drastic reforms which curtailed the Tories influence and stopped soldiers from becoming Prime Minister in the future.
Renaming themselves the ' Conservative Party' , the Tories grew in strength during the reign of Queen Victoria and its years of government saw the passing of many Acts in Parliament such as the No Smiling Act and the Gin Palace For Every Poor Neighbourhood Act. The Conservatives were also responsible for many of Britain's most famous overseas adventures such as the growth of Empire in the 19th century which they achieved by ensuring the passing of Cyril Pennygale's Let's Takeover Africa Bill in 1865.
Age of Disraeli and Excess Facial Hair
In the 1840s the Conservative slogan Expensive Bread For Smelly Peasants didn't prove to be a vote winner . Their then leader Sir Robert Peel suggested the party change its policies, he was called a Communist and the party split into the Preservatives and the Orange Peel Marmalade Spreadites. The Preservatives chose Benjamin Disraeli who was Jewish and very foreign looking. He had gained entry into the Conservative party by marrying a well connected (and rich) widow but chances for political advancement were poor as Peel detested Disraeli for being a 'showy dresser'. When the former leading Tories cleared off with Peel, Disraeli stayed with the 'brutes' (as he called his colleagues) with the naked calculation that he would shine in comparison. It worked but also earned Disraeli that hatred of William Gladstone who had sided with Peel. Though Gladstone had once been one of the Conservative party's star turns, they were retrospectively to have got rid of him. He had by now already developed a reputation for going out at nights looking for 'fallen women', a political calling for Gladstone that would eventually lead to the creation of the Liberal party
Disraeli wasn't a serious politician and liked to write books and wear expensive clothes. He was also an adept flatterer and became friends with Queen Victoria when her husband Prince Albert fell down the drains in Windsor Castle in 1861. A distraught Queen liked to to send Disraeli erotic poems and photos of herself wearing see-through black crinoline dresses until her eye wandered and she ended up with Glasgow ship builder called Billy Connolly.
Meantime Disraeli used his relationship with Queen Victoria to get one over the ruling Whig-Liberal-Orange Peelies and their leader Lord Palmerston. Like many Liberals, Palmerston couldn't keep his pants on and shocked the Queen by chasing her maids round Buckingham Palace in a state of geriatric arousal. So she sacked him and made Disraeli Prime Minister . Victoria demanded her new prime minister to go out and conqueror the world so she could become Empress of Earth. Disraeli pretended to agree and eventually made her Empress of India which was pretty big place as 'a starter'.
When Disraeli died in 1881 , the Conservatives decided to go for a man with a very long beard and fierce eyes known to posterity as the Marquee of Sainsbury's. A believer in the superiority of super markets over corner shops, Sainsbury's rebranded the Conservatives as the party of Hairy Faced Imperialism and wanted to make English a compulsory language for all foreigners including Americans. This policy proved to be a vote winner against the Liberals led by William 'Tart Hunter' Gladstone . So Sainsbury's held office until 1902 when he died when his beard grew down his throat and suffocated him.
Again showing themselves to be open to change - or fun - the Conservatives now chose a new leader who wasn't even a Conservative . Joseph Chamberlain belonged to a Liberal splinter party called Whig-Liberal Renegades For Staying In Office . He had originally started his political career as Joseph Chamberpot (son of Roger De Chambermaid, a horny French Huguenot) with the Liberals but switched sides as he didn't like William Gladstone, the Irish or potatoes. Chamberlain also wore a top hat and an orchid in his lapel buttonhole which he liked to squirt at political enemies in a debate to 'cool them down'. He said he was a 'radical' as well and organised the Boer War against the Dutch speaking farmers in South Africa as they 'looked Irish'. Chamberlain also believed in British Imperialism and wanted more of the world be coloured Pink - especially as he liked her songs. His Conservative allies were suspicious of Lesbian looking singers then (and now) but Joe insisted. However he then keeled over and died at one Pink's parties.
The next leader of the Conservative Party was Arthur Balfour-Beatme. He was nicknamed 'Fanny' as he was partial to the old 'Vice Anglais' of playing nude tennis in front of Buckingham Palace. Balfour looked more aristocratic than Chamberlain and liked to go oiky upstart shooting with King Edward VII at Balmoral Castle. However the Conservatives wanted him to lead a more Anti-Everything party and so replaced Balfour with the dour Andrew Bonar Law who was Canadian-Scottish and drank hot milk through a straw to relax.
First World War and Pigs
During the First World War , the Conservatives took over from their useless Liberal party coalition allies and ran the show with the Liberal Welsh goat David Lloyd George as Prime Minister. He said he knew how to talk to the common people and if the Conservatives didn't keep him in power, the Communists would climb up from underneath the bed and have sex with the British Constitution. Eventually the Conservatives preferred their own man Andrew Bonar Law, a former adult nickelodeon star known for his tent pole trick in impolite company and voted Lloyd George out of office. That was the end of the Liberals as a serious party of government or pretty much else except for naked vegan sandal wearers.
The Conservatives now had a new political enemy called the Labour Party. They were (still are) a shiftless group of dirty-faced proles and peasants whose eyebrows met and who didn't sit up straight. The success of this party was largely due to the passing of the Universal Suffrage Act in 1902 which was the result of the conservatives boycotting parliament in remembrance of the death of proto-Tory Charles I. The Conservatives were a bit stumped at first dealing with 'new' Labour so when Bonar Law died after his organ spontaneously stiffened whilst he was drinking his hot milk (and died from first degree embarrassment),the Tories brought back a different type of stiff to lead them. Dead since 1881, Benjamin Disraeli wasn't very good and his coffin leaked on the floor of the House of Commons at times of political stress.
In 1924 the Labour party took office for the first time so the Conservatives decided they needed someone who looked less posh and a bit more 'rural' and chose Stanley Baldwin to lead them. He said he was a 'sod of the soil' and would attend debates in parliament wearing big muddy boots and would tie his pet pig 'Porkout' to the Speaker's Chair. It proved to be a winning formula and Baldwin kicked Labour out of office with the toe of his wellingtons.
Baldwin's government was very successful. It did nothing. In fact it did so little besides giving Young Gals the vote in 1928 , that Baldwin spent more time on his farm with his pigs rather than lounging around at Westminister. Baldwin even forgot to fight the 1929 election which is why Labour sneaked back into office with the help of the Lloyd George led Liberals who were expecting for some favours or interesting phone numbers to use in their constituencies.
However as usual the Labour party and their Liberal allies were a complete shower in government so when the Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald asked Baldwin if he knew what to do as Prime Minister - the pig loving Conservative said 'leave them and join us but you can pretend not to be a Tory and call yourself 'Labourtory'. MacDonald agreed and in 1931 helped Baldwin win the general election so well that the Labourites were reduced to the size of a Welsh male voice choir. The Liberals were down to a Welsh String Quartet but that is another story.
Baldwin eventually decided to retire as Conservative party leader to 'spend more time with his pigs' and handed over the leadership to Neville Chamberlain.He was the son of Joseph Chamberlain and liked to dress as an undertaker and talked like one. He had a funny little moustache but appeared to be a 'solid chap' and that seemed alright. However Chamberlain wasn't savvy enough to deal with a man with an equally ridiculous facial hair in the shape of Adolf Hitler. He threatened that if Germany stopped playing stroppy - Chamberlain wouldn't start manufacturing the famous Missile Umbrella Weapon - an all weather piece of shower resistant fabric that was designed to beat the Communists and Fascists.
Second World War and Dogs
Hitler ignored Chamberlain's threats and went on to start World War Two in 1939. This was a cosy war to begin with - only Poland was getting hurt and by 1940 everyone expected the conflict would be called off and a nice game of cricket would settle the differences between all sides. So confident was Chamberlain that it was going to end well that he even said Hitler travelled around Germany on a bus but had just missed the last night one to Berlin that month. So that was all ok.
However the Germans were not playing fair - or showing much interest in Cricket so they invaded France in May 1940. In the House of Commons Chamberlain was told to 'Eff Off' in more polite parliamentary language and so the Greatest Conservative since Moses - Winston Moses Churchill was brought in as Prime Minister and Conservative party leader.
But World War Two turned out to be a lot tougher than usual. Also this time the Conservatives put on their army uniforms to take on the 'Hun' whilst the Labour party was shirking back at home and planning to introduce socialism whilst no one was looking. Unfortunately this was even true of Churchill who forgot about the domestic enemy in his personal grudge match with Hitler.
By 1945 the Conservative Party members had been exterminated trying to impose free market economics, tea and cricket on the Hun and the rest of Europe. The single posh toff left surviving was Winston Churchill but he managed to replicate by inbreeding and by 1950 he had created Margaret Thatcher, William Hague, Tony Blair and David Cameron and the Conservative Party was to be safe forever more.
Tory Glory Days End In the Drink
The post war Conservative party was shocked to its golf clubs when the barely legal Labour party won the 1945 election. At least Winston was still around to lead his shattered party and he would encourage his followers by going off to France on long painting and drinking holidays with his friends. The example of 'not giving a monkey's ' about Britain encouraged Conservatives to start their own fast track breeding programme and by 1951 they had finally beaten the Labourites and virtually squashed the Liberals to form a new government.
Churchill was still the mighty leader when he wasn't under medical supervision . He wanted to take on the Russians and fight Joseph Stalin but the old dictator died in 1953. Churchill who was an emotional man (thanks to his American heritage via his mother Jenny 'Loose Draws' Churchill) cried for a week as at least he knew where he was with the old Mass Murderer. The new leaders of Russia seemed such a boring bunch of bolsheviks.
In 1955 Churchill resigned and lived the rest of his life on Aristotle Onassis's yacht where he could paint and smoke joints in secret. The new Tory leader was Sir Anthony Eden , a tall man who looked very good in photographs and had the word 'TOFF' tattooed on his chest. Following such a leader like Churchill , Eden thought he needed to prove he had the British Balls when it came to dealing with tinpot Third World leaders like Egypt's leader Gamal Abdel 'The Bull Bombardier' Nasser. However Eden was sure the Americans liked Nasser so he made friends with the French and the Israelis to take on the Boche..er...Egyptians . When Nasser inspired crowds to burn down the British (White Europeans Only) Tennis and Underground Torture Club in Cairo and seize control of the Suez Canal , it was war ! So he told the Israeli's to go ahead and invade.
Despite blowing the Egyptian army to Kingdom come and being told by friends to 'drive to the Egyptian Capital and shoot Nasser' , the American President Dwight Eisenhower told the British their empire days were over..it was time to become an American satellite state. And that was that. Eden broke down , resigned and spent the rest of his life appearing on TV programmes speaking indecipherable English (he had to be subtitled in French in the end for anyone to understand anything) and died whilst painting his greenhouse.
I've Never Had It So Often
Following the shock of Suez, the Tories asked the Queen Elizabeth if she knew anyone who would be a good leader of their party and Prime Minister. She eventually chose Harold Macmillian because he looked just like her grandfather and said funny things. Macmillan decided that the best thing the British could do now was to go and cover the countryside in houses so he started a boom for mortgage companies.
Macmillan was too old for sex but masked this by his slogan 'I've Never Had It but Have that Bonk On Me'. The Tories loved this slogan and won the 1959 election with a landslide. But unknown to Macmillan , he had let out the Liberal fairy from the bottle where everyone thought it had gone away. Macmillan liked to call himself a Liberal-Conservative and this encouraged Conservatives to let their hair down , slip off their suspenders and get fruity with the electorate. This was all very well when things were going well but not such a laugh when one of your own government ministers was sharing a mutal shag option with the KGB. The scandal finished Macmillan who resigned . He should have shot himself as Tories had done before when letting down the team but the old Prime Minister chose to write his memoirs and become the Grand Old Man of Game shows like Celebrity Squares.
Mummy Mia ! Sir Alec Douglas Hume and Ahoy ! Sailor !!
The Tories decided to look for their next leader in the vaults of the British Museum's collection of spare mummies. Sir Alec Douglas Hume (born Amun Tory-Rah-Raa) was made available and went to Buckingham Palace to kiss Queen Elizabeth's corgis to confirm that he was the new prime minister. Sir Alec's rather 12th century B.C. attitudes appealed to his party's older generation and the decision to print the Conservative's next electoral manifesto in hieroglyphics also gained him the support of egyptologists. However the British public allowed themselves to be seduced by the demotic populism of the Labour party and lost the 1964 election. Sir Alec later strayed into direct sunlight and crumbled into dust so the party had to look for a new leader with no sexual indiscretions. So they chose a man who had no interest in women but a lot in sailing , Edward Heath.
It wasn't known at the time but Heath had been recruited as very deep bolshevik mole by the Oxford University Maoist Communist Party. Known to his Chinese handlers by the code name Sailor Ted , Edward Heath was a pretend Conservative who spoke the Tory talk but really did the socialist walk when it came to practicalities.
Heath gained his opportunity to introduce communism after his victory 1970 election. He decided the best way to disrupt capitalism was to be incompetent and take on the trades unions. This eventually led to a battle with the minors and harrowing scenes of children forced to eat coal to make good television pictures. Heath's master scheme of discrediting capitalism was emphasised by his hobby of sailing a yacht that was officially known as 'Morning Cloud' but had the secret name of 'Death to Capitalism' painted on the hull below the waterline.
What wasn't known so well was Heath's other maoist inspired plan (Known as Plan S - for Surrender) was his pursuit of British membership of what was then called The Common Market ( a code name for The Communist Market) . He was helped in his plans by two Chinese agents disguised as cuddily pandas. The willing idiot wing of the Conservatives followed Heath but the patriots led by Margaret Thatcher saw through this plan and voted to support British membership...Oops!
Saved By The Fair Matron of Grantham
Whilst tending her humble Finchley parliamentary constituency , Margaret the Fair Matron of Grantham heard voices that said '..lift up the spirits of France and throw the English out...Ok sorry Margaret , God was momentarily confused there ..let's start again.....'Enough is Enough. Kill the Sailor King..'.
The Fair Matron was none other than Margaret Thatcher , a woman no less who had risen to the dizzy political heights of Education secretary when she received her divine mission to rescue the party she loved. She had seen the Torchlight of Damascus , showing her the way from the Heathite Tory Communism . Margaret sharpened her claws and tore away the mask of the Bolshevik Heath in 1975 and declared it was now Year One in the New Conservative Party.
..I am the Light and Saviour of Conservatism..With these hands I will heal our party and throw of the shackles of Socialism...follow me like ducklings to the bright blue water and we shall slay the enemies within, without and...Withnail.
It was a call to something but it was a good enough slogan to be getting on with. The Conservatives went on to throw away the key of Communist led 'Conservatism ' and slew the Labourite clapped out carthorse in 1979 (and forget the sodding Liberals will you !). All was wonderful as at last the True Conservative Faith was upheld and supported by the overwhelming number of people with bank accounts in far off places. God had endorsed Margaret though she was surprisingly reluctant to thank Divine Intervention.
Thatcheriana: Enemies Without and Within
Margaret Thatcher (Blessed Be Thy Name) saved Britain in 1979 , the USA in 1980 and brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989 with her handbag in the decade they called 'The Iron Lady Age'. Thatcher should have never been a leader of a party which thought of women as either (A) sex objects or later (B) willing party workers.
She became leader of the Conservatives in 1975 when in all the male leaders of her party declined to take on the Sailor Ted. Thatcher then showed everyone she had more cojones then a paddock full of donkeys and led them to a great victory against the British Marxist Labourites in 1979. As Margaret spoke her words of triumph, the animals of the woods and the birds in the skies flocked to hear her as she spoke the words of Saint Francis of Assisi :-
Where there is my will, there is a way. Vote Conservative.
Thatcher soon showed she was the Boss Woman and ran her government like the mistress of s school for the badly behaved. She wanted her government in her own image and took out all her political enemies with a vicious, knife bladed handbag to the guts. No one was spared, even the Queen was lambasted for being a liberal internationalist and plans were advanced to have a change of dynasty.
As Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher took time to obliterate the Trades Unions who she blamed for living in old factories. Thatcher wanted Britain to become a nation of Insurance Salesmen and made entire cities like Liverpool surplus to requirements. When this was successfully done, Thatcher took on other vested interests including Argentina , the European Union and the B.B.C.
However despite these great successes, Thatcher failed to learn the lessons of Joseph Stalin and that it is within your own party that your real enemies lurk. So it was to prove with Thatcher, a woman who beaten everyone she had come up against. And unlike Hitler, the conspirators were successful and Thatcher was politically blown up whilst she was in France dancing with French President Francois Mitterand, about the only foreigner Thatcher had ever liked as he reminded her of her father.
Major Major and Out in the Cold
After Margaret Thatcher was burnt at the metaphorical stake by her enemies, the Tories chose John Major. He claimed to be her natural successor but was shifty as regards his true opinions. This soon became evident to the loyal Thatcherites when Major said he wanted to be friends with the European Union. They thought he would just be a 'comma' in the continued march of Thatcherism and expected to lose the 1992 election. When Major actually won it, they worked out a different strategy and urged him not to turn his face away from the path of True Conservatism.
The next five years were in comparison to Thatcher's era, one of disunity and civl war in the Conservative party. Though less active, Thatcher urged her followers to keep pressure on Major not to undo her reforms. But Major declined to listen and all this allowed the hitherto irrelevant Labour party to recover and was outshone by the smoothy socialist charms of Tony Blair who suggested he would be a better implementer of Thatcherism than Major.
In 1997 the Conservatives were trashed and went into opposition. Major was dismissed, shot and buried in a coffin and the Conservatives resigned themselves to a few years of opposition and a chance to currency speculate in the City of London.
The Bald Era
It took the Conservatives some time to get used to sitting in opposition to the new Tony Blair government. They distrusted him deeply, especially his hair and came to the conclusion that only a baldness was a true sign of honesty. So the Tories elected William Hague as their leader. He was bald and sounded working class but was er..ugly. And a loser too..so the Tories stuck with hairless theme and chose Iain Duncan-Smith in 2001. He was bald ,sounded posher and was an ex-army man who understood discipline. When some of his M.P.s didn't like charging into the Labour tanks with fixed bayonets and Smirnoff Cocktails, he was cashiered and replaced by a vampire from the past, Michael Howard.
Hair is Back
Having run out of prominent bald leaders, the Tories tried to go back to the past and bring Margaret Thatcher. However she was surprised to be asked to be leader as she still thought she was. So Michael Howard was brought back from Transylvania where he had gone in 1997. But even the undead had no electoral appeal. The only answer now was to go for youth and hair, David Cameron.
- It was this law that explains why people in Victorian photographs always look so grumpy