Competition no. 231: results

Gerald Barry makes his second appearance as a judge. He has a conundrum for the competitors. You’re confronted by a ‘wanted’ gangster in your own house who has already shot a member of your household, but who now agrees to leave and to stop threatening you if you promise him that you won’t set the police on your track. So, a) would you give your word? And b) Would you keep it?

Confusingly, Barry says he has been inspired here by the case of Colonel Fey. Fey, however, is not a simple or attractive case. He is Emil Fey, the nationalist Austrian colonel who acted as deputy to Chancellor Dolfuss. While Fey and Dolfuss concentrated in July 1934 on repressing the social democrats and communists, the Nazis pt pressure on Dolfuss, and staged a putsch against him. Dolfuss was killed, and Fey saw off the Nazis by promising them safe passage and then reneging on the deal. However, there is some debate about Fey having been put up to this. Fey survived in government but ‘committed suicide’ in 1938 after ‘killing’ his family. One too many Nazi double bluff.


Almost everyone takes this competition intensely seriously, and there are appeals to Kant, to Shakespeare, to Aristotle. The winners are Sennacherib, and, at last welcomed back into the winners’ enclosure, T.E. Casson. Barry solemnly leaves the fray by saying that the winners don’t necessarily represent his own views.



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