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Joe Bord © 2001


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Having spent a little time at the National Gallery, I walked down Whitehall towards Westminster, in order to admire the Palace. Whereupon the heavens opened, and I found myself sharing an umbrella with a significant man. He was rather taller than I, and as he stooped slightly, I caught a clear view of his balding and greying head. The gentleman was pin-striped, and seemed to have a military mien. He had too many teeth for comfort, and his monogrammed cufflink bore the initials 'IDS'. The classics master at a minor public school, or perhaps a civil servant below the very first rank.

"Horrible weather", I tentatively remarked.

He looked at me. "Most of it has come over from Europe", he replied, with an air of conspiracy, "But we'll soon fix that. The Americans enjoy atmospheric conditions that are far in advance of ours".

There was now a gleam in his eye. "I am especially keen on missile defences and the voucher system of private education subsidies".

While I considered this, he went on. "In fact, there exists only one fat impediment between me and my plans".

Surely, I murmured, there was more than one obstacle. "There is only one obstacle that I care about!"

A pause followed, during which I tried to work it all out. This is all beyond my ken, I confessed.

"Exactly!", he enthused: "Nobody has truly grasped the implications of my final victory. I am prepared to go where even Sir Keith Joseph feared to tread. With my policies to savour, the people of this country will realise that that Mr. Blair's so-called partnerships are a dangerous socialistic plot."

This was most confusing. Was my new acquaintance referring to the government scheme to draft in private capital and management into our public services? Indeed, it appeared that he was.

Staring into my eyes, he intoned. "Everyone knows that Gordon Brown is a communist". Quite possibly, I reflected, the government could be made to look left-wing besides this person, even as it set about spinning Bevan in his grave.

As the rain continued to drum down, a gaggle of soaked tourists struggled past. A couple of them attempted to approach our doorway. My new friend shook his umbrella at them threateningly. Surprised, they attempted to slip him a couple of coins, out of sympathy.

My interlocutor shook with uncontrollable rage: "Euros!", he hissed, "I'll show them how to treat the gnomes of Frankfurt!" He hurled the pennies into the traffic, causing a bicyclist to crash. "If only we still had hanging", he remarked wistfully, "and corporal punishment for thieves".

Despite the downpour, I began slowly edging away. "Don't go", he implored, "I'm a normal family man with a number of healthy children, none of whom, to the best of my knowledge, are homosexuals."

At that moment, a limousine slowed in front of us, and the darkened window slowly slid down. I heard a sepulchral voice issuing forth. "Step inside, Iain, my son and spiritual heir. There Is No Alternative. You will Not Be For Turning. The Mummy Has Returned For The Last Time".

Like any sane individual, I ran like hell.




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