The New English Patriots Army Council met in a flat above a Bangladeshi restaurant in Hainault, North East London and always enervated Rodger Dennis, so keyed up was he before it and, after an hour in the company of it's members, drained of his determination to strike at the very heart of the enemy to the the extent that he could easily have agreed with their fatuous comments and bloodless analyses – the paralysis of analysis, which dogged so much of the political philosophy he held on to, almost as badly as it's opposing Left Wing in the spectrum of politics in the UK – but the trump card he possessed buoyed him up and it owed itself to his skills as a hawkshaw, or gumshoe; it had taken but a trice for him to identify the other members of the Council through their pathetic disguises and noms de guerre: wigs, false moustaches and strange clothing could hardly hide their true identities to even a child, never mind someone with Dennis’s photographic memory, and encyclopaedic knowledge of his Home Ground, although he was just that wee bit unsure of himself in their company, so strongly did he disapprove of alcohol and the acrasy it so often led to; but even so, facing them now across a room rendered in primary, secondary and tertiary hues by a colour-blind decorator, he laid out the plan, ready for their intemperate comments, especially those of the three Conservative MPs: MacFarlane, now wearing a turban and a salon tan, Doubleday a fez and Zapata moustache, and the woman, Rhombus, a sari and headscarf so loud that he wished he had worn his sunglasses – but when on a Mission, and especially in Enemy Territory, which was how he regarded places like Hainault, Dennis became almost invisible, so little would his appearance register to even the aware, never mind the illiterate who walked the streets and whom he despised as much as he despised the government!
Rodger Dennis had juxtaposed the names which made up his pseudonym quite deliberately and they were very apposite: he had dodged through life with just enough menaces when necessary – usually to meet his immediate needs for money – and capitalised to his utmost on the inherent misosophy of his English compatriots, who distrusted intellectuals in general and experts, in any field, in particular; now, as the leading undercover agent of the New English Patriots, one of the fragmented ultra-right-wing groups which operate on the far fringes of politics, he had single-handed brought off another coup: he had demonstrated just how gullible the public were, and how susceptible to panic the air-transport system; three calls from different phone boxes were all it had taken to bring Gatwick to a standstill with no flights out or in for three days just before Christmas – suddenly everyone, from Joe Public to Air Traffic Controllers, sighted Drones where there should not have been any, and weren't; as a first dry-run, it had been an unparalleled success at no cost or risk to himself, so it was time to put the plan for Stage One to the NEP Army Council and really set the heather alight!
Suspects Held in Doner Conspiracy
Our Secularity Correspondent, Hubert H Humphrey wrtites:
National Crime Agency Officers are holding a number of suspects in custody regarding a latge scale conspiracy around the recent Doner activity at Gawtick Airport: there may be no nistletoe for the thousands of police, army, ait force and navy personal who have been scconded to support the police investigation;
well-armed sources have told me that there academics, believed to be masterminds of the plan, conceived at the highests level within SISI, were arrested when they were spotted, equipped with powerful binoculars, scanning the airport and apparently co-ordebating the doner movements; districtions varied, one source describing the three as hving lachrymiform faces, whcih was dismissed by another as a racist term banged under govermnent rules intrendidng to make positive anti-descriptionasing the defold standread in all services; however it has been comfirned that they were in position of a number of photographs of star-like objevts on tjhe night sky which experts have identoifoied as flying doners, and the thgere and a group of civilians dressed as shepherds and coompnied with there cuddly and morbidezza lambs have alsobeen detained in the company of and with a distinctive individual with rather angelic feratures - these are bleev to be the Echo Warriers mentioned in early repots as suspecks and their ias no noon link betweeb these two groups; it wood be dismissed by the security forces as the harping of a grinch to offer less sinister suggestions as to the aprint joining of forces by these distinct groups - it has already been vconformed by Gawtick Airport that there heavily pregnant femail travellers gave birth in a store-room which parameucks used for thast porpoise and that goodwill te;egrammes and phone calls have shut down the Airports own switchbored and staff are having to rely on personal moble phones to contact the outside workd; this cannot go on for long before the goverment will be forced to impose marshall lore and take over tjhe entyre sight.
The Daily Telegraph
Beddingshire Acquihire Assuages PM
Heath-Robinson Swingometer edges towards Approval of Deal
by our Weitminster Correspondent, Horst Wessel
Indications that the Conservative Members of Parliament for the three Beddingshire Constituencies: North (Sir Pompus MacFarlane), Mid (Mr Digby Doubleday) and South (Ms Natalie Rhombus) will all vote in favour of Prime Minster Theresa Maybe-Maybenot's Proposal for Leaving the European Union have swept through the Palace of Westminster like a tornado, aggrating the PM and her supporters; "this may prove to be the salve that parses the camel's back," said Mr Quentin Quib, Special Assistant to the Cabinet Secretary Sir Wilfred Heath-Robinson, who has been working closely with Brexit Secretary Timothy Michaelmas-Daisy on the final presentation to Parliament set to take place in the House of Commons prior to the Meaningful Debate which will itself be followed by the Meaningful Vote; after the descent into Pantomime hissing, booing and ribaldry immediately before the Christmas Recess, Mrs Maybe-Maybenot's supporters hope that a more serious tone will encourage 'closet leavers' to 'come out' and put their mouths where their hearts are and their votes where their mouths lead; Mr Quib promised that any member of the Opposition wishing 'cross the floor' at this crucial turning-point in the country's future history: "will find a warm welcome from Ms Rhombus awaits them," the Member for Beddingshire South having run a successful health and fitness company - Bouncy Bedds - for many years in the red-light area of Beedds, is well-able to help tired Members regain their full vigour and rise again: "she was very 'hands-on' and ran her business like an extended family," said Mr Quibb, "and has offered the skills of her staff to support Members of all shades of opinion during what promises to be one of the best-attended debates of 2019, so far!
"The only stumbling-block, as I see it," said Sir Wilfred, "is going to be Andrea Wearisome, so-called Leader of the House: she's one of those strange admixtures, who are both antigodlin and frenetic - it's impossible to predict what she may say, let alone do; we need a leister or some such gadget to keep her in place till The Dame gets to the end of her pitch," which was when a wicked smile spread over Quentin's face and Sir Wilfred stared at him: "come on Sonny Jim, if you've got something to say, spit it out!" and Quentin said: "Bedds!"
"Okay guys," said Sir Wilfred, "we've got three Under-Secretaries of State in the Commons, Julian, Jillian and Jo, so I suggest we designate them as your Chorus, Tim: they'll doughnut you and cheer in the right places – I'm told they're all pretty good with the Jazz Hands, and Julian has a basso-profundo sort of voice, so he can repeat the last word of each sentence, while the others say 'Amen' or 'Lordy Lord' or suchlike and we'll rotate them like a turntable; now, this bit for The Dame, have we got hold of that Red Hand of Ulster?" and Quentin, who had just returned, rather breathless – as if he'd been in the back garden having a quick ciggie with the Police Guards – said: "success! straight from the Leader of the Orangemen's Group Office – it was in a cupboard with their stockpile of Tizer and Vimto and back numbers of the Belfast Telegraph and a bit dusty, I think it's really just a tchotchke, or maybe a paperweight, but I gave it a wipe with my hankie on the way back," and from one of the voluminous pockets of his coat he pulled a red-painted bronze sculpture of a hand looking rather like that of a Police Officer refusing entry: "excellent," said Sir Wilfred, "I think that'll do nicely when the Oppos are booing, or asking rude questions; she can pull it out and say: 'talk to the Hand, Jeremy, the Face ain't listening until you begin to speak some Dunstable!' that should get a big cheer from the Orangemen – they won't realise it's theirs until they get back to their office and open the cupboard to get something to quench their thirst; wasn't there anything stronger in there?" and Quentin grinned: "three bottles of Bushmills, I've left two!" and from another pocket he drew an unopened bottle and three shot glasses; Tim, initially rather concerned about the proprieties of stealing from the offices of the Government's only supporters in Parliament, decided that, as the old sayings go: All's Well That Ends Well and The Ends Justify The Means, so, throwing caution to the winds, and dreaming of a tourbillion whistling through the Palace, emptied his glass in a oner and began to feel that maybe, just maybe, there was just a faint possibility of success ahead of them!
Although they were both surprised to find that they were still employed by The Dame, Sir Wilfred and Quentin quickly overcame their doubts and within half an hour of the Security Department – PC George Dixon – tracking them down at Quentin's flat, both arrived at The Bunker and got to work with Tim – who wore blue loon pants and a millefleur blouson which made him look like a Haight/Ashbury Hippy from the sixties, while Sir Wilfred had the crumpled look of a man wearing yesterday's clothes, which he was; the prototype appeared to consist only of a list of 1 – names of the various characters alongside the people they represented and expected to play their parts and 2 – a rough outline of the script; Sir Wilfred ran his hands through what little hair he had and then jumped to his feet: "of course! what a dim-bulb! we need Zee Concorde!" – he said in a fluent German accent, reminiscent of Angela Meerkat, and rushing to his secretary's desk, he grabbed The Proposal which The Dame had withdrawn after postponing the vote last week; he handed a couple of pages each to Tim and Quentin and instructed them: "find the cues for the gags and songs, it should be easy enough and remember, one of the big production numbers has to feature the Battle of the Boyne and the punchline, 'No Surrender' with The Dame brandishing the Red Hand of Ulster – that's what's going to grab the DUP by the short and curlies! we'll wipe the floor with the badmashers, Pirate Captain Black Jake and his henchman, Doris, lustrate the Party of the dreamers and schemers – and to bring in Red Jerry and the Troublemakers, a reference to the Red Flag and Cable Street, with the tag: 'They Shall Not Pass' - in fact, if she calls them Jerry and the Peacemakers, we could use – Quentin what was their big hit in the 60s?" and Quentin looked puzzled: "oh, you youngsters," sighed Sir Wilfred: "Gerry and the Pacemakers!" and Quentin's face lit up: "You'll Never Walk Alone, Ferry Cross the Mersey, How Do You Do It?" and Sir Wilfred high-fived the others: "okay, lads, I think we've found our message, let's see how we can work them into this this dirge and make it sing!"
The Dame's head was bowed over a document which she appeared to be reading intently, though her eyes never moved, yet she waved Timothy Michaelmas-Daisy to a chair on the opposite side of her desk; five minutes later she seemed to remember that he was there and looked up, from under her helmet of hair: "ah, yes, my Secretary of State for Brexit – this is a prototype of our response which will vitiate the expectations of the Council of Minsters and our own Back Benchers – it's a tad ruvid at the moment, but I want you to polish it up before tomorrow's Session; did you know that I am yclept The Dame behind my back? aha! my eyes and everywhere well if I'm to be portrayed as a Pantomime Dame, I shall be Widow Twankey and it seems you have been cast as Aladdin! and in the week before Christmas, what more Holy than to give them the Ultimate Pantomime? now take this along to Sir Wilfred's office – have you seen him? he and young Quentin seem to have gone off the grid – you don't suppose Sir Wilfred might be one of those Closet Queens, do you? he's really the man we need now to get this production into the House – be a dear and find him, will you? if anyone can rescue my Premiership it's him – and you, of course, Mr Michaelson-Daisy, or may I call you Tom, as we're going to be working so closely? the Country needs us, and we have to stop your Wicked Uncle Jacobini and his evil henchman Borisovsky from getting their hands on the Steering Wheel or the entire Ship of State will run onto the rocks and then where will we be? look canny, my lad – he's behind you?" and Tim whirled round, but there was no-one there: "oh no he's not," he stammered; "oh yes he is!" cried The Dame pointing at the door: "go, and prove you're not Doubting Thomas, Tom; come back with the final script, bring Sir Wilfred and Quentin, and we'll have a Dress Rehearsal tonight, for remember – The Show Must Go On!"
Of course, Timothy Michaelmas-Daisy was pretty annoyed that Simon McCoy had kept calling him Michaelson-Daisy during the interview: "I mean, it's not exactly a difficult name, is it?" he asked his friends, Julian and Sandy, when he popped into their bijou antique shop – yclept Bona Tatt for literal as well as Polari reasons - on his way home: "how would he have liked it if I'd called him Simon M'Boy?" – and Sandy cackled: "he'd probably have sat on your knee, ducks!" but Julian thought not: "ooh, he's far too Butch, darling, he'd be more likely to sit you on his knee!" which was when Tim's Official red telephone chimed like Big Ben, setting every sinew in his body jangling: "is it her Master's voice?" cried Sandy, but no, it was Eileen, The Bunker telephonist: "Secretary of State?" she asked: "the Eagle is flying back from the Continent this afternoon, please be in The Nidus at 3pm for an urgent meeting," which Tim confirmed: "the Nightingale will be there," thinking how ludicrously pointless these code-names were; he hung up and smiled: "it seems I've still got a job," as Julian poured them each another cognac to celebrate, "for as long as she seems to be under this delusion that she can swing a pleroma of votes behind her Proposal and far be it from me to naysay her!" at which Julian and Sandy brayed: "neigh, neigh, thrice neigh!"
When Sir Philip Heath-Robinson woke, twelve hours later, he found Quentin and Dan watching an interview of Timothy Michaelson-Daisy by Simon McCoy, which was interspersed with archive footage of Pip Maybe-Maybenot, and his wife Theresa, strolling around her constituency on Referendum Day, his braces, the same pair as Tim had worn during his marathon speech yesterday in the House of Commons; the offending braces, with the repeated slogan Brexit Means Wrexit, on display particularly in one scene, which showed him perched on a bar-stool, while Theresa seemingly quaffs a pint of beer with Nigel 'I will call you Teri, and Teri when you call me, you can call m Nige!' Farrago: "gosh, I remember that place," said Quentin, "I had just started working for The Dame – I was still at college and was doing a project on Brexit, so I was an unpaid Intern; she didn't even sip her beer, but Nige didn't notice, he was too busy waxing lyrical on all the benefits that would come, starting the very next day, when we would suddenly be free of the restrictions imposed by the European Union, and she certainly couldn't manage to call him Nige! that would have been anathema to her, so she called him Nige, err, el! and Little Pip was quite at home, happily sipping a lemonade and chatting to the barmaid as if they were bosom buddies – and his eyes were on a level with her magnificent bosom wobbling inside a low-cut pink zibeline sweater; oh he was quite smitten and so utterly sad when it was time to leave and I had to lift him down, but I popped back later and got her name and phone number for him – she's yclept Draga Milivici and she's from Serbia – they still meet up a couple of times a week at her flat in Shepherd's Bush and it's so sweet, he calls her Upsy Daisy and she calls him Iggle Piggle and they have tea parties with her Russian Matryoshka dolls and watch In The Night Garden together, it's the only opportunity he has to defervesce away from The Bunker and he usually ends up snoozing with his head nestling in her bosom; they are just like the Babes in the Wood! utter noodledom of course, but as the spouse of the PM he's quite emasculated, the Constitution simply doesn't accept a Man in that position – I suppose it was the same for Denis Thatcher, except that he had his golf – Pip's only got Draga, and her Tits, of course!" and Dan McGann the Headline Man seemed shocked that Quentin had never told him anything about this, so he turned to Sir Wilfred: "did you know about Draga?" he asked: "oh, well, it's not exactly a State Secret, but we do play our cards pretty close to our chests with the intimacies of Prime Ministerial lives; I had her vetted pretty thoroughly and her flat's bugged, phones tapped and all that, we can never be too careful with dirty laundry, you know," and Dan looked thoughtful, but said: "doesn't really matter to me, I'm based in Downing Street – that's where I shout out my questions; I'm only interested in what and who pass through the front doors, the comings and goings via back garden gates and Horse Guards doesn't interest me, that's more your Private Eye territory, and ever since they nicknamed me The Invisible Man and The Voice of The Gutter I stopped feeding them any Tit-Bits that come my way, so Draga’s Tits won't be dragged into any of my Headlines, unless she swings them along Downing Street!" and they all laughed as the interview was replaced by The Dame giving a nebulous Press Statement after meeting the European Council of Minsters and being asked by Laura Künßberg if it was time for her to Budge?
"We're not going to hang about here like a couple of klutzes, Quentin, so a strategic withdrawal would be in order, I think," muttered Sir Wilfred, steering his young assistant towards the doors leading into the back garden, "does your partner have a car? ring him, ask him to be in Horse Guards in about fifteen minutes," which Quentin passed on and told his boss that it was sorted, after which it was just a few words to the security guard at the back door, a stroll round the back garden, some more chat with the police at the back gate, and then an easy amble towards a waiting car; which was when the voice, so familiar to habitués of Downing Street and television news rang out: "anything to say about Brexit Means Wrexit, Sir Wilfred? is that the PM's new slogan, Sir Wilfred?" the Invisible Man whose questions dominated the comings and goings of politicians and civil servants, and then became headlines. no matter that there was rarely any reply to them: "fard your fizzog, Quentin, paint on your brightest smile," and Sir Wilfred turned, expecting to be faced with a battery of TV cameras, but instead he saw Quentin embracing the Invisible Man, whom he promptly introduced: "Sir Wilfred, this is my husband, Dan McGann," and the man, now known to Sir Wilfred as Dan McGann, extended his hand which the Cabinet Secretary could not avoid, and as they shook the other repeated the introduction: "yes, good to meet you at last, Sir Wilfred, I'm Dan McGann, the Headline Man! full-time with The Sun but I let any other paper use my lines for a modest price, oh, Quentin knows I'm a Hack, a Harlot, prostituting my talent but hey, we all gotta live; and the motor's here, Sir Wilf, is that okay, I feel we're family already, I understand you're gonna lay low at our gaff for a few days, nice little spare room with a cute little lunette, if you stand on a chair you'll get a great view of Battersea Power Station, but hey, I'm talking to a pro, must needs be a lowrie in your job Sir Wilf, I guess it takes all a fox's cunning to hang onto it with all this talk of defeats and Bunker mentality, but she held on tonight, so The Dame lives to lose another day, any comments, off the record of course, now we're family I never betray a confidence, hop in and we'll be there before you can say Jake Spotted-Dogg, now he's the real Enemy Within, ain't he? Boris the Doris is a has been, The Man Who Never Quite Was, you might say – or I might ask you and that'd give us 'Sir Wilf Doesn't Deny' etcetera, but I'm only joshing, old son, now, Belt Up In The Back, if the rozzers stop us and you ain't belted up, I ain't paying your fifty squid; shall we pick up a takeaway? what's your fancy Wilf?" and he didn't stop talking for the entire drive, even when they popped into a Mexican for Fajitas and Tacos and next door to an Off-Licence for a few bottles to wash it down with, and by the time he got into the spare room, alonbe, and lay down on the bed Sir Wilfred Heath-Robinson, probably ex-Cabinet Secretary, was so exhausted that he fell asleep at once and never dreamt of The Dame for the first night since she'd become Party Leader and Prime Minister!
At the start, Timothy felt he had been depermed, so intense was the barracking he received until little Johnny Milkman, The Speaker, intervened forcefully, threatening to gyve the most frequent offenders and insisted that the Secretary of State be given a respectful hearing, as each Honourable Member would expect when it was his, or her, turn to ask questions, and after giving way several times to allow supporters of The Dame's Proposal to speak, while refusing opponents' similar opportunities, and feeling rather pleased with himself, Timothy was happy to indulge in a little repartee with Members of the Opposition and acquitted himself so well that – with the aid of Sir Wilfred's voice in his ear, which no longer seemed to jinx him, indeed, it had become one with his own thinking – and eschewing, along with The Speaker, those short breaks for elevenses, luncheon, tiffin and supper, and even toilet visits, he spoke without repetition, hesitation or deviation for a full fifteen hours, immuring the House within it's Chamber, and even requiring that the clocks be stopped at midnight so that the entire proceedings could be contained within a single, calendar, day, meaning of course that both Hansard and Questions, Questions, known affectionately as QQ, missed their deadlines and even then, when he was just winding up before his big finish and feeling much more perite than when he had started, he placed his notes on the bench behind himself and turned square on to the Opposition Front Bench and began to ad lib; he adopted the bearing of a raisonneur, determined to put his own stamp on the speech as effectively as possible, to take ownership – even though it was always The Dame's, so let his jacket fall open and stuck his thumbs in his braces and pulled on them dramatically, which had a curious effect on those nearest to him across the Despatch Boxes; one pointed, then another, whispers were exchanged and wondering faces began to smile, to smirk, to grin and then to laugh uproariously; which was when Sir Wilfred’s voice spoke urgently in is ear: "let go of your braces, man, and button your jacket up!" but Timothy was too elated and determined to finish his speech on an upbeat; pulling dramatically on his braces he roared above the noise: "and That is what Brexit Means!" in The Bunker, all eyes were fixed on the central TV screen, showing the image currently being broadcast, and from the image of Michaelmas-Daisy, from waist to just above his head, the camera zoomed on on the stripes across his braces, which when he pulled them forward became what they quite distinctly were – blackletter words, one above the other, repeated down each strap and with each pull, perfectly legible; by now the serried ranks of the Opposition were chanting in time with Timothy, and some of his own party Members, prompted by Opposition Members holding up and pointing to their phones and tablets, had found the Parliament Channel and had begun chanting too; which was when little Pip Maybe-Maybenot, the PM's diminutive and petite husband had trotted into the Cabinet Office and was holding up his own phone – he stopped when he saw the wide-screen shots on the wall-mounted TVs in the office and asked, in an imperious voice: "why is that chap wearing my braces?" and Sir Wilfred turned to face him: "your braces, Mr Maybe-Maybenot? what makes you think they're your braces?" and Pip grinned mischievously: "cos The Dame had 'em made specially for me – jolly good ain't they?" and a faint memory from Referendum Day, when Old Davie and Young Georgie Porgie still held sway in The Bunker, and seeing Little Pip visiting and showing off his brand new braces, with the words:
and Sir Wilfred turned to Quentin: "where did you find them?" and Quentin said: "in Little Pip's dressing-up box under the stairs, you know, behind his rocking horse and Star Wars costume, but I never noticed it was actual words, it was just a cool jazzy pattern!"
Just say to him: "awa an bile yer heid, ye big tumshie!" said Sir Wilfred's voice in Timothy''s ear, and he did so in his best rendering of Billy Connelly; there was uproar among the SNP Members, while the rest of the Chamber roared with delight at the collapse of the stout party; next it was the opportunity of one of the Labour Members to ask the new Secretary of State about the Government's intentions when the PM's motion was defeated? and in his ear Timothy was advised that the Government was confident that the proposal would be passed, as it was the one and only puredee which would achieve the Brexit the British people had voted for in the Referendum and thus the proper business of securing the Kingdom's departure from the European Union would be achieved, which Timothy did, at which point the Speaker, having called the House to Order in his firmest tone, announced that the Secretary of State would address them on behalf of the Government: now, as it happens, Timothy had done well to learn and practice his speech – which had been written by The Dame, as many of her party referred to the PM, herself – with considerable aplomb, if a tad galumphingly, when he had gone through it for the final rehearsal in front of Sir Wilfred and Quentin – who had actually applauded him when he finished, and then cheekily cried: "encore!" - even though he, personally, had no confidence that he was anything other than a transpicuous mouthpiece and had no faith in the likelihood of it being passed: so many of his own party, including himself were opposed to it, and would certainly go through the Nay Lobby to that effect, and that opposition had made extremely unlikely bedfellows – ardent Europhiles, like Timothy, who had voted to Remain in the Union because they believed, among other things, that a United Europe brought not only economic and mercantile benefits, but also provided a guarantee that there would be peace in Europe and no repetition of the two disastrous 'World Wars' of the Twentieth Century, would rub shoulders with Labour, Lib Dem and the other opposition parties, while zealous 'Little Britainers' like the Honourable Members for the three Beddingshire Constituencies: North (Sir Pompus MacFarlane), Mid (Mr Digby Doubleday) and South (Ms Natalie Rhombus) who had voted to Leave, were a mixture of Nationalists amd Europhobes who seemed to detest all the other nations of Europe because they didn't speak the Queen's English and had never been able to grasp the fundamental rightness of LSD (not the drug, but Pounds, Shillings and Pence, the old monetary system which had been abolished in the 1970s to put the UK in the metric system as a forerunner of the long-planned Euro, a single currency within the Union which had always been seen by it's champions as the natural precursor of their eventual aim of a United States of Europe, something political akin to those of America) and still harboured a dream of returning to it! – he rose to his feet, provoking a number of cat-calls from the other side of the House, and noticed how the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, the Queen-makers, who had taken Theresa Maybe-Maybenot's thirty pieces of silver on a promise to support her, as then undefined, proposals for Brexit - £1 billion, or £15 a head from the population of the rest of the UK – and were now intent to vote against the Deal on Tuesday, and this without the courtesy of at least returning the Bribe – were arrayed on the same benches as the Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists and Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Nationalists, the one Green Party representative and one Independent, from Northern Ireland, thank goodness the Sinn Fein MPs from Northern Ireland refused to attend because it would require them to take the Oath to the Queen which would have choked them, as that would have been the last straw; as it was the last straw was provided by the combined weight of the committed Remainers and Leavers in his own Party which, at this point, seemed to guarantee that the Proposal would be dead in the water after the vote on Tuesday – maybe that would be when Timothy could become the slugabed of the SNP jibe, without a job, or, more accurately, without a Cabinet Post and back to being simply the anonymous back-bencher from Pimlico West; oh well, he thought, nothing to lose really, the worst is that I go back to who I was before the summons to Downing Street (or The Bunker as Sir Wilfred had called it) this morning; he stood to his full 5'7" gazed around the Chamber, feeling as if he had reached the end of the plank and had only a few feet of air between him and the tumultuous ocean, closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them wide and plunged in!
Now, although rather foolish by nature, Timothy Michaelmas-Daisy was nobody's fool; he knew that ad hocism had a natural tendency to be transpicious, irregardless of any approbation showered on it's puppets by the string-pullers, and now here he was, just the day after his Maiden Speech – and he blushed at the memory of the disruption in the House which rather drowned most of his words – elevated to be a Secretary of State, albeit in a doomed Ministry, and now facing the Opposition and the millions watching on television from a Front Bench position he had never dreamt to occupy; Sir Wilfred's voice in his ear almost made him jump: "if you can hear me loud and clear, pull your right earlobe," and Timothy did as he was told; he knew that he was a Follower and could never be a Leader, but there was something intoxicating about even pretend-power; the Speaker called a Scottish Nationalist for the first Question to the Secretary of State: "ta, very muchly, Maister Speaker," quipped the SNP's Brexit Spokesperson: "does the newly appointed Secretary of State huv ony plans fur the morn's morn or wull he jist lie lik a slugabed till sumdy ca's tae tellim he's oot oan his ear?" roars of laughter from the Opposition ranks, and boos from the Government Party at what was presumably a risqué if not downright rude question and verging closely on unparliamentary behaviour if anyone South of the Border Down Westminster Way could understand quite what it meant!
And that was when his telephone rang! assuming that it was one of his friends, and never bothering to check the caller display, Timothy answered in a funny voice: "good morning, Candelabra Antiques, I'm Sandy, and this is my friend Jules," and in another voice, piped up: "cooee, Jules here! how can we help you Mister Horne?" but instead of Lesley or Paulie, he heard the voice of the Cabinet Secretary: "Mr Michaelmas-Daisy? this is Sir Wilfred Heath-Robinson, the PM wishes to see you at 10 prompt, please ensure that you are not late," and he hung up; Michaelmas-Daisy checked the caller display and saw that the call had indeed come from the Cabinet Office, so without any delay, he dressed, kissed his Mamma, Lady Braid-Hills and left the house without even taking a bite to eat or a sip of tea, and so was at the door of the Cabinet Office with five minutes to spare; he was met by Sir Wilfred, who told him to agree with everything the PM said and that he would have all the support he needed, then quickly ushered him along the corridor which adjoins that house and Number 10, and at ten-o'clock the novice MP was ushered into Mrs Maybe-Maybenot's private office; he bowed formally and the PM glanced up at him: "oh!" she said, "I thought you were taller and broader and somewhat more, err, athletic," and Timothy was acutely aware of his aesthete's inherent limpness, but before he could apologise for disappointing her, Mrs Maybe-Maybenot shook her head: "doesn't matter, you'll just have to do! I'm appointing you Secretary of State for Leaving th European Union, your predecessor resigned last night, now here's the speech you will give to the House at 2.30pm, learn if off by heart; Sir Wilfred will give you the details about responding to questions from Honourable and dishonourable Members, now, don't waste any time, go through to Sir Wilfred's office and start learning your lines!" and Timothy found himself hurried back to Sir Wilfred’s office and sat at a desk with the speech he had been given, but found it hard to read because the Cabinet Secretary kept giving him advice, or moral boosters, or how to listen to his, Sir Wilfred' voice through the earpiece one of Heath-Robinson's assistants, a boy called Quentin, had inserted: "try not to be overtly transpicious – they'll see through you in their own time, no need to make it too easy for them; I'll tell you when to sandbag any pushy prat, just say what I tell you and if it includes a hint that you know something he wouldn't like the whole world and his wife to hear on live TV that usually shuts them up; remember you are now a member of the ohana – we're a family here in The Bunker and if you follow the rules we'll help you all the way," and then Quentin pinned a red ribbon to his lapel, with the comment that "it's World Aids Day – we've got ribbons for just about everything that'll win over, or hold onto, any large block of votes: Polish Independence Day, every Saint's Day you can think of, Burns Night and Hogmanay, Guy Fawkes, Easter, Christmas, Breast Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Autism, Thalidomide, all the Hindu Gods, Mohammed's Birthday, Buddha's Enlightenment, nearly every day of the year, old Sam who keeps the diary is always having to add something else in: Mumsnet, Dadsnet, Siamese Twins, Twin Towers, Grenfell, it's never ending, you'll love it here, I hope you've still got a job after Tuesday, who knows? we might all be claiming Universal Credit!"
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