And now for something for completely different
I tell you, there are days that you can’t please anyone. It all started conventionally enough. The fresh morning light crept through the gap in the curtains and caressed my face with the tenderness of an unattended car alarm. The Moggster had introduced me to a patriotic drink called Lambrini the previous evening. I was now flying the Union Flag upside down.
As I lay on my bed, sprawled and desolately flapping like a mackerel in a bucket, Cummings entered as if twirling a black cape. “Your boxes”, he said, as he deposited six battered red receptacles of unalloyed tedium for my morning purgatory. “Thank you”, I lied. He smoothly vanished. I swear I sometimes see puffs of smoke.
I shuddered back in my bed with the same anticipatory fear that Cinderella’s slipper must have felt when handed to her elder sisters for a trial fitting. Well, as Sir W used to say, if you are going through hell, keep going. I reached for the first red horror and with a deep breath fumbled the clasps, as I have so many times before. At least Pandora had hope to keep her company.
Now there are few things that a chap finds less congenial in the morning than to be forced to think of Brussels. The very word conjures up an aroma of green disappointment. But confound it, before my first Virgin Mary of the morning I was staring at an unintelligible jumble of letters masquerading as English purporting to update me on the progress of the negotiations with the EU.
Not good, it seems. They don’t seem to accept that it’s a lot of hard work to think about what we want, and the chumps are insisting we decide now. British fair play means nothing to them, the scoundrels. If we don’t, they want Northern Ireland hermetically sealed from the rest of the UK (they seem to think that is a threat). And they want our fish too. It seems that speaking slowly and loudly isn’t getting through to them yet. Cummings keeps telling me that he has a plan for the negotiations – it sounds impressive, involving parallel universes, stochastic modelling and a Russian sociologist from the 1970s. I’d need quite a bit of that fish quota to understand it though.
On to the next one. It was all medical stuff of course. The scientists are concerned about this wretched virus again. Lots of technical stuff about the R rate going up and how they haven’t figured out the K rate. I’m just a journalist – only last year I was warmly congratulated for my article in the Wakefield Gazette on What The Well-Dressed Eurosceptic Is Wearing. I don’t understand all this maths. Every time I cram the stuff about the R number into my head, it leaks out of my ears like Otex, fizzing and popping. They’re the scientists. Perhaps we need to up their fish quota too.
Apparently this means that they want me to cancel the St Leger and put my friends coming back from the Greek islands into quarantine. Have they no idea what my father would have to say to me about that? And as for Doncaster, it’s bad enough for my red wall MPs that they have to spend every weekend in the area without taking the geegees away from them.
I’d had enough. I am Prime Minister after all. I summoned Cummings. He slunk into the room balefully, with an expression like a hungry lurcher who has just had a hare wrestled out of his chops.
“Can’t this wait?” he said. “I’m in the middle of a detailed discussion with my team about how we might use a superconstellation of micro-satellites in quasi-crystalline formation to beam targeted messages to each citizen giving them personalised lifelong education. I’ve composed nearly a third of a 50,000 word blogpost on the subject and you’ve broken my train of thought.”
I quailed slightly. I know that Cummings looks down on me for being a member of the Drones Club – he sees anything that isn’t space-capable as being beneath him (the look he gave when I admitted making model buses would have julienned a carrot). Nevertheless, I pressed on.
“Dominic,” I said, “everyone is coming to me with problems. And you come to me with solutions for problems that lie 20 years in the future. Your last solution to the Irish border was facial recognition for sheep. Can we sit down and concentrate on what the Gover likes to refer to as the here and now?”
And so we came up with the Rule of Six. Now quite why the EU thought it so objectionable to place an absolute ban on gatherings of more than six countries, I have no idea, but they created quite the hullabaloo. Unseemly, I call it.
A PB regular