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Monday, 31 October 2016

Brexit Blues All Around - And then I get a call.

Still no strategy from the PM. My contacts in Whitehall say it's like being in recess (that's what they call holidays) as they stand around waiting for the word from the PM.  Then things warmed up yesterday.  As I'm the government's top salesman, it was no surprise when Boris called me to his office with a sales idea. He was shaking his blond mop in frustration.
"Jason," he said.  "I want to get things going. Shake things up a bit. Alea jacta est if you see what I mean."
"Oh, absolutely," I responded.
"What I want to do is to get the bloody Euros into a good mood, see."
"Uh huh."
"Soften 'em up a bit so the PM and I can negotiate from strength.  I want our negotiations to be a prime example of veni, vedi, vinci."
"Of course," I said, somewhat puzzled.
"What have we got that you could sell to them?"
"Something that really interests them that we can offer them at a price they can't refuse.  Come on, now.  What have we got?" 
He got up out of his chair and straightened his tie.
"I'm off to see the PM so you start thinking up something good while I'm gone. She's giving me ten minutes so I'll soon be back."
I sat there thinking, looking out of the window at the pigeons.  When Boris came back in to his office I had a few suggestions ready.  He's shaking his blond mop again, looking rather as though he'd just had a bad interview with the Head Mistress.
"Well?  Well?"  he bellowed.
"I have a list for your consideration, Minister."
"Ah!  Well done.  Knew I could rely on you. Well, what?"
"I think the EU is always interested in expanding its frontiers.  So we should offer them some big real estate."
"Good!  Smart fellow.  Like what?"
"The Isle of Wight?"
"H'm.  Bit small. Rather an odd place.  What else?"
"Yes! Yes!  Brilliant, Jason.  Simply brilliant!  Summum bonum!  I shall tell the PM at once!"
And off he went.  And so did I.  I reckon I can get a big bonus for this idea if it helps Brexit to move along a bit.....

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Brexit is just around the corner?

Nothing much seems to be happening about Brexit at the moment.  Except that the chief  EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been sharpening his rapier and has told the French press that all negotiations with the Brits must be in French!  Since he announced that, I have had a call from Theresa's office.  My inside source informs me that she has been reading up what I did for Dodgy Dave (see posts below or buy the book), and has been told I speak French.  So it could be that she will call me in to help double-cross the Brussels bozos.
I really hope so.  It could be a lot of fun.....

In the meantime, here is a selection of books you might enjoy?


Saturday, 30 July 2016

Me and Brexit

I don't think it will change much for me - the new lot will still need a negotiator.  In fact Boris, Theresa and Liam have each asked me to stand by.  They boast they speak French - but it's more the 'Oh, er, bong jewer, Monsewer' variety than the real stuff.  I speak it fluently and they'll certainly need me when they come up against the axe-man Michel Barnier.  I've seen him reduce an opponent to wobbling jelly in the middle of a negotiation.  Michel and I are old mates and have often shared a Pernod on the Grand' Place.  Anyway, the new lot will make a nice change from Dodgy Dave and George Skint.  I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and cracking on - which is clearly more than one can say of our new leaders....

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Shorter books are coming back.....

Professor Tom Ressencourt, in a recent article for the Literary Review observed that the shorter novel is making a comeback. He said, " Short novels are for busy people, for the journey to work, for the weekend, for the beach.  They have no padding, no stuffing, no unnecessary waffle to get the page count up to 500 – just the story/the action/the characters/the dialogue. They are for the modern age.  They are for today's reader. Frankly I couldn't care less what type of coffee the hero prefers or what time he gets up in the morning.  I want the story to keep moving along.  And there are plenty of examples of  knock-out short novels in the past."

Professor Ressencourt's list included:
The Great Gatsby
Animal Farm
Peter Pan
A Christmas Carol
Northanger Abbey
Fahrenheit 451
The Old Man and The Sea
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Big Sleep
Bonjour Tristesse
Heart of Darkness.                                         They are all short novels.  About 200 pages.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The 2016 Panto - by popular demand!

The 2016 Panto!

Dramatis Personae:

Dodgy Dave
George Skint
Corb The Plain Speaker – A Man of the People

Citizens of London:-
Sergei, a Russian billionaire
Abdul, an Arab billionaire
Ying, a Chinese billionaire
Switch, a tax-evader
Banquo, a money-mover

Air Chief Marshal Bombsaway
Rear Admiral “Nuke'em” Glug-Glug

Chorus: Hard-working British Families

Act One, Scene One. An office.

Dodgy: I want to give a really, really big party.

Skint: Oh.

Dodgy: For all our friends, supporters and donors.

Skint: Uh huh...

Dodgy: No expense spared.

Skint: Ah....

Dodgy: A super party to show how much we appreciate their support.

Skint: Er....

Dodgy: We'll have it at the Ritz.

Skint: Er...

Dodgy: And I'm going to order the finest spread my guests will have ever seen. Krug, the caviar, the lobsters, the venison, and so on.

Skint: Er...

Dodgy: I've booked a fleet of limos to pick them all up from their homes.

Skint: Er...

Dodgy: What is it, Skint? Why the devil do you keep saying 'er' all the time?

Skint: No money.

Dodgy: What do you mean? No money? Are you unwell?

Skint: Well, Dodgy. It's like this. There's no money left in the Treasury. We're broke. Not a single quid left.

Dodgy: Well, get the Bank to print some up, fast. I'm giving my party next week.

Skint: The Bank's got none, either.

Dodgy: What? Why was I not informed, dammit?

Skint: We only found out this morning.

Dodgy: Do you mean to say I can't have my party?

Skint: Sorry. It's all gone.

Dodgy: Bloody Hell! Where? Can't we get some of it back?

Skint: I don't think so. Hold on though. We could ask the recipients of our foreign aid to send the latest payment back to us. And we'll send it back to them when we're better off!

Dodgy: Brilliant! E-mail them all immediately. Report back to me later, after Murdle's cocktail party.

Act One, Scene Two.

Dodgy: So, Skint, how did we do? Lots coming in?

Skint: Don't know yet, I've got their emails up on my screen, now. Oh dear... This one says he's already spent it on a fleet of Mercedes. The next one says...he's bought a palace on the French Riviera with it. This one says it's all in a tax haven and cannot be got at. And this one, the last that I've received, says he's really sorry but he's spent it on a national football team facility.

Dodgy: I hope their e-mails are encrypted or we'll have the bloody media on our backs.

Skint: I've just had a thought, Dodgy. You remember that the Opposition recently got a huge donation from the unions? Well, maybe we could ask them for a temporary loan.

Dodgy: Ask bloody Corb The Plain Speaker for a loan? What a stupid idea!

Skint: Well, it's either that or no party.

Dodgy: Get him round here! Fast!

Act One, Scene Three. Enter Corb The Plain Speaker.

Dodgy: Well, Corb. There you are. How are you?

Corb: Not too bad, really, considering.

Dodgy: Considering what, dear old Corb?

Corb: D'you ever read Shakespeare?

Dodgy: Who?

Corb: Every time I go to a party meeting I feel like Julius Caesar waiting for Brutus to put the knife in.

Skint: I just love Shakespeare, always have, he's so human...

Dodgy: Oh, shuddup! Now, my dear old Corb. I need your help.

Corb: Every man is entitled to his opinion.

Dodgy: This is not PMQs, old chap. Just a simple request. Between you and me.

Corb: Well, I don't know about that. Anything serious has to be put to my supporters and must obtain their approval, before I allow myself to take a position. I don't know what your request is but there is always the chance that someone may not approve.

Dodgy: Oh, you mean like old Bennt? What a liability he must be to you. For Heaven's sake, don't let him cross the floor and become a supporter of my party. A damned orator!

Corb: Look, I've got an appointment with the Peace Corps President, the Anti-Munitions Group, and the Bicycle Preservation Society this morning. So, how can I be of help?

Dodgy: Well, it's like this, dear old Corb. Skint has just informed me that the Treasury is a little embarrassed at the moment – depleted liquid funds, no ready cash, a bit strapped - and I was wondering if you would be ready to help out?

Corb: D'you mean join a demonstration against rampant Capitalism?

Dodgy: Good Heavens, no! Not in this weather, old chap. Your bicycle might get rusted up. Oh, dear me, no. The nation has an urgent need for a cash injection. In fact, the fate of the nation is in your hands.

Corb: Ah. Then I stand ready. To serve my country - I stand ready.

Dodgy: Good show!

Enter Air Chief Marshal Bombsaway and Rear Admiral “Nuke'em” Glug-Glug.

Bomb: I say, I say! Now listen hear, Dodgy. I've just been informed that you haven't paid the deposit on our next lot of RPM Mach3 Splat bombs!

Dodgy: Eh?

Skint: Er...that little problem I mentioned earlier, Dodgy.

Dodgy: Do not worry, Air Chief Marshal. A mere oversight. It will be paid tomorrow.

Bomb: Well, it had better be or we can't blast away at those targets you personally gave us last week.

Glug: I say, I say! I've got the same dashed problem. My nuke supplier says he hasn't been paid for the war-heads. And if we don't pay, we won't get the software to fire 'em!

Skint: Same again, Dodgy.

Dodgy: Do not worry, Rear Admiral. Their payment will be sent tomorrow.

Glug: I should hope so! How do you expect my chaps to protect the nation's shores if we're not armed?

Dodgy: Quite.

Corb: Are you people all mad? What purpose is served by war? Tell me that.
What good are you doing the citizens of our great nation by bombing foreign cities or shooting nuclear missiles at a supposed enemy?

AUDIENCE: Applause.

Bomb: Good God! Who is this fellow?

Glug: Damned impertinence!

Dodgy: Allow me to introduce Corb The Plain Speaker.

Bomb: Never heard of him.

Glug: Wait a minute. Somebody in the mess mentioned him last night. A damned Trot! A Marxist, damn him! Rides a bicycle! What the devil is he doing here?

Corb: You must be a Daily Mail reader.

Glug: Damn your impudence. I read the Daily Telegraph and The Times!

Corb: Is there a difference?

Dodgy: Please gentlemen!

Corb: Have you stopped to think, Air Chief Marshal and Rear Admiral, if what you do is of any real use to mankind, of any help to the citizens of this country?

Enter The Chorus of Hard-Working Families.

Chorus: 'We work hard all day,
For very little pay.
What we've got
Is not a lot.
But nonetheless
We say:
Hurrah for our government
Hurrah for our leaders all!
We're happy to pay our taxes
To keep Great Britain standing tall!

Dodgy: Ah yes, we are all in this together.

The Air Chief Marshal and the Rear Admiral are wiping the tears from their eyes. Skint is rattling the change is his pocket. Corb is using his smartphone.

Dodgy: Good heavens! What's that noise outside?

Corb: I believe it's a demonstration by my supporters.

Enter Sergei, Abdul and Ying.

Dodgy: Greetings, dear friends and welcome!

Sergei: No greetings. Big problem.

Abdul: Very big problem.

Ying: Velly big ploblem.

Dodgy: No matter what it is, Her Majesty's Government will remedy it.
Under my leadership. I have always been clear about my leadership. Now, tell me, dear friends, what is this problem?

Sergei: Price of houses London are falling. Where is your vodka cabinet?

Abdul: Our investment losing. No more racing Lamborghini cars round Harrods. We move to Brussels.

Ying: Shall remove to Ofrica. Unless remedial action soonest.

Dodgy: Skint, is this anything to do with us?

Skint: No, I don't think so. It's the markets.

Dodgy: But they are supposed to be always in our favour!

Sergei: Decision needed today. Good-bye. You send e-mail when problem fixed.

Abdul: Otherwise I return to sands. To my princely brethren and human rights for all workers in my lands.

Ying: Me too. To Shengszhen, home of my spiritual fathers, my ancestors, my ying and yang. Maybe for the best. No ying, no yang in London. Only bling.

They leave.

Dodgy: I'm glad I'm retiring in 4 years' time.

Skint: A wise decision, Dodgy.

Dodgy: Aha! Fancy my job, do you?

Corb: Can we discuss something of more importance please?
I am going to make two proposals to Parliament, next week. Firstly, I am going to propose that, in future, the only citizens who should pay taxes to the government are those who voted for it. In your case, that would be 24% of the electorate. Why should the 76% of people who didn't vote for you, give you money to spend any way you think fit?

Dodgy: That's barmy. The other 76% don't pay any tax? The country would soon go broke.

Skint: Careful, Dodgy....

Corb: The other 76% would pay tax to the party they voted for and the money could only be spent on what the people approve.

Dodgy: But none of them would want to give away billions in foreign aid, or buy my bombs, or buy Trident missiles!

Corb: Precisely.

Chorus: 'Oh, oh, oh, oh!
What a change is here!
There's somebody in parliament
Who has the people's ear.
Was it ever so before?
Let's hope it lasts and lasts,
And we are no more poor
And he brings down the taxes on our beer!

Exeunt Omnes: Dodgy sweating, Skint smiling secretly, Corbyn looking ahead at the future.