Sunday, January 3, 2010

Headline story, The Observer, 3 January 2010:
David Cameron to pledge NHS cash boost for most deprived areas

David Cameron will attempt to shed the Tories' image as the party of the rich and privileged tomorrow by pledging to divert billions of pounds to healthcare in the most deprived areas of the country.

The promise to direct a higher share of NHS resources to boost health in run-down areas was described last night by a senior party source as proof that Gordon Brown's "class war" attacks on the Conservatives were baseless.

1.
Muddlyng Beacon, January 2011:

Major Sir Arthur Muddlyng-Threw, septuagenarian sixteenth baronet, perched himself on the pedestal of the obelisk to the memory of the thirteenth baronet, killed somewhere up the Khyber Pass. He looked down Loamshire Vale, taking in the familiar view. Maggie, his old Labrador, farted once, squatted to cast an eye upward at the Master. With luck they could be here for some time.

Out of the antique Barbour jacket, the Major extracted a forbidden brier pipe, found the shag tobacco kept secreted in the other pocket, and stoked up. Maggie was now quite confident there would be a long, reflective pause, and settled down to snooze.

A year of mixed blessings, the Major ruminated. As perpetual President of the Loamshire North Conservative Association, he felt the election had gone as well as could be expected. Nationally the Party had squeaked a small, fragile, inadequate majority. Locally, the new fellow had not impressed, and the natural majority had been cut significantly. Moreover, the present Parliament would not long survive.

The Major hadn't really taken to the previous man either: then the silly arse had disqualified himself by putting a couple of alabaster bird-baths on his Commons bar bill. This new 'un had been wished on the Association at the last minute, seemed obsessed with meaningless acronyms and initials, and constantly getting his name in the popular prints over this European nonsense. In the Major's acute judgement the Member should be concerned more with his local patch: twice strong words had passed between the Major and the Chairwoman of the Association, to little effect.

For his part, the Major could take or leave Europeans. The French were insufferable, of course. Who really bothered with Greeks, Eye-ties, and Irish? Then there were the Maltese, Cypriots and these strange slavs and other new-minted statelets ... what account were they? On the other hand, though, the Major didn't mind the Huns: he'd seen quite a bit of them as a young Captain posted to BAOR. Good with machines. Fine shots. Sound on things that really mattered.

Ho, hum, he saw even more of that little blonde typist-translator, Silli from Celle, who had so delightfully educated him in conversational German, and other more carnal matters. With that warm memory, for a few seconds the Major's gloom lifted.

Then his heavy harrumph briefly stirred Maggie. With one eye she noticed that the Master's grimness had returned.

It had been a tough Christmas, reflected the Major.

Just as he was half-way through his treasured, last-but-two, bottle of 1977 Graham, all hell had broken loose.

2.

The drawing room of Middlyng Grange. Late afternoon, 25th December 2010.

His youngest grand-daughter, Caroline (but, insistently, "Caro") had turned up at the Grange with her latest chap: a decent cove, with more degrees and handles than were strictly decent. Part of the problem was there already: "Caro" had never been satisfied by horses, skiing and flower-arranging (activities good enough for her mother). Instead she had upped and offed to a University, and qualified herself in some -ology or other. She even authored books on the topic. Worse still, "Caro" had gone quite pinko.

As the glass of port weighed gently in the Major's hand, as he admired the silkiness of the vintage, savoured the faintest hint of aroma, "Caro" dropped the bomb-shell.
"I'm putting up at the next Election."
"Which division?"
"Here, of course!"
At that, the Major's glass of port had come close to spilling.
"But we've got What's-his-name, the new feller! I know he's not our sort, and doolally; but there's no way the Association could kick him out!"
"I'm putting up for the Liberal Democrats."
Therewith a sizable slurp of the prized vintage port went AWOL to despoil the Major's waistcoat.
"What! Why? For heaven's sake!"
"Granny says she'll support me."
In that second, the coronary seemed very close: the putative seventeenth baronet (currently trying to win his second wife's alimony at a poker table in New Jersey) almost discovered the death duties would be light because so would be the inheritance. Baronet called to his Lady:
"Pina!"
3.
Later that day:

The Major had never won a "discussion" with the Lady. This time had been no exception.

Lady Agrippina had forcefully explained to her husband the facts of the matter.

She was patron of the local hospital: they even named a ward after her. She owed them loyalty. The Government were intending to down-grade the facilities, transferring resources, staff and funding to Grimeborough General. This was part of the Prime Minister redeeming that casual pledge "to divert billions of pounds to healthcare in the most deprived areas of the country".

"Caro" and her young man had spelled out the whys and wherefores. It would inevitably be a local issue at the next Election, now believed to be just months away.

4.
Muddlyng Beacon, January 2011:

The Major completed his recce of the situation with his second pipe.

North Loamshire had been Tory since the ninth baronet lost his pocket borough at the Reform Act. Or, by another calculation, since the first baronet led his pikes to Naseby Field. Now a further bit of tradition, a last finger-nail on "power" was being wrenched away.

And yet ... Caro Threw MP (Lib Dem) had a ring to it. In a way it renewed the tradition.

Who to blame?

Well, the times and their changes perhaps.

Or that mean little callow-youth running the Treasury.
"That's the core of the matter", decided the Major. "Never trust a wallpaper-hanger. Look at the trouble we had with that Schicklgruber.
"Come on, Maggie, you silly bitch. Let's go home."

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2 comments:

Aphrodite said...

Please, can I look forward to more doings of the gallant Sir Arthur, the fearsome Lady Agrippina and the pushy Ms Caro?

And more, especially, of "Silli from Celle"?

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Your wish, dear goddess, shall be Malcolm's command.

Suggestions welcome on how Fräulein Silli (who must now be respectable Hausfrau of a certain age) can re-enter.

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