Inside the Commons, with Rhubarbara Dunghill. Parts 6-10.

[The Half-Mast Gazette, in an effort to avoid the heady truncheon of legal complications, are thus required to re-remind our princey and duchessy readers that we have access to the private diary of Rhubarbara Dunghill MP, the Whig Member for Jeespott. If you are irked by espionage and Vampirism, I recommend turning swiftly and marching your cursor (or finjer-tip for those mobile readers) to that little ‘X’ at the top of the screen, and exiting now, before it is too late and you have seen all.]

Preface – Extract from the Pages of the Half-Mast Gazette’s print edition:

[Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Capable has gone missing off the coast of Switzerland, and is presumed moderate. Capable was on holiday with his golden retriever Norman, his son Norman, and his sailing boat The Norman. If anybody has information about the family, write to us at The Half-Mast Gazette, the basement, 124 London Lane, SE69 111.]

Part 6: Van Gaal’s New Deal

Greetings, my epistolary companion. Rhubarbara writing here on a stuffy omnibus near Westminster. Before the news hits the media companies, I must confide in you a matter of political significance from the office of our Tory Statesman-in-Chief, Prime Minister Louis van Gaal. In the Commons today he announced a new policy, and this is a transcript hastily put together by me in my patented short-hand style (vowels are functionally impotent, I do believe whole-heartedly):

[VAN GAAL]

Attend my words feelthy serfs! My talent scouts have flown from Wheetby to Carfax Abbey in search of breeliant politic. They have returned with ample fleesh and governing advice. I love thees country, Great Brexitain, and look forward to draining eets blood – [ahem] draining the swamp, I said. Here at the Tory party we care about the leetle guy, so I announce my New Deal. Louis van Gaal sexy. Like victim of automobeele collision. Thatcher. I announce tax cuts for the reech, and dagger cuts for the poor. Furthermore, all dwellings that are not caravans weel be taxed two-hunning times previous rates, and each stores must seell Transylvanian soil by the crate by law, at an eemport price of half a ducat. Spiders.

And with that he flew out of the window in the form of a black bat. There is something off about that man, I don’t know what it is. Perhaps our differing political allegiance makes him take on an alien form in my head, I don’t know.

Part 7: Et Tu Brute and All

After this I went to have a cig in Parliament Square when I heard a clunking noise. I look and see some men whacking a human skull through croquet hoops with a large mallet. Upon closer inspection I identify them as the European Research Gang: Jake Rees-Mogg and that quiet, mostly unknown back-bencher by the name of Horace Johnson. They are wearing velvet suits of a turquoise hue and elegant powdered wigs. I observe their conversation, which took place more or less as follows:

[REES-MOG]

Horace, my dear fellow. We cannot allow this to happen.

[JOHNSON]

Back-Scratch.

[REES-MOG]

I know, I know, it’s unthinkable to turn on our leader – et tu Brute and all. 

[JOHNSON]

Crisp.

[REES-MOG]

That is precisely where my dilemma enters my mind. I support two aspects of the New Deal, but filthy caravans? Brexitain as we know it will be ruined by aesthetic disruption!

[JOHNSON]

Fireplace.

[REES-MOG]

Why am I willing to speak so openly about treason? I am glad you asked Horace, for I am not alone in this desire to topple our king. Before leaving my office last night I received an anonymous telegram, inviting me to a Liberacci Demonstration at St Bride’s Church. I attended, and sat next to a man covered completely in shadow. Jake, he told me, what would you do to save this country?

The rest is as I have implied. So what say you?

But before Horace had the chance to answer, a ginger fox appeared on the other side of the square.

[REES-MOG]

Horace, look! Off we pop!

And both men dropped their mallets and pursued the fox. 

How strange, a division in the ranks of the Tory party – and who is this mysterious orchestrator? I would not be surprised if we discovered in the following four entries.

Part 8: Rise of the Mayflowers.

Good morning Reader, or is it still night? I am not sure. I have not slept.

On the stroke of midnight I left my dormitory to have a wee. On my way out of the women’s toilet I saw three robed figures bundling a man into the wall, and disappeared. I ran over, holding my lamp high. Where had they gone? There was nothing here save for centuries-old masonry and the oil painting of a Moebius Strip dedicated to Parliament in commemoration of the last three years of Brexit preparation.

Of course! I gave the portrait a meaningful press once – and again – and one final time. There was a dusty click and it swung outwards, revealing a stone spiral staircase. I descended the steps, but a gust of wind extinguished my candle. Using the lines of the stonework to guide my way down. Eventually I reached a grand cellar lit by bronze braziers and everything came clear to me…

Black Rod was gagged and tied to a post in the centre of the room! Seven austere hooded figures stood around him. Their leader was wearing leopard-print espadrilles. She took off her hood to reveal the unforgettable death-mask of Terry May! The late Prime Minister was now living in the catacombs of Parliament with her death-cult of Tory MPs. Six other figures took their hoods off and exposed their identities as Chris Grayling, Sajjy Javvy, Phil Hammond and Dominic Saab.

Saab took out an austere obsidian dagger, the only thing in the room shinier than his forehead, and handed it to Chris Grayling. Sajjy Javvy held a golden basin beneath Black Rod’s neck.

[TERRY]

We offer this sacrifice to the Old Gods, as the Book of the Mayflowers implores us to do.

They chant.

[ALL]

Maidenhead be with you.

[TERRY]

We ask you, exalted ones, to strike that foreign bastard from the office of Prime Minister.

[ALL]

Maidenhead be with you.

[TERRY]

We beg you, darling demons, to put me back in the driving seat of the hearse we call Brexitain.

[ALL]

Maidenhead be with you.

[TERRY]

We ask you, chunky monkeys, to kill Van Gaal in that Library Demolition that old gypsy woman told me about yesterday.

[ALL]

Maidenhead be with you.

[TERRY]

Kill him, Chris.

And so Chris Grayling started his slow walk towards Black Rod, blade outstretched. The Mayflowers continue chanting.

Terry and the final hooded figure turned to each other and kissed. 

[TERRY]

I shall finish what you started, dear Husband. Unless it’s Brexit.

[HOODED FIGURE]

My dear Bride of the Night, remove those speckled shoes.

[TERRY]

Whatever you wish, Nocturnus Magus of Sethlehem.

[HOODED FIGURE]

Now put on my galoshes. HURRY WENCH!

The brazier-light bounces off Saab’s forehead and I was able to see the hooded figure’s face reflected in the golden basin. It was the ghost of Oliver Cromwell! 

Reader, she married him.

They both cackle and have a cheeky snog, wearing each other’s shoes.

Chris Grayling finally reaches Black Rod and holds the blade to his throat… presses it into his flesh… and strikes!

Mistakenly, he cut through the rope tying Black Rod to the pole, freeing him. The Mayflowers gasp collectively.

No longer could I simply observe, something had to be done.

I knocked down a brazier, setting Phil Hammond alight. 

In the confusion Black Rod ran to the stairs, and we ascended, locking the painting behind us and trapping the Mayflowers in the blaze.

I removed his gag. 

Thanks for the help, Rhubarbara. 

Nobody will ever believe what we just witnessed, I told him.

You know what nobody will ever believe, Rhubarbara? The revocation of the Territorial Sea Act 1987 Guernsey Amendment Order from 2015 that passed through your bloody Commons this week. Absolute bollocks. I’m off for a wank.

I sincerely hope that’s the last I see of Oliver Cromwell’s ghost and the Mayflowers, but somehow I doubt it shall be.

Part 9: The Speaker at Full Volume

It has been two weeks since the disappearance of Vince Capable, and I smell something fishy. I decided to go to the Speaker’s chambers and inquire about the latest news on the matter. 

I knocked on the door and was ushered in by a turbanned butler. The room was palatial, in the Eastern style, and behind a shining marble desk were two thrones – occupied by John Berkeley and a small child.

[BERKELEY]

You look surprised to see Tamsin, she’s my niece. Did you not know it was take your child to work day?

I informed him that I did know. There had been emails and posters around all week.

[BERKELEY]

THOUGHT NOT. Now, what is the matter?

I told him, but he texted throughout my questions.

[BERKELEY]

To be completely frank, I’ve not been checking the news much. I’ve been too busy preparing for my speech tonight.

There’s a speech tonight? I ask.

[BERKELEY]

Oh yes, somebody must have heard about my incredible sexual potency, because I was delivered an anonymous invitation to speak at a Libido Demystification conference on Cato Street this evening.

[TAMSIN]

Uncle John, are you cooking tonight or should we order in?

[BERKELEY]

ORDEERRRRRRRRR!

I thanked him for his time and rose to leave, but he stopped me.

[BERKELEY]

WAIT. You cannot come all this way and not even listen to my speech.

I told him I was alright, my office was in the next room anyway.

[BERKELEY]

Get the lights, Tamsin.

A live band starts blaring out Fred Astaire’s Put it on the Ritz, and dozens of women wearing feather headdresses and flapper dresses totter in from all directions. The Speaker jumps onto the desk – he is wearing tap shoes, and grabs a top hat and cane from his butler. Tamsin does the same. 

[BERKELEY]

Have you seen the rich and poor

Up and down on Westminster?

On that famous thoroughfare

With their noses in our polluted air.

High wages and lowered morals,

Kids in cages and endless quarrels.

Committing the odd war-crime,

It’s a wonderful tiiiime.

If you’re blue and don’t know what to do,

Why don’t you do what Reds forbid,

Blame it on the kids! 

Always fighting in every party,

Some of us want to just have a party,

‘God forbid’,

Let’s blame it on the kids.

They’ve heard about my potency,

My sexual delinearity,

They call me Jackal,

[TAMSIN]

I’m a Coyote,

[TOGETHER]

Let’s blame it on the kids!

I promptly left.

Part 10: A Mastermind Revealed!

11:49. I enter the House with Tom Watson.

11:51. Jake Rees-Mogg and Horace Johnson enter. Tom whispers to me: ‘Yonder Jake has a lean and hungry look.’ I tell him that he would recognise a hungry look better than anyone.

11:56. Louis van Gaal arrives. At 12:15 Parliament will vote on his New Deal. The polls predict it will pass with a narrow margin.

11:59. Jeremy Corbett and Diane Abbey enter. Chris Grayling is sat in Abbey’s seat, but it does not matter – she accidentally sits in his anyway.

12:01. Us Red Buzzards squawk loudly in agreement while discussing how overrated HBO’s Chernobyl is, and how unjustly it presents hard-working government officials.

12:09. Jake Rees-Mogg hands Horace Johnson a croquet mallet. They nod at each other. Rees-Mogg is wearing a new fox-fur cap.

12:11. John Berkeley enters, looking hungover. His shirt is torn to shreds, revealing a bulletproof vest beneath it.

12:13. Louis van Gaal appears out of a shadow.

12:14. Silence lasts a minute.

12:15. John Berkeley commences voting.

Louis van Gaal stands to ceremonially cast the first vote.

He stands in the middle of the chamber. Silent nods are further exchanged from across the aisles. 

John Berkeley howls and sticks his cane through the chamber’s door handles, barricading the exit. The Mayflowers hold obsidian blades to the throats of the Prime Minister’s loyalist front-benchers so they cannot stop the inevitable.

Horace Johnson stands up.

Horace Johnson walks towards the Prime Minister, who spins around with surprise. He attempts to turn into a bat but the sunlight reflects off Dominic Saab’s forehead, burning his skin. He shouts for help.

Horace holds up his croquet mallet, the end of it sharpened into a stake. He thrusts it into Louis van Gaal’s heart-cavity.

The Prime Minister looks at his assassin, and speaks.

Alas, poor Louis. I was him, Horatio.

Johnson replies.

Trainline.

Louis van Gaal explodes into soil. 

We squawk. The Seven Nation Barmy Army chant SEVEN NATION BARMY ARMY. THEY CAN’T HOLD US BACK. The Mayflowers whisper Maidenhead Be With You. Jake Rees-Mogg slips through a crack in the floorboards.

A man steps into view. It’s Tony Blair, wearing a Liberal Democrat badge and holding the head of Vince Capable. 

[BLAIR]

The law required me to give him severance.

Now, by Parliamentary convention, the assassin of the Prime Minister takes their position.

The House looks towards Horace Johnson.

[JOHNSON]

Refrigerator.

[BLAIR]

I am glad you are up to the challenge.

Epilogue – Press Conference with Tony Blair, one week later.

[BLAIR]

Yes, I can confirm that the PM has agreed to a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, despite having an overwhelming majority over Corbett and the Whigs. Clearly he sees the future for Brexitain we both share. 

Now onto the next project. With a sober feeling of déjà vu I must inform you that we have intelligence about a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.

The United Kingdom thus are left with no choice but to invade Iraq and destroy this weapon: the name of which is Kenny Logan. Ladies and gentlemen, we are at war.

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