We are in the throes of a UK General Election campaign with the result declared in December… on Friday the 13th. Yes, Friday the 13th, This does not bode well.
Mad inventor John Ward designed and makes the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards. He was also a valued member of the Monster Raving Loony Party under its late leader Screaming Lord Sutch and Minister for Inventions in The Eccentric Party under its late leader Lord Toby Jug.
John Ward seems to loom large as a figure of impending death for the leaders of such parties.
Anyway, yesterday John Ward received a phone call from an enthusiastic young BBC Radio 4 researcher.
The conversation went thus:
BBC BOY: We are having a General Election.
JOHN WARD: I noticed. If some of us don’t like the result, we can perhaps ask for a re-run until we get one we’re happy with.
BBC BOY: Errr… Yes. How many candidates will be standing for Eccentric Party in this election?
JOHN WARD: Beats me. I have no idea.
BBC BOY: So – It’s a surprise tactic, then?
JOHN WARD: If you call raising the dead a surprise tactic, then it’s a definite Yes on that one.
BBC BOY: But, joking apart, are you willing to record a little piece over the telephone if we set a time up convenient for you?… Or can you give me a contact for your leader, Toby…
JOHN WARD: It might be slightly inconvenient for the leader to take part in an interview as he is – and I have this on good authority – very much no longer with us.
BBC BOY: No longer with you?
JOHN WARD: As in, well… dead… and he has been in this current state since last May.
BBC BOY: Dead?
JOHN WARD: Although it might be said that some supposed living Members of Parliament could be classed with the same status even though they are breathing and putting on a dashed fine show of things.
BBC BOY: (LAUGHS, THEN A PAUSE…) So this is a publicity thing in order to gain more votes for Eccentric Party candidates?
JOHN WARD: No. Brian is, until further notice, dead.
BBC BOY: Brian?
JOHN WARD: Brian Borthwick – Lord Toby.
BBC BOY: So can we record a few quotes, if we can sort out a time to record over the telephone?… About items on the Eccentric Party Manifesto and its aims.
JOHN WARD: One of our key things is to make it law that researchers should bone up on their subject matter before contacting people.
BBC BOY: (LONG PAUSE) But really, is it possible to have a word with Lord Toby Jug as we want to explore the alternative vote?
JOHN WARD: You could look up Yellow Pages under S for Séance and book me a seat once a venue is sorted.
BBC BOY: You’re not being very helpful.
JOHN WARD: Moi?
BBC BOY: I will have to pursue other avenues. It’s a pity. I do believe that people should be aware there are other political choices, however vague they might be… It is the British way of life.
JOHN WARD: Till death us do part.
BBC BOY: You’re really not being very helpful.
JOHN WARD: I’m trying my best. I am limited by mortality. It constrains us all.