Sir Alistair The Spin Physician had arrived, with his assistant Sir'Alan Sugarcane and was setting up charcoal sketches of his cunning plan on an easel. A canvas shroud covered a large object beside it. Blackadder and Lord Shauny sat in chairs and listened to the presentation. Ballsdrick squatted on the floorboards.
"As I understand it, your stock has sunk as low and as quickly as Kenny MacAskill . You need to revive it and make a silver mine load of cash into the bargain. Well I have just the thing" said Sir Alistair, " Behold, your saviour" added Sir'Alan and he whipped off the shroud to reveal a printing press.
"The idea is to have everyone in the realm carrying a parchment containing details of their identity. You have sole rights over the printing of these "Identity Parchments"
said the spin apothecary, making air quotes with his fingers, "And you can set the price of each one to whatever you wish. If every citizen carries one, that will be some two million sales."
"But why would anyone want to carry one? What purpose do they serve?" asked Brownadder.
"Well, the information contains a persons name occupation, place of residence, height, weight,religion, number of facial warts.."
"I already know my name sir," said Ballsdrick. "Its Ballsdrick. Occupation, education secretary and servant to my master. I live at the behest of Lord Brownadder in the attic of number ten. I'm 5ft zero and weigh heavily on the nations thoughts. Facial and other warts, nine.."
"Ahh, but if someone didn't know you,and wanted to question you, then if you produced the parchment, they could tell it actually was you."
"Who would ask anything of a pointless, insignificant haystack like him." asked Brownadder. "It would be like asking the opinion of Bob Ainsworth."
"But here is the cunning part confided Sir Alistair craftily. "You create a climate of fear so that every Goodman and Goodwyfe is placed under suspicion. We tell the Queen of a plot to overthrow the monarchy. Uncompromising religious fundamentalists are poised to blow up Parliament and bring in their own perverted view of religion and their own sinister laws.."
"You mean the Moors?"
"No, Catholics. A Catholic plot. A royal decree is passed declaring that every man, women and child must register at their local parish and pay to receive one of these special warrants to help combat the terror. I have devised a suitable ruse. We just need someone stupid enough to take these barrels of gunpowder down to the cellars at Parliament."
"Lord Shauny, Ballsdrick. Job for you...
I like it. Its as outrageous and untrue as a Lib Dem campaign leaflet. And Tony and Mrs Blair are Catholics too aren't they. Brilliant. Or are they casholics? Is that the same thing? Never mind, they will go onto the traitors list. So how much will this operation cost?"
"My company, Lambstrad, makes these little printing beauties," said Sir Sugarcane. " None of your German Gutenberg rubbish here. Solid Anglo Saxon craftsmanship. And it only weighs three times as much and runs half as fast, yet costs twice as much." he boasted.
"They can knock out as many as six I.D cards a day. I can let you have a hundred presses for 500 florins and being made a Lord of some mundane enterprise scheme.
"It's a Deal. Shauny, dip into your wife's fortune again and pay the
Levite. I'm off to see Her Majesty and Cardinal Sin himself, Lord Mandelchett. If anyone wants me I'll be with the two Queens."
and Brownadder left for the Richmond.
to be continued