Captain Camering was in the village Hall. He was standing beside a crude map of Westmington-on-Sea. He addressed his platoon as he tapped his stick against the easel.
“The key to this defence is to keep the bank protected at all times. Now ..Mr King, the bookmaker, has agreed that in an emergency, he will buy up any debts we might incur in defending the bank, which is good of him..
But that just isn’t enough. Now, we need to do more. Not just austerity. What we need to do is to give the people something they really want. Now..obviously there’s no money left, so it must be something that they want..but we can deliver very cheaply.”
Camering's deputy at the bank, and sergeant of the platoon, Nick Cleggson thought. “High speed rail?”
“Is that really cheap?”
“Or even wanted?..I take your point sir..I don’t know why I suggested it. No one does. Well...what about a change to proportional representation? That would be quite cheap. Or House of Lords reform?”
“No..Tried that, remember. It was about as popular as an episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys. And it doesn’t even appeal to both wings of the platoon, let alone the public. Its really only just your opera friends who are keen, Cleggson. I'd forget all about that nonsense if i were you.. We need something for everyone..at least, everyone who’s poor. Like erm..mechanics and labourers and tradesmen”
“What do you silver spoons know about tradesmen?” shouted a voice from the doorway.
It was the unpopular local greengrocer and head of the ARP, Anti Rich Party, Warden Balls. “That’s typical of you billionaires that is, “ He exclaimed, striding into the hall.
“ Defend the financial sector till the last man. But let the manufacturing and social sectors fend for themselves. Don’t worry about the little man in the high street. Just you and your banker chummies.”
“You can’t talk to the Captain like that, “ called out the Lance corporal Hague. “He can’t help it if we are all privileged toffs and rich people."
“He just looks after his own. He don’t care for no one but himself and his banker mates. He’s just another bloomin’ Cambridge private sector businessman millionaire.”
“Oxford I rather think you’ll find. PPE,” said Cleggson, wrinkling his nose at his distaste for the coarseness of Balls..
“And he’s not a businessman millionaire,” defended Private Osborne,the junior chancellor. “He doesn’t know anything about making money.” And he brandished his Tommy gun at the unpopular warden.
“Be quiet you stupid boy. What do you want Balls. We’re very busy running the country,” asked Camering.
“Running it into the ground. I’ve as much right to be in here as you. Its still a free country, despite my lots best efforts.. And we want to use this hall for a meeting about the upcoming dockers & railwaymen and miners and fireman and doctors and teachers and nurses strikes.”
“That’s Bolshevism, Balls! Strikes! When the country is in peril. You organise and approve of key workers absenting themselves when the Nazty hordes of occupied Europe appear in our skies, dropping red tape and heavy regulations. Taxing our landing strips with their green directives and beaching their think tanks on our shores. Strangling our enterprise with their legal compliance. Its a disgrace. Don’t you know there’s a war of words going on, Balls?”
“Shoot him Captain Cameron,” said Osborne, raising his Tommy gun again. “You’re entitled too! He’s committing treason. And ...he’s a total pratt. Shoot him. No one would miss him..”
“Now look here Napoleon...this country has had enough of you..and you” he pointed his finger at Sgt Cleggson. “The ordinary hard working public sector person is not hanging around waiting for your cuts to chop them down. A more democratic people’s republic is what we want. Where the likes of rich bankers don’t hold all the coins. A bit of fairness for the squeezed middle. I want this hall by 8pm. And I went you predators out! Let the producers in!"
“What is it you produce exactly? Pamphlets? Health and Safety laws? children's dinner menus?”
“Those health and Safety laws are for the good of the hardworkingfamiles of Westmington. They depend on the ARP for protection, super generous handouts and pensions. Just make sure you’re gone by eight. You love this austerity you do. Gives you lot a power kick! I’ll fix you. I’ll make you ‘put that delight out.’ ” He strode out of the hall.
“What a rude man he is,” commented Cleggson at the departing bully Balls. “ No one likes him you know, sir. Most hated MP in Parliament. I just can’t stand that ..that..awfully common man. I know you and I have our differences. But I couldn’t work with him. ”
“Oh I agree,” said Camering softly. “ He’s..just a muttering idiot..”