May 10th 2012,
The lowering clouds grimly oppressed the small band of people scurrying along Chapel Street in Leith, making their way to the Scottish International Headquarters of the Conservative and Unionist Party of The United Kingdom (Northern Ireland excepted). The gloomy Tuesday evening, grey and dank as it was, had not affected the festive mood, for this was to be an auspicious day, a day when the party would burst forth once more and recapture the glory days, when the folk of Scotland would realise how wrong and shortsighted they had been, when people through out the industrial wastelands of Aidrie and Shotts, and gnarled vassals in the mining vullages of Fife will strew garlands before the Conservative candidates in forthcoming elections, indeed a glorious day, the day when the new leader of the party in Scotland was to be announced.
In the small ante room to the lock up garage that was now the central office of the party, the ruling council of the party were assembled under the chairmanship of Baron Sandstone, whose report published in 2010 had sent shockwaves through the ranks of Tory blue by recommending the establishment of new rules and OMOV in the choosing of the Leader Assistant Scottish Section (Lass). Flanked by Malcolm Welsher, the flaxen haired beauty who was the keeper of the purse and beloved of the rank and file, and who had once fancied himself as a candidate for leader until that regretful incident at Conference when the vice chair of the YC's had reneged on the initiation ceremony. Malcolm still has dry heaves at the scent of Vosene shampoo. On the other side Minty Donaldson, ex vice chair of the party and recently rehabilitated, glowered as she approved lists of potential Parliamentary candidates. "No", she muttered, "no, no, not one of us, wrong colour, certainly not, maybe, definite not,too hairy, no, no". Arrayed around the table were the remaining forty three members of the executive chosen on the basis that the executive should always outnumber the membership. Those that were awake (roughly half), were keen as mustard to help choose the next leader, though they were somewhat confused at the procedures. Most were slightly aprehensive and anxious at the brooding presence of the Man from Millbank, dispatched by The Overall and Undisputed Supreme Leader to ensure fair play and the selection of the officially sanctioned Candidate. The Gods preserve him if he was to get it wrong and an independent thinker rose to take charge.
In the cordoned off corner by the cloakroom, the four candidates sat silently, lost in rumination. Arabella Tweedie, leader of the eight remaining MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, surreptitiously tightened the straps of her heather lined, long legged passion killers, so beloved of Prince Philip. She masticated absently on a rusty nail, eschewing the cans of Irn Bru. Not for her the diluted juice of imported steel, she chews her girders raw. She wondered "How it had all gone so wrong? Since assuming the position of leader on Dreary O'Letchie's demise after taking too many cabs at public expense, after midnight, to the house of a compliant and bosomy policy advisor and meals on wheels supervisor, she had thought her position impregnable. "Well , let me get this little hiccup out of the way" she promised herself, "then we shall see who is boss. Minty Donaldson will be banished once more to Ayrshire to continue to breed her albino ferrets and all power shall be mine once more".
Across from her, Fergus Maser, her long time deputy and bag carrier, practised jutting his manly jaw. Long thought of as a shoo- in for the leaders role when Arabella finally at the age of 108 decided to lay down her shield, he manfully hid his doubts. He knew that having been rejected for the parliament in 1999 he was lucky to have scored a bye when a sitting member was manhandled from the party, and he took his seat. With wildly swivelling eyeballs, he had once been spoken of for the role of Mad Eyed Moody in a Harry Potter remake. He had little originality, relying on spouting right wing nonsense and the climbing of Munros to attempt to make any impact outwith Forfar.
Willy Trotter, world war one ace, and fabled lover of the blessed Margaret, in the comfort of his own eiderdown, had been around the party for many years. A former MP he believed in flogging, the sale of council tenants, flogging, return of the poll tax, flogging, the compulsory flying of the Union flag on all public buildings for twenty four hours every day, flogging, the abolition of votes for women, flogging, and sanctification of all RAF personnel. His leadership campaign headed by his trusty labrador had concentrated on rural Perthshire and he had roundly trounced the upstarts who questioned his age and ability. "Talent is no qualification for leadership" he was fond of declaiming, "head down and attack out of the sun, thats the way to do it"
Pashmina (call me Shimmy) McMassood, was the dark horse candidate according to Baron Sandstone. The daughter of a wealthy cloth merchant who scotticised his name when he first immigrated from Kenya, she had a Masters degree in Islamic ladies fashion from the newly formed Imperial College of Coatbridge, and a budding career as a political blogger and TV chef. She was a recent recruit to the Scottish Tory ranks, having flirted with the Lib Dems, then switched to the SNP where she was arm candy to the education secretary for a while. She fell victim to factional disputes in the West of Scotland as a Labour candidate for Govan and was one of the few columnists not to have practiced pole dancing for the Scottish Socialists. Her support amongst small shopkeepers in Glasgow, through championing of liberalising the sale of alchohol and tobacco laws for the under twelves had led her to the final four, on the threshold of seizing power and prestige as the newly elected Great Leader.
The stooped figure of Alicia, the 94 year old Secretary to the Scottish Executive Council, beckoned the candidates forward. "As you know" she said "Each of you can speak for three minutes and then one of you will be anointed. Please follow me" After minutes of fumbling she ushered them before the Grand Executive committee where the shrivelled figure of Baron Sandstone, rose unsteadily to greet them.
"Good evening and welcome" he began "As you know we are here, tonight, to choose the next great Leader of our Glorious Party (North Britain Cadre). Although we widely publicised that one member one vote would determine the election of leader, you all realise it is far to important to be subject to that sort of nonsensical democracy. So the Scottish Grand Executive Council will have the final say. And can I also remind you that since the chairmanship of the Party is in the gift of the Leader, naturally those of you who have indicated that they wish me to remain, will of course, get my recommendation. As you see, Council, we have two candidates who are white, of the male persuasion and patriotic. They are both Christians, of the Church of Scotland, and either of them would be eminently suitable. We also have two others, Miss Mc Massood, who graciously consented to wearing her national dress for us tonight, and hasn't she got lovely eyes, and of course our very own winsome, charming and utterly self deprecating Arabella Tweedie, who has rushed here from Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals to be re-annointed tonight. So you each have three minutes and we would ask you all to bare your right knee, and sing a rousing chorus of Jerusalem before we commence"
TO BE CONTINUED..............