The Party That’s Never Won: The Party Conference


Episode 3:

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. The clock at the front of hall beat out a slow steady tattoo. This was the last day of the United Liberation Party (ULP) conference and the place was still rammed to bursting point.

For the moment, throngs of the converted were taking a moment of well-earned rest from all that cheering. The naysayers’ tongues were momentarily silenced. And even the fingers of the press were briefly still. The event had been quite a coup.  In fact, everyone – those who loved the party and those who loathed it – had remained equally on tenterhooks as each fresh nugget of common sense bounced round the room.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Things were now moving into wrap up phase and it was 60-seconds before Harry Ra’Basche was due to take the stage for his final address. This would mark the completion of two days in which the faithful – and anyone who read a newspaper, watched TV or listened to the radio – had discovered all of the previously secret ULP policies.

The people of Britain had now learned that the NHS wasn’t working. They had found out that the common man had been ripped off yet again. And they had been shown once and for all that Labour and the Tories were both absolutely useless. There had been a breathtakingly tense, Tory defection, a lot of fine-smiling promises and plenty of very friendly pints. Now the whole thing was ramping up to a glorious crescendo.

As the second hand moved slowly round the dial towards the hour mark, the journalists flanking the aisle seats sat up a notch straighter and arranged their laptops like napkins on their knees. In the front two rows the hum of the paid-party-men, token woman and cohorts of converts began to exhale in unison. On the stage, the floor seemed to tense in readiness for this great leader of the people.

Unable to stand the tick-tocking any longer, a slow stamping began at the back and made its way up through the length of the room, to the front. This meant that when Harry Ra’Basche did eventually swagger onto the stage in a dashing mauve shirt and puce tie, the place literally exploded. There was cheering, air punching and a steady rain of party poppers.

It is true Ra’Basche had never been more shiny and golden than this. Now this man-god, star of golf-gambling adverts held out his hand to quell the crowds and led with this own TV slogan: “I love Europe!”

The catcalls were deafening, but like a Roman emperor he held out his hand again and exhaled:

“But I don’t want us to be part of Europe.”

The whole room shook, and behind the stage Chris, senior policy advisor for the ULP turned to the small blonde PR manager Sam, and said in awe: “It is most impressive the way he does that.”

“Yes,” she said, a grin almost splitting her face in two. “We’ve really made something happen here. Still, I’m not 100% sure about this…” the smile momentarily vanished as she glanced down at her costume.

Out front, Ra’Basche was banging the lectern: “I will rejuvenate the NHS and save the working man from poverty and a slow horrible death. For too long now, successive British Governments have had the needless blood of its people on their hands… when in reality, there’s only one group of people who needs to die.” At this Ra’Basche raised his eyes theatrically towards the ceiling.

High above the stage a pair of stacked burgundy cowboy boots peeked down through the black beams, circled by a giant spotlight. Lifting his arms aloft Ra’Basche began to clap his hands rhythmically. After a split second the audience joined him and together they beat a march as a pair of blue jeans, a checked shirt and a shock of very ginger hair gradually descended via a rope.

“You all know my right-hand man… Daniel Morrison!” yelled Ra’Basche to the room as the metal-soled boots loudly struck the stage.

The crowd erupted once more and Morrison fixed his ice-cold blue eyes on the room. “As Harry says,” he drawled in pure Texan, “there is only one group that needs die.” With this he took the rope and tied it onto a large, somewhat macabre, hangman’s noose: “The criminals!”

Morrison flung the noose away. The lights dimmed. The rope slid upwards and hung illuminated over the centre of the stage. “The ULP will bring back hanging,” roared Ra’Basche. “We will bring back good, old-fashioned British justice.”

The rope shot up to the ceiling. The lights went back up with dazzling brightness and Ra’Basche wielded the microphone like a rock star. “No more rubbish healthcare. No more overcrowded jails. And no more Europe.  I love the Germans. But I only want to give them our money for one thing…”

At this Sam appeared from the wings dressed in Oktoberfest Bavarian costume complete with plunging white peasant top, a short green aproned skirt and long white socks. In her hands she carried a vast tray of steins. “This is Sam, our PR manager… and she has brought beer – the people’s drink.”

A couple of catcalls from the audience were rapidly hushed-down as Ra’Basche took a stein, drank deeply, then handed one to Morrison, who did the same. “The ULP has already been on a very long journey,” bellowed Ra’Basche holding his glass aloft. “Join us for the next leg. The beers are on us…”

The zealots in the front row were out of their seats like a shot, scrambling up onto the dais, grabbing a stein and enthusiastically bumping glasses with Ra’Basche and Morrison. Not wishing to miss out on free beer action, the journalists slapped down their laptops pretty sharpish and followed suit. As people rushed up onto the stage, the entire back wall revolved round, to reveal a fine fully stocked bar, complete with a cast of Eurotrash serving wenches. And after that, it was pretty much a stampede.

Everyone was up there. Commentators on the left were enthusiastically slurping with ex-BNP members. Lighting technicians were trading yarns with photographers. Bin men were backslapping caterers. And a man with a walrus moustache was holding a stein in each hand and messily trying to imbibe both simultaneously.

Suddenly Harry Ra’Basche ran to the front of the stage, grabbed the microphone and yodelled a quick reminder, in case anyone had forgotten:

“It’s my party. And I’m a marvellous guy!”



Song: Marvellous Guy

All I wanted was an honest platform for the ULP
Now I’m guffawing with glee, by how far we’ve come
All I’m hoping is that you’ll see reason, and cast your vote my way
It’s edging closer to May… and I’ve never won
I’m a marvellous guy
I’ll change all that’s gone before
Doin’ so much more than kicking Europe
I’m a marvellous guy
I’ll lead Blighty, are you in?
Our future’s bright, help me fight and win
I don’t want to waste a waking moment, it is time to act
This fine horse sense is our pact, ‘tween me and you
In your time you’ve heard these words before, but now you’ll realise
Politicians have told you lies, from me they’re true

I’m a marvellous guy
I’ll change all that’s gone before
Doin’ so much more than kicking Europe
I’m a marvellous guy
I’ll lead Blighty, are you in?
Our future’s bright, help me fight and win
So hold on tight, I’ll lead this fight and win
I’m a marvellous guy

First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts…

Speak Your Mind