2008: A Whig Odyssey

The blue flicker of the television set reflected in the glasses of two bespectacled, chocolate-eating, overweight  teenage girls in a flat in a London council block.

That Jemima and Patricia were watching television was nothing unusual. They were very fond of watching programmes on the latest hits or on football or on hockey. What would have surprised everyone, including them, a year earlier is the thought that the two girls would be eating their chocolates and drinking their Cola whilst watching the General Election. The girls had never taken an interest in politics before but then neither had most of the country. After all like Patricia and Jemima most of the country couldn't vote. This election started to arouse interest, however, when it became apparent from market research carried out that the voters were likely to defy convention and turn the country on its head. There had been a Tory government in the UK almost without a break since 1910. Now it was virtually certain that people were about to have their first taste of the Whigs. It meant that, for the first time in the Queen's reign, she'd be having to work with a party she didn't agree with. Her son and heir, Prince Charles, however, was grinning from ear to ear. He already had plans to work with the new government on alternative therapies, tax breaks for organic gardeners and heavy penalties for inconsiderate architecture.

"D'you want some pop corn," asked Jemima.

"Nah, I'm fine," laughed Patricia, who spent a lot of her time laughing nervously about nothing.

"It's just coming up to three a.m. - here's a roundup of the main stories. Lord Barnet is admitting defeat after a succession of seats are declared..." said the newscaster as the TV moved to a presiding officer announcing a Whig victory in Hull to cheers from the local voters.

"D'you know any voters?" asked Jemima.

"I think Mr. Karnation is, isn't he?" giggled Patricia.

"No, he ain't - you don't get to vote just 'cause you're a Maths teacher!"

Patricia went bright red and giggled again. Maybe she'd got it wrong and had made a fool of herself.

"This has been a disastrous night for the Tory Party," said Lord Barnet on their screen. It was the ninth time that clip had been shown.

"We have another declaration coming up," said the newscaster excitedly. It was Enfield. That one was very easy as there were only ten voters there.

"''Ay, they're all drunk!" said Jemima to her appreciatively-amused audience. Sure enough the voters staggered onto the stage looking the worst for wear. Everyone was laughing. One tripped and swore. At this time of night it didn't get beeped out. Another was visibly sweating like anything and doing bad impressions of being an American businessman.

"Oh, what's 'e like!" complained Jemima.

The presiding officer announced 100% for the Tory Party, their first victory of the night.

"So Enfield still safely in Tory hands, a seat which hasn't been Whig since 1867," announced the newscaster. "Let's speak to the victorious candidate. Mr. Portillo, you must be very pleased."

The candidate fiddled with his earpiece.

"I'm sorry, John, I couldn't quite hear that."

"Hello, Mr. Portillo? Can you hear me? I said you must be very pleased."

"Well," said Mr. Portillo, suppressing a smile and looking as statesmanlike as ever, "it's good news for us here but it's been a disastrous night for the Tory Party."

"To what do you attribute your own success?"

While Mr. Portillo tried to answer one of the voters kept forcing a teddy bear in his face and laughing hysterically while another farted loudly on the floor. The presiding officer could be seen ushering the voters off the stage as Mr. Portillo pretended he hadn't noticed his voters' behaviour.

The newscaster couldn't help cheekily observing, "They're a credit to Her Majesty, aren't they?"

Mr. Portillo froze. Popcorn fell out of Jemima's mouth. Even Patricia had stopped laughing. The newscaster's own face paled when he realised what he had done and gave an instant apology. The TV screen went grey.

"I can't believe ' e just said that," said Jemima, appalled. "What d'you reckon will 'appen to 'im?"

Patricia tried to lighten the mood. "Well, maybe Prince Charles will find it funny." She did her least convincing laugh of the evening.

"'E won't. OMG - d'you think 'e'll go to the Tower?"

They both stared in silence at the darkened screen and were as silent as it was.

The End

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