Concerned about the Major
Hot on the heels of yesterday's outburst, the Major was round again this am. And just like yesterday, he was carrying a newspaper.
But today he was very different. No more frothing and wild rolling eyes: today, he was smiling in that stained clarety way of his. But I also recognised a steely glint in his eye - the self-same glint I'd seen when he expedited our neighbourhood heron for crimes against goldfish. Here was a man set for action this day.
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party," he announced. "Now. Today. No time to lose."
Marching passed me, he opened the Telegraph on the kitchen table. "Have you seen this?" He stabbed at an article written by David Cameron. "David wants me to stand as a Conservative MP."
"David?" I've heard the Major refer to young Cameron by many names, but never before David. I craned over to read. "Are you sure?"
"Oh yes - quite sure. He says... ahh... yes, here... 'it's not enough to just change the processes in Parliament, and when it comes to the people who actually become members of that Parliament this is also an opportunity to widen the net, increase the talent pool and attract people who have never previously thought of serving. How do we do that? We need to get the public more involved in decisions that political parties have, until now, had a monopoly on... That is why I'm going to reopen the candidates list and invite new people to come forward."
The Major was positively beaming. "New people... if that's not a direct summons to me, I don't know what is."
"Well, now, look Major... you may be right of course, but just think for a moment. Think. The very first thing they're going to ask is how old are you?"
"How old? I'm 62... 62 years young, and loaded with experience of life. Real Life... including all those years I spent fighting for Queen and Country against the Dervishes."
"So that's three years off being an OAP. Sex?"
"Well, perhaps not right now, sailor - B'Boommm!"
"So not only are you the wrong sex, but you treat gender balance issues as a subject for Bernard Manning style jokes. Ethnicity?"
"British! British and still proud of it."
"White British... not a plus, Major. Not a plus."
"Look, never mind all that. You seem to be forgetting something - I've been a member of the Conservative Association for my entire life! I even enter the raffle. You can't buy that kind of loyalty. Of course they'll put me on the list - they'll welcome me with open arms."
But by now I'd scanned Cam's article. "I think you should re-read this, Major. Lifelong Tories are the very last people Cameron wants to apply. What he actually says is 'They don't necessarily need to have been involved in the Conservative Party in the past – more important than that is a belief in public service, and a desire to clean up our political system.' I'm sure you don't need me to translate."
The Major clenched his jaw, the tell-tale vein on the side of forehead giving an involuntary twitch. "The trouble with you," he growled, "the trouble with you is that you're too damned cynical. But even if you're right, do you really think that will stop us?
Some day - and that day is not far off - I believe this nation will rise again. I believe we brothers and sisters will take arms against a sea of corruption. And I believe... uhh... something else to complete the rule of three."
It may be a work in progress, but frankly, we're concerned.
"If you are interested in becoming a Conservative candidate and believe you would make a good Member of Parliament, please write to Gareth Fox at Conservative Campaign Headquarters (30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP) setting out why you would like to be a candidate, and enclose a copy of your CV. Please set out any work you have done in your local community, and achievements in your work or your personal life which you think would make you an effective MP."