With due caution – and a small amount of terror – Star & Crescent presents a new regular column by Sir Eugene Nicks QC, KBE, Policy Advisor to the All-Portsea Conservative, Regressive and Imperial Association (established 1799). This week Sir Eugene offers moral guidance to the distressed, traumatised and, as he put it himself in a recent parliamentary select committee hearing, ‘those weak, degenerate undesirables who voted anywhere left of Drummond in the last election.’ He goes on to recount his earlier days as a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet during which he earned a reputation for honesty, integrity and empathy. He also became adept at smearing – and sometimes brutally maiming – anyone who ever questioned his honesty, integrity or empathy.
As a self-outed Tory cobweb, it is my duty under God, His Majesty King George and that wild young pop ‘n’ roller Sir Peter Tapsell to bally well tell it how it is politically speaking, and make no mistake. Some daft myths have sprung up about where this Island Kingdom is heading and it’s high time an upright, plain-speaking bod like me splits them broad open as surely as our honoured Chap-in-Charge used his old chap to give some obsolete hog a jaunty little death grin. Allegedly. (In fact, this is a contemptible libel against Our Dave and I do not believe it ever happened – in my day we did it to penguins so it was more likely one of those).
As all Star & Crescent readers will concur, this used to be one heck of a country – and two hecks of a city. We had fair play, common sense, moustache nets and the rule of law. An Englishman had the liberty to stroll around in the comfort of his own house, toilet or empire, doing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted and to whoever happened to be in the way. And whoever that was and whatever it was that happened to them, they certainly didn’t whine about it afterwards.
I want to add something to the sturdy advice my dear old pal Cliff Smythe – the thirteenth greatest journalist ever to have crawled out of Copnor – offered the other day: if you’ve got a problem the last thing you should do is talk about it. No sir. That’s barmier than a Bognor bullet train – or indeed any train arriving in Bognor on time and for a reasonable fare that ordinary people can afford. We don’t want ordinary people mucking things up, do we? It might even be barmier than the recent news that our esteemed Civic-Colonial Governess – who, if you recall, recently appointed me to quell nationalist uprisings in Somerstown – has turned her hand to feminist poetry.
I digress. So what to do with this here predicament of the spirit or soul? Bury it, repress it, ignore it, re-name it Gertrude if you must. Anything but admit its existence! This approach has never done me any harm, chums, but I must confess that it’s probably harmed a lot of other people around me.
Now I’m no stranger to life’s googlies, fate’s pistol-whips or fortune’s Chinese burns. My secret is that I’ve always always always kept calm, carried on and tried not to dribble sherry over my own tie. Let me lob some memoirs your way and you’ll see what I mean.
I was born and raised, as well as stroked, fondled and in many other ways humiliated, in this fine city. One is Pompey until such time as one expires, as the association football-wallahs say. While I may now be a gold-spooner, I was not born with one being vigorously thrust into my maw (that came later, at boarding school). Nay, I was born into the rascal multitude, the great undressed, the violent majority, amongst the pigeon-chasers and the eunuch-makers, the dross-houses and the crackling dens… of Craneswater Park. I even slummed it in the slime of Portsmouth Grammar School before my parents Adolf and Jocasta decided to send me to a proper place with proper fees out in the marshes that the police don’t bother going to anymore because it’s just too much paperwork.
I went on to extinguish myself at both Universities simultaneously, did a lot of clay elephant poaching at the weekends and fell out the other end with a congratulatory triple fourth in Physiognomy, Bottom Licks and Home Economics.
After the obligatory few years of shadowy business dealings while serving as a QC, I found myself skateboarding through the corridors of power during the Glorious Comeback of Madam T* (1983-7). I drunkenly lay my head against her cabinet until she made me a junior minister in it, and everything went utterly ace ‘n’ wizardly from thereon in. But it didn’t because that’s a lie. I am – or rather was – a politician, after all.
Do you remember the Al-Kap’on Arms Fair of ’84 during which a senior member of the Bahraini Royal Family tried to swap himself for every armoured car in Britain? Nope, nor do I. Or how about the collapse of Griédé-Farquar Bank due to cosmic energy fraud back in ’86? Again, that’s veered right off my memory lane and probably crashed into a baby in a pram or something awful like that. Be that as it may, I’m told that those scandals definitely did happen and that I was strongly implicated in both of them.
What I do recall is the really fun stuff that finally did my career up like a Yorkshire kipper. Like that mucky business in ’87 with the Pretty Nurse Ravishment Club of Mayfair where we all dressed up as Sepoys of the Punjab Frontier Force circa 1858 and exhausted all the custard, Pritt Stick, chimpanzee food and chloroform on sale in Fortnam & Mason’s that evening. Let me be clear: the nurses were friendly, willing, alive (at the time, anyway) and of age. Sadly, the Director of Public Prosecutions didn’t quite see it that way.
I’m relieved that I got all that tomfoolery out in the open then, rather than it creep up and haunt me in the Danczuk now. Sadly, this can’t be said of some top-hole chums and colleagues from that glittering generation. Now —–, —– and —– are under suspicion of —–, —– and —– with vulnerable —– at —– Home for —- and the —— Guest House, with some of the —- dating back to the early 19–s.** But that’s all codswallop. I’m certain they didn’t do it because (a) they are gentlemen, (b) they told me they didn’t do it and (c) I don’t really need a (c) because (a) and (b) are bally well good enough.
I resigned from the House to spend more time with my family or, more accurately, with the various families I had unwittingly created. Fortunately, I’d made enough bodily contact with cox’ons of industry to fix myself up guinea-wise and serve bored witless on the boards of Sino-British Opium, HHIS (Honestly Harmless Iraqi Superguns) plc and Panopticom, which, after the big dotcum bubble, changed overnight from a desktop publishing concern in Swindon into the worldwide winking man’s cyber-grimoire of very grim things indeed. I went on to write bestselling tracts on how to get moolah’d in thirty-two nanoseconds with my associate Midas G Reedhead. That’s my associate, not my pseudonym or one of my multiple personalities, understood?
Thusward, through my own hard graft and ingenuity – but mostly through the hard graft and ingenuity of my 82,000 employees, a reasonable percentage of whom come from orphanages in Laos – I slid back up the greasy knoll, sniped the Jack-pot on the way and, well, the rest is mystery – especially my tax arrangements. Which are all legal. Promise.
*May her name be praised.
**The editors of Star & Crescent were strongly advised by their legal team to remove this information.
Next time Sir Eugene analyses the very real danger of Commercial Road being occupied by the Trabants and T-34 tanks of Comrade Corbynov’s Barmy Red Army.
Photography by Moshe Tasky.