The Prime Minister Theresa May recently announced a festival of British culture, sport and innovation to take place in 2022, inspired by the Great Exhibition of 1851. S&C can now exclusively reveal an anonymously leaked transcript of a private meeting between senior Conservative ministers. Portsmouth writer and satirist Richard Salsbury reports.
THERESA MAY: The festival should be impressive and patriotric. There should be fun and games for all the family. You know – the sort of thing that impresses the commoners. So, we need some ideas about what to include. Boris? Jacob?
BORIS JOHNSON: Marvellous! Fun and games – I’m all up for that.
JACOB REES-MOGG: We could have a chimney sweeping competition.
BORIS: Phwoar! Not half! I know this young filly who desperately needs her chimney swept.
REES-MOGG: I didn’t mean it as a euphemism, Boris.
BORIS: Oh … right. Not interested, then. How about we kill two birds with one stone and have a gigantic country-wide fruit picking contest?
THERESA: I think they might see through that, Boris.
REES-MOGG: We could play that game I used to so enjoy with Nanny. What was it called? Ah, yes – pin the blame on the foreigner.
THERESA: [Sighs] All right, gentlemen. As far as the entertainment goes, I think we’ll stick to my original idea.
BORIS: Which is?
THERESA: A guaranteed crowdpleaser. A chance for the great British public to let their hair down. I call it the Wheatfield Olympics. Now, how about something that showcases British innovation?
REES-MOGG: Hmm … A demonstration of a steam engine, perhaps?
BORIS: Oh, Moggers. Do try to drag yourself into the 21st century.
REES-MOGG: Good grief. Is it that late already?
THERESA: So, what have you got Boris? Something to do with medicine, technology, engineering?
BORIS: Yes. Well … err, yes. Umm … quite.
THERESA: Anything at all?
BORIS: Well, we ahh … we do things in a very … British way, don’t we? That’s innovative. No-one else in the world does things quite as Britishly as we do.
REES-MOGG: So, nothing then.
BORIS: Dickens! We could have readings of Dickens.
REES-MOGG: Dickens? A terrible idea. This is the man who campaigned for better working conditions for the under sevens. He was quite clearly a communist.
BORIS: Ha! Too recent for you, is he, Moggers?
REES-MOGG: Anything later than Chaucer is modern poppycock. I won’t stand for it.
BORIS: It’s not bloody well fair, PM! He’s always shooting down my ideas.
REES-MOGG: Perhaps that’s because half of your ideas involve the relocation of your genitals into women other than your wife.
BORIS: How dare you! The whereabouts of my willy is nobody’s concern but my own.
REES-MOGG: I think the press might disagree.
BORIS: I ought to take you outside and – and – and box your ears!
REES-MOGG: A duel, is it, Boris? Very well. Butler, fetch my flintlocks.
THERESA: [Quietly] Will nobody in this party ever agree on ANYTHING?
Featured image of the 1851 Great Exhibition, reproduced under Creative Commons [CC BY 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons.