Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On sticking one's nose into the London mayoral campaign where it's not wanted

On sticking one's nose into the London mayoral campaign where it's not wanted

And so I must report my first failure in the snappily-titled Operation Send Stupid Letters to the Local Press.

It is my sad duty to out The Henley Standard as a bunch of humourless windbags who have probably never quite forgiven me for belming on their publication's front cover all those years ago.

Here, then, is the beautifully-crafted letter they received earlier this week, the only consolation being that I read the letters page in the newsagents, my 50p staying firmly in my pocket.

Dear the Henley Standard

I note with some fascination Henley MP Boris Johnson's bid to become mayor of the great metropolis of London. Should he succeed in his noble quest, I fear that his days as the town's representative at Westminster will be numbered thussly: zero.

I, for one, will miss the great man careering down Greys Road on his mountain bike screaming "Get out of the way proles!", flailing away at passers-by with an antique cutlass in one hand, autographed copies of his latest fiction in the other. Who says the age of the Great British Eccentric is dead?

This fine town of ours has a grand tradition of electing such blond-haired leviathans of political culture (my charming wife still comes over in a sweat at the very thought of the Baron Heseltine), so it is with no little pride that I clutch a packet of Nice'n'Easy Baby Blond colour formula to my chest and announce my manifesto to the hard-working citizens of Henley-on-Thames.

- Stringent, heavily-armed border patrols on all entrances to the town, with orders to brook no mercy during Regatta Week. Henley is proud of its excellent – not to mention exclusive – reputation, and the hoi-polloi should be excluded at all costs. I've got a buddy in the SAS who can pull some strings on this – nudge, nudge, eh?

- The above point illustrated in the form of a 300 foot, floodlit statue of Sir Steven Redgrave doing something extremely unpleasant with an oar to TV's arch-lout Jeremy Clarkson. Towering athwart the Thames like some muscular, gold-medalled colossus, Mega-Redgrave will inspire the lucky few who live here to strive for greater glory, and strike the Fear of God into those who wish to destroy our precious way of life with cheap lager and so-called "wacky baccy", whatever that is

- To prevent Henley from drifting into urban decay with a soulless identikit town centre like so many lesser municipalities, I propose the complete rebuilding - brick-by-reclaimed-brick - of the old Regal Cinema on its original site, to be completed after a swift, twenty-year planning inquiry and leafleting campaign

- A range of the latest US-designed "bunker-busting" nuclear weapons aimed at Reading, just in case they get any funny ideas

Ours is a simple town with simple needs. I make a solemn promise to rule over Henley-on-Thames like a benevolent dictator who will only introduce floggings outside the Town Hall as a last resort.

Your Pal,

Albert O'Balsam, Henley
The battle: It continues. News of a North-of-the-Border victory to follow.

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