Friday, July 21, 2006

Lord Bonkers: Agony uncle

In the 1960s and 1970s the Young Liberals wanted to overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a loose affiliation of workers' co-operatives. Today their modern equivalents ask me to write a problem page in the guise of Lord Bonkers. I am not sure this is progress.

The new issue of Free Radical is out, says Ginger and Dynamite, so I am now reproducing the old monster's advice here. (Lord Bonkers regrets he cannot enter into individual correspondence unless a Postal Order is enclosed.)

Those problems in full...

I went on a blind date the other night, and I was a having an excellent time with lovely young thing, until he asked what I do in my spare time. When he learned I was a Liberal Democrat he began laughing uncontrollably. How should I deal with this?
CM, Yorks

You should tell this young fellow how keen you are on country walks and employ your feminine wiles to persuade him to accompany you upon one. Choose a remote part of the world – the bleaker the better. Dartmoor would answer you purposes excellently, whereas Carshalton would not be anything like so good. Plan a challenging route and insist that you do not start too early in the day. You want to arrange things so that you find yourselves stranded as dusk falls – I believe the word is “benighted”.

Now, here is the clever bit. Before you set off you should inform Lembit Öpik of your plans and arrange to have him fly above Dartmoor (or wherever) that evening – you should have some flares in your pocket to enable him to pinpoint your position at the vital moment. This should ensure that, just as your companion is bemoaning his fate and wishing that someone would rescue him, the Member for Montgomery will appear in his Sopwith Camel like Galahad upon his charger. (It will probably work best if Lembit is wearing a Lib Dem rosette as he sits at the controls.)

I promise you that after this experience your young man will see the Liberal Democrats in an entirely new light.

Whilst I'm delighted to be a Lib Dem, the sight of orange diamonds makes me feel vaguely nauscious (sic.), and refusing to display on at election time results in cold stares from fellow activists. I'm at a loss.
Noel Fuller, Coventry

Yes, our party’s striking colour scheme has long been a point of debate. At the time of the merger between the Liberals and the SDP, as I recall, Miss Fearn argued for the adoption of “something nice in chintz” as an alternative, but failed to secure the necessary support.

I advise you to paint your walls at home in the most lurid yellow you can find – the effect you want to achieve is something like a banana dipped in Colman’s mustard. This will, I appreciate, be hard to live with, but when election time comes around next you will be struck by how restrained and tasteful orange diamonds now seem. You will be happy to display them in every window, and your fellow activists will greet you like a long-lost brother.

I think I'm in love with the leader of the Conservative Party. Help me.
VS, Bearsted, Kent

I recommend a cold bath and a cross-country run.

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