Friday, September 19, 2008

"Ming's Memoirs" from The Liberal Revue

I performed this sketch in the Liberal Revue on Monday night at Bournemouth. I wrote it with Mark Smulian.


And now on Radio Liberal Revue, ‘A Book at Bedtime’. We present a reading from the unpublished chapters of Ming Campbell’s memoirs.


1st March 2006. I am elected leader of the Liberal Democrats. Extraordinary. How did that happen?

Elspeth says I will have to go to something called ‘a Spring Conference’. I wonder what goes on there? I never bothered with them before.

I fear it will be ghastly.

2nd March 2006. To Harrogate for this ‘Spring Conference’. It is ghastly.

3rd March 2006. A press report says I watched ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in my hotel room while eating fish and chips. Absurd.

Firstly, Elspeth would never allow it.

Secondly, I have searched all the channels and Victor Sylvester does not have a show on any of them.

1st September 2006. Chris Rennard comes on the telephone – what a useful invention that is, by the way. I am sure it is here to stay – Chris Rennard tells me there is a party conference in two weeks’ time.

Why? They had one only six months ago. Can’t these people leave me alone?

I suppose I will have to appear on the wireless. And submit to fatuous questions like "why did I want to be party leader?"

I didn’t. It was all Elspeth’s idea.

15th September 2006. Arrive at conference. Surprised there are so many people there. And cinematographers from the television.

Why? How could any sane person be interested in these proceedings?

Elspeth says there are five days of it. Dear God.

Start to draft my speech. Find after an hour that I have a sheet of paper covered in the words, "Let me out".

16th September 2006. I make a tour of the stalls area. Dreadful experience.

Accosted by a lunatic dressed in a bird of liberty codpiece. He wants me to sign it!

One stall is raffling tea on the terrace with me. Who let them do that?

I shall probably get some ghastly couple who wear party sweatshirts smeared with printers’ ink and want to show me photographs of their holiday in Dunstable.

16th September 2006 – later. Tea. With a ghastly couple who wear party sweatshirts smeared with printers’ ink. They show me photographs of their holiday. In Dunstable.

2nd January 2007. Some balls-aching business has arisen over Trident. Blair wants to replace it, so do the Tories and I decide we need a distinctive policy. Announce we should replace half of it.

10th March 2007. All manner of tedious people are threatening to vote against my brilliant compromise on Trident.

Others want to know which half we are going to replace.

Chris Rennard tells me I will have to speak from the floor. Really! I thought the only good thing about being leader was that I would never have to do that again. My oratory is so persuasive that I win by a whole 40 votes.

31st July 2007. Rather good results in Sedgefield and Southall. But then I hear Chris Huhne’s friends – a select group – have been going round telling journalists I’m so decrepit I can hardly get off my commode in the mornings.

Infernal cheek of the man. He’s never got over losing to me.

Elspeth says I should ask him to conduct a review of our policy on abandoned mine shafts.

15th September 2007. Another conference! I use the same speech as last year. No one notices.

4th October 2007. A delegation of MPs tells me the party will collapse if I stay as leader. Apparently I sound old fashioned and am hopeless on television.

Point out that Lloyd George was no great shakes on television. And why do I need to be on Facebook? Asquith wasn’t. Mr Gladstone never made films for YouTube. Did him no harm.

Make decent show of reluctance, and then resign while Elspeth is out of the room.

2nd January 2008. I am relaxing in my Edinburgh mansion. Bliss.

Chris Rennard rings to tell me it is Spring Conference in two months’ time. I tell him I won’t be there.

In fact, I’d sooner bugger a capercaillie.


Anonymous said...

Haha. What did Ming think of it?

Incidentally, how does one get involved with Liberal Revue?

Jennie Rigg said...

Must get around to posting my review of the revue...