Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Lord Bonkers' Diary from the February 2021 Liberator

Liberator 405 - the February 2021 issue - has been posted on the magazine's website.

So it's time to enjoy Lord Bonkers' latest diary.

Ignorance indignantly pointed out that he had come second in Committee Room Theory and Practice only last term

You will by now have read of my detention by the police of Atherton, CA, on Christmas morning: I will admit that if the Attorney General of California had not turned out to an old golfing chum of the Governor of New Rutland then things might have got distinctly hairy for your humble diarist. So let me take a little time to explain what led to this unfortunate incident.

Some of my oldest friends and I have for some time been concerned for what, at the risk of sounding high falutin’, one might term Nick Clegg’s immortal soul. From having served the noble cause of Liberalism he has turned to the dark side and now serves Mammon. I do not have the Facebook, but I am told it is where the planet’s bad hats and ne’er-do-wells congregate to plot their mischief – and the aforementioned Clegg makes a good screw from promoting it.

After reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (surely he is our greatest novelist?) I hit upon the idea of staging an intervention. I would see to it that the ghosts of Liberalism Past, Liberalism Present and Liberalism Future appeared to Clegg on the night of Christmas Eve, leaving him feeling pretty small and open to being won back by the forces of light. I rather hoped, for instance, that he might volunteer to take on one of the more challenging Focus rounds in the Bonkers Hall ward.

So it was that my party took the red-eye from Rutland International Airport to San Francisco while the rest of the nation was watching Christmas movies on their electric televisions. With me were Meadowcroft and two Well-Behaved Orphans, along with some gamekeepers to help with scenery changes and a few of the Elves of Rockingham Forest to provide ghostly music. “We call them ‘Aeolian cadences’” one of them replied sniffily when I mentioned this. 

In retrospect, it was a mistake to allow Meadowcroft to dress up as the ghost of Liberalism Past: I should have stuck with my original plan of playing the part myself and quoting extensively from the speeches of William Ewart Gladstone. (I should have steered clear of the works of T.H. Green as they would only have sent Clegg back to sleep.) For as soon as Meadowcroft set eyes on Clegg, far from presenting tableaux of our party’s history, he shouted “You be the young varmint who incinemerated my little darlin’s” and went at him with an orchard doughty that he had somehow smuggled through customs. He was referring to an unfortunate incident in which a teenaged Clegg set fire to the glasshouse at the Hall which housed Meadowcroft’s cherished collection of cacti – the old boy had gathered them in the arid south of Rutland on his days off. Well, he had Clegg double digging for a year to pay for the damage, but I suspect a youth from the wrong side of the GNR&LNWR Joint would have been off to the Jack Straw Memorial Reform School before his trainers touched the ground.

It may have been at that point that Miriam called the feds, but our next scene was not a success either. I had intended to bring home to Clegg the importance of spending on education and social welfare by having Well-Behaved Orphans labelled ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Want’ appear before him. When it came to it, however, Ignorance indignantly pointed out that he had come second in Committee Room Theory and Practice only last term and was still doing so when the rozzers called a halt to proceedings. So it was off to the hoosegow for all of us.


Little has changed in my absence: the village is still under lockdown, with the Bonkers’ Arms presenting a particularly sad picture. How I miss its windows glowing with light and the sound of merry chatter! If it weren’t for the secret passage from the Hall that emerges in the pub’s cellar, where I occasionally enjoy a Rutland egg – and you can’t get a more substantial meal than that – and a pint of Smithson & Greaves Norther Bitter, I would feel far more despondent. I am bearing the closure of St Asquith’s, however, with fortitude.


A quiet day in my Library, looking over my precious collection of Classical Latin manuscripts. You will be familiar with the story about Caligula making his horse a senator, but you will never have seen one of the Focus leaflets the horse put out. They reveal that he was assiduous at carrying out casework, while his slogan “It’s a One-Horse Race” show a sharp mind for electoral tactics. So those modern historians who suggest that by bestowing a high public office on his horse, Caligula was showing his underlings that their work was so meaningless an animal could do it, have got it entirely wrong. Incidentally, one of my own horses was once elected to Market Harborough Rural District Council after agreeing to stand as a paper candidate. While I will admit to putting out a leaflet in his name, I suspect his election had more to do with the racing tips he supplied to anyone who stopped by his field for a chat.


This morning, still recovering from my West Coast adventures, I walked by the shore of Rutland Water and was rewarded with one of nature’s most remarkable phenomena. All at once the surface of the lake was boiling with fish. They danced upon their tales, clapped one another on the back and sang in joyful voices. For Rutland fish are happy fish, perhaps most of all because no foreign trawler has ever found its way here from the North Sea. It is a difficult passage and not one to be attempted without first engaging the services of an experienced pilot. I imagine the prospect of being caught and eaten is no more attractive than that of being imprisoned while wearing an orange jump suit, so I joined the fishy chorus to celebrate my deliverance.

Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South West 1906-10.

No comments: