24th October, 2017
It had been a hard day, a difficult night, and Mrs Nay had been working like a dog, so when Mr Nay entered her study with a cup of tea and plate of biscuits, which he put on the desk, she was pleased for the respite. “Darling, you’ll make your ear sore if you keep scratching it like that,” said Godfrey, standing behind his tired wife, lovingly massaging her tense shoulders. Treesa put her foot back down, took her glasses off and rubbed her aching eyes: “It’s this bloody sell-off of the Cabinet Office. The other lot just aren’t keen; to make it appeal to the wider public, I have to find sneaky ways to gloss over the sordid details. It’s taking all my energy!”
The Cabinet was the last UK Government Office on Whitehall to be privatised. The least controversial sale was that of the Horse Guards to American defence contractors Heed LockMartin. After all, the general public liked their incredibly realistic AI Horsebots, not least because they were less prone to crapping on the pavement, which meant far fewer dry cleaning bills for unsuspecting passersby. That’s not to say that there were no dissenting voices. However, when one of the former Guard’s horses romped home as 8/1 favourite in the nations favourite death chase, most of the public forgot the scandal of the rest of her stablemates having been sold off to France, where they appeared in the best Parisian restaurants, a la (horse) carte.
The assumption was that Heed LockMartin would be the successful bidder for the Ministry of Defence, too. Especially since their proposal to replace the nation’s manned air force with drones had won wide-scale public support, given the success of the latest Horsebots parade. Imagine the controversy when, instead, the Iranian Government’s defence arm, Hees Bollar, won the contract. Indeed, reading news of the purchase in the UK Government’s publicity arm, the Daily Sale, Jack was incredulous: “Haven’t we been at war with most of the Middle East for the last few hundred years?” he asked his wife, slamming the paper onto the kitchen table. “That’s what I thought, too” Sally replied, “but Treesa explained her rational during a speech to the Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce.” She passed the paper back to Jack, pointing at the paper’s headline: “I’ll Make a Lotta Your Money”. According to the story accompanying the headline, by making Iran responsible for the weapons systems, it was unlikely that Iran would launch the UK’s vast array of nuclear missiles at Iran. The same went for conventional weapons of mass destruction. Thus, Mrs Nay was confident that the deal made fantastic economic sense because it meant the UK was bound to use far fewer munitions. “See, it’s all perfectly logical!” announced a satisfied Sally, who believed anything printed in the Daily Sale, especially when it made deferential reports of Mrs Nay’s latest attempt to hoodwink the British public.
Fortunately for Mrs Nay, she had managed to bribe the Despotic Unionist Party. They would do anything for money because they belonged to the Cult of 1694 and worshipped at the altar of Threadneedle Street, so even though the Iranian deal was controversial, with the DUPed’s support, it wasn’t too difficult to get through Parliament. However, Sale of the Cabinet Office and Houses of Parliament was a different matter entirely. Viewed as the last Bastions of British Democracy, the public were less keen to see it all sold off to some global conglomerate. Worse for Mrs Nay, the Opposition were apoplectic. “Order! Order!” demanded the Speaker of the House, Johan Burkus, who was resplendent in a ceremonial robe emblazoned with the logo of a large Chinese Hedge Fund, who sponsored the debating chamber in return for favourable deals (which amounted to licenses to print money at the British public’s expense). After the uproar had quietened, Burkus handed the advantage back to Mrs Nay: “Prime Minister!” he crowed, triumphantly, thus inviting Mrs Nay to speak. “Thank you, Mr Speaker,” she replied, gratefully. “Mr Speaker, the Opposition’s opposition to the sale of the Cabinet betrays the Marxist ideology that underlies all of their actions!” Mention of the dreaded ‘M…’ word was designed to cause an uproar on the benches behind Mrs Nay. Members of her Front Bench took their cue by holding their noses (they did that whenever they caught a whiff of Socialism entering Parliament). Even though Marx happened to be one of the most prominent economic thinkers of our time (and therefore, he should have been compulsory reading for every politician), not one of Mrs Nay’s Parliamentarians had ever read the Communist Manifesto. Mostly, that was because there wasn’t room on bookshelves that were filled instead with copious volumes of Ayn Rand. “Mr Speaker,” Mrs Nay continued, “by opening this very chamber to the free market, we are celebrating years of progress made by converting once stuffy old public services, such as energy, social care, council housing, water, the railways, the NHS and the Prison Service, into productive private initiatives.” Cheers rang out from the benches behind Mrs Nay. She continued, “Or does the Opposition deny the gains made? Does the Opposition deny that the unemployment rate is as low as it has ever been? Does the Opposition deny the steady growth rate over the course of this Parliament? To put it plainly, does the Opposition wish to condemn the same British public it pretends to champion, to years of stagnation?” Mrs Nay sat down, looking smug. Jeers and catcalls greeted Mr Bincor, the Leader of the Opposition, when he stood to reply. But after Burkus begrudgingly quietened the howling mob on the benches behind Mrs Nay, the Leader of the Opposition was shouted down for “Socialist nannying!” when he replied that, “never has there been greater levels of inequality, endemic low pay, personal debt, homelessness, longer treatment waiting times or more prison suicides than there is now!”
And so it was that the Cabinet Office and the Houses of Parliament were sold off to Done4U. They didn’t get everything their own way, however. The contract to run the Cabinet had to be put out to tender every eight years, and every four years, board members were to go on sale, whereby the Prime Minister would be the member who made the highest net profit. Gross profit was considered, of course, but because it didn’t allow for skilful manipulation of the figures through tax efficiencies via offshore hedge funds - an ability greatly admired by Mrs Nay’s economic advisors - it was deemed too restrictive.
Having sold the British public down the river Thames, Mrs Nay entered the offices of Done4U fully expecting the reward of membership of the board, whereby she would be put up for sale and made the first-ever privatised Prime Minister. “Hello Mrs Nay.” Gideon Hasbeen, HR Director at Done4U, put down the document he had been reading, looked up from his desk, and continued, “it says here you have had a brilliant career in public service!” Mrs Nay smiled, confident that she was about to be given a prominent role within the company. Imagine her shock when Hasbeen’s tone changed dramatically, “unfortunately for you, we despise public service here. Now get out!” Two burly security guards, hardened through years of beating up youth offenders at one of Done4U’s notorious prison franchises, entered the office and stood either side of Mrs Nay. When she showed signs of protestation, Hasbeen gave an almost imperceptible nod to the guards, who promptly bundled Mrs Nay out of the offices and onto the street. “Now look here!” she demanded, affronted. Her days of entering the corridors of power, unimpeded, appeared over but refusing to believe that, she attempted to walk back inside. When the impassive guards continued to block her way (and Done4U’s police patrol arrived soon after), the message finally began to hit home: “had she, the Great Deceiver, been completely and utterly deceived?” Mrs Nay, who wasn’t used to self-doubt, realised that the ugly answer was that she had.
Worse was to come a few months later when Mrs Nay’s money ran out. After which, her husband left her, and her house got dispossessed because she failed to make her mortgage payment on time, mainly due to the six-week delay in paying her unemployment benefit. And so it was that Mrs Nay suffered the ultimate humiliation; she became homeless and was forced to beg for handouts from generous passers-by.
Unfortunately for Mrs Nay, by that time, the Law of the Minusculus was in full effect (the irony was that, unbeknown to her, she had been its chief architect). The law held that just about everyone’s outlook got reduced to nil, whereby the needs of the individual held sway over the needs of the many. The result was that people became greedy and uncaring and unwilling to pay any heed to anyone beyond their own nose, especially, as they saw it: “nasty street beggars.” Hence, those ‘generous passers-by’ were few and far between, and Mrs Nay had to suffer all sorts of indignities; from being spat at, kicked and verbally abused, to being always hungry, cold, wet and lonely.
Fortunately for Mrs Nay, the fundamental laws are eternally balanced, so opposed to Minisculus was the Law of the Gargantuan, which soon began to take effect. Gargantuan stated that the needs of the many held sway over the needs of the individual. It offered a broad perspective, whereby, people gave generously to those in need. And the dissenting voices to the Sale of the Cabinet Office were governed by that law when they made Mr Bincor, the Leader of the now disbanded Opposition, Head of the UK’s largest food bank, which operated despite Done4U’s anger since they despised acts of charity as they distorted the free market. However, not even they could stop the operations of the food bank, since the burgeoning numbers dependent on its services demanded its services. And the Law of Gargantuan ensured that it had food to give.
It just so happened that Mr Bincor was touring the Maidenhead food bank when Mrs Nay first entered, dirty and desperate. “Mrs Nay?” asked Bincor, not sure if the defeated old woman he saw in front of him was the person who he used to find so terrifying in the dispatch box. She was too tired to answer, so Bincor asked one of the volunteers if they could personally see to it that Mrs Nay was cleaned up, fed and offered somewhere safe to sleep. Afterwards, when he was sure that it was indeed Mrs Nay, he sat with her and held her hand while she cried. In fact, he cried, too - the Law of Gargantuan treasured empathy and held that you should love your enemy, especially when your enemy was utterly defeated. And though they didn’t know it, those that had been championing the Law of Minisculus were about to be met head-on by natural forces beyond their reckoning. The days of Done4U and their ilk would soon pass.
It had been a hard night, a stressful day, and Mrs Bincor had been working like a dog, so when Mr Bincor entered her study with a cup of tea and plate of biscuits, which he put on the desk, she was pleased for the respite. “Darling, you’ve been working too hard. Please rest,” said Jeremy, standing behind his tired wife, lovingly massaging her tense shoulders. Treesa took her glasses off and rubbed her aching eyes: “It’s this bloody renationalisation of the railways. That Chinese Hedge Fund is still making things difficult…”
The Law of the Minusculus by Steven Huckle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://glowkeeper.github.io/assets/stories/Minusculus/.