Tory Conference: Midget Entertainers put on their show
Sketch by David Aaronovitch
Wednesday 08 October 1997
His colleagues regarded William with admiration, but admiration tinged with alarm. The Blairites' event, held in magnificent surroundings of the church hall, had been generally regarded as a success. The local newspaper had reported, and even the vicar had put in a brief appearance.
As ever, it was Howard who braved his leader's scorn with practical objections. "But wot are we going do for a party?" he objected. "You've gotter have a party, otherwise you jus' make speeches to yourselves, an' no one listens, an' no one reports it."
As it happened the Outlaws were just now passing a large brick building with neglected, overgrown lawns. Above the door, on a rain-damaged painted sign, was the legend, "Dunrulin Home for Retired Gentlefolk". From under this sign an old man with thick glasses rushed up to the Outlaws.
"Ah! Here you are at last!" he puffed, "I thought you'd never come. They're all waiting for you inside!" William did not hesitate. He sensed that here was the audience that he had been seeking.
Inside, William and the Outlaws found themselves standing on a low platform. In front of them were row after row of the oldest, most wrinkled people that they had ever seen, an army in bath-chairs. The short-sighted man introduced the Outlaws as the Botley Troupe of Midget Entertainers
William cleared his throat. "Acshually," he announced, "we're not here to do tricks. We're here to have a conf'rence." He paused and, to his amazement, was applauded. Emboldened, he went on. "So, we're going to have speeches an' votes." The sound of clapping filled the hall. A delighted William continued. "Now, if any of you woul' like to say anythin' first, then jus' indicate."
At the back of the hall a thin hand was raised, shakily. William invited its owner - a tall, wistful-looking old man with glasses - to come down to the front. Introducing himself as "the Major", and speaking in lugubrious tones, the old man spoke about his recent "bereavement", the importance of knowing who your true friends are, and the other afflictions of advanced age. Then he shuffled sadly off.
It was time, William thought, for him to liven things up. He drew himself up to his full height. "Boo!" he said loudly. There was a scattering of applause, a muffled groan and several old ladies toppled from their chairs and lay, unmoving, on the floor. "They're not dead," said William sternly, "they're jus' sleepin'." "No, William" said Howard, who had gone to investigate, "Acshually they are dead."
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Client Services Executive - Enfield, North London ...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...