Always jobs for the boys

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The Independent Online
Today, as a sign that the job market is on the move again, we have a selection of top posts offered or sought.

England rugby captain: this post, thought to be filled, may be vacant after all. Successful applicant should be able to handle large sums of money, talk easily to the Royal Family, and say, without smiling: "I think we can now take on and beat the best in the world." If possible, should also be able to catch rugby ball without dropping it, but tact and discretion are the main qualifications. Must be able to agree with everything said by the RFU without laughing.

Ulster Unionist leader in waiting: the political world was recently left unmoved to its very roots by a leadership crisis in the Ulster Unionist Party. The crisis was caused by the fact that the outgoing leader, a man called Molyneaux nobody knew anything about, was replaced by an incoming leader called David Trimble, of whom nobody had ever heard. The problem the Protestants have to face is this: how much credibility can we have with a leader who is an unknown quantity, and maybe doesn't even exist? Most people on the mainland find it hard to believe in the existence of a party whose sole role is to keep the Tories in power.

Indeed, most people on the British mainland find it hard to believe in a country where grown-ups march around in bowler hats and big orange braces.

Therefore the next leader must be well known and so the party wishes to get him in training already. Applications should be sent in secret. Successful applicant must be able to talk politely to people as different as Ian Paisley, John Major and Gerry Adams (the last only in secret).

Friend of Jeffrey Archer: from time to time large profits on share deals are made by unknown people who are always described as "friends of Jeffrey Archer". Thereafter they disappear from history and are replaced by a new "friend of Jeffrey Archer". This post is therefore perpetually being readvertised. The duties are onerous, and the turnover is rapid, as one has to be much in the company of Archer and be nice to and about him, and about his writing, so job fatigue quickly sets in. However, it seems that the financial rewards can be great, so early retirement is always possible.

New Tory Member of Parliament: although the next election may not occur for a year or two, large numbers of MPs have already announced that they will not be standing again and are already looking for new jobs - in the case of Richard Needham, many new jobs. There will, therefore, be many vacancies in the near future for those willing to be Conservative MPs.

Qualities sought include: loyalty, loyalty and loyalty, also membership of the male sex. Ability to make animal baying noises an essential, as is a complete lack of interest in any form of sexual activity.

The next Julian Critchley: it has always been thought desirable to have at least one Tory MP who seemed to be human, ie, who had a sense of humour, no desire to enter No 10, an ability to mock the Tory leader, an engaging sense of irony and a dangerous whiff of disloyalty. John Biffen, for instance, rates high on this scale; Jeffrey Archer fails on all counts, and Julian Critchley has always been the master. Now that he is leaving, the Tory Party desperately needs a replacement.

The next horizontal British heavyweight: British sport always needs at least one heavyweight boxer who can be much loved for his ability to go on chatshows, star in pantomime, look good in the ring, fall over when punched and be a laughing-stock in the United States. Until recently, the post was held by Frank Bruno.

Unfortunately, Mr Bruno has accepted another post - one of the many world championships on offer - and so the position is now open again. A few light boxing duties will be involved.

Hand-shakers for the Prime Minister's grass-roots tour: the British PM is at present on walkabout meeting the public. The public seems to have gone into hiding meanwhile, so applications are invited for the job of shaking the PM's hand and congratulating him on beating John Redwood. At the end of the interview with the PM, the hand-shaker will be required to look Mr Major in the eye and say: "I shall be voting for you at the next election." There is no obligation so to vote, only so to say.