Miles Kington: When McChicken comes home to roost

'I call Mr McSesame and Mr McBun, whose lives have been made a misery by the fast-food people'
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The Independent Online

One of the longest-running trials in British history is Macdonalds vs McDonald's, in which more than a hundred people called Macdonald are urging the court to force McDonald's, the fast-food concern, to change its name to something else and thus safeguard the grand old Scottish name of Macdonald. Hundreds of people called Macdonald have proceeded through the court, testifying to the misery caused to their lives by American high-handedness. And not only called Macdonald; there were further developments in the case yesterday, as this extract shows...

Counsel: Could you tell the court your name?

Witness: Aye, I could.

Counsel: (Pause) Let me rephrase that question. Will you tell the court your name?

Witness: Aye, I will. (Long pause.)

Counsel: Let me rephrase that once again. Tell the court your bloody name or I'll fetch you such a skelp...!

Witness: Fair enough. That's what I call a fair question. Do you want my present name or the name under which I appeared in this court before?

Judge: Have you appeared as a witness in this case before? Excuse my asking, but my memory has gone downhill in the three years this case has lasted.

Witness: I have indeed. The last time I appeared in this case was so long ago that Donald Dewar was still the first minister of Scotland.

Judge: Religious man, was he?

Witness: I don't think so. Why?

Judge: You said he was a minister.

Witness: Did I? Mebbe he was. Politics in Scotland is a very confusing business.

Judge: What's confusing about it?

Witness: Well, the Scots have clamoured for centuries to be given a chance to run themselves, but now they've got it, they're making a right mess of it.

Counsel: This may be, but what has it to do with the McDonald's fast-food empire, Mr...?

Judge: It strikes me that we still haven't found out the witness's name, Mr... Mr...

Counsel: Radish is my name, m'Lord.

Judge: Thank you. Well, I think you should try and ask the witness his name again, Mr Radish.

Counsel: Certainly, my Lord. (To witness.) What was your name when you last appeared before the court?

Witness: It was McNugget.

Counsel: Ah, yes – I seem to remember that you said your life had been made a misery by McDonald's the fast-food people, because people confused you with the chicken delicacy produced by them.

Witness: I did.

Counsel: And the court recommended that pending the outcome of this trial you should change your name.

Witness: It did.

Counsel: And did you?

Witness: I did.

Counsel: To what?

Witness: McChicken. (Sensation in court.)

Counsel: And how has this worked out?

Witness: Badly. McDonald's have a new product called McChicken, so people have started quacking at me in the street again. My complaint is that these McDonald's people seem to think they own the rights to the prefix Mc, and if they are not prevented they will go through the entire repertoire of culinary trivia creating words like McRoll, McButter, McSalsa, McKetchup, McChop, and so on, causing grievous offence to all those with ancient Scots names like McRoll, McButter, McSalsa, McKetchup, McChop, and so on...

Judge: Come, come, Mr McChicken! I hardly think it likely that there are people in this world called McKetchup or McNapkin!

Counsel: On the contrary, my Lord. The next two witnesses I propose to call are a Mr McSesame and a Mr McBun, whose lives, I submit, have been ruined by the activities of McDonald's, spreading across the world like the stain of a bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup being spilled across a clean tablecloth...

Man in public gallery: I object!

Judge: Who are you to object in my court?

Man: My Lord, I am part of of the Heinz Special Strike Force, a gang of super-lawyers who spring into action whenever the name of Heinz is taken lightly...

Judge: Not in my court you don't. Remove Mr Heinz and put him back in his nasty plastic bottle!

(Uproar. The man is removed.)

The case continues... but not in this column.