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The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold
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The Independent Online
YES, our team is now up and running. After a hectic weekend of debate by our brave band of Eurosceptics (incidentally, a pub near Braintree reports that it has been banned from selling its Traditional Pig Nostril Pie without first cooking the nostrils - yet another example of EEC bureaucracy gone mad!) it finally fell to me to telephone little John Redwood to tell him that he had been selected as our candidate.

Our press conference on Monday was a huge success. You may have noticed me standing behind John Redwood, three along from Mrs Gorman, one down from the formidable Captain of Industry Mr Ernest Saunders. In the past few days, we have been deluged with offers of support from a great many distinguished political minds, among them Mr Harvey Proctor, Mr Michael Winner, Mr Ronald Kray, Mr Andrew Neil, Mr Simon Dee, Mr Mark Thatcher, Mr Ronald Knight and Mr Reginald Presley.

I am also proud to announce that the distinguished broadcaster Mr David Icke last night chose to throw his considerable weight unconditionally behind the Redwood campaign, following a firm pledge from Mr Redwood to set up a Ministry of Atlantis and Crop Circles before Christmas.

The Members of Parliament already on our side represent a formidable challenge to the dwindling Major camp. They include Mr Norman Lamont, who resigned from the Cabinet on a point of principle, Mrs Edwina Currie, who resigned from the Ministry of Health on a point of principle, and Mr Edward Leigh, who resigned from the Ministry of Trade on a point of principle. Let me add that I have had a high regard for Mr Edward Leigh ever since he first approached me to help him correct the spelling of "intelectual riger" in an article he was writing for the Spectator magazine detailing the reasons behind his resignation.

Needless to say, speculation is already rife as to who will be given what in the first Redwood Cabinet. Personally, I strongly tip Mrs Gorman for the post of Foreign Secretary - she greatly enjoyed her trip to Marbella last year - and Mr Norman Lamont will be back as Chancellor, where he will be able to repeat his previous success. I recommend, too, a good each-way bet on the promotion of the redoubtable Mr Tony Marlow to Home Secretary, a job which will give him the chance to put into operation his innovative plans for arming all milkmen and transforming the National Theatre into a long-term prison for television-licence defaulters.

May I offer you a tantalising "fly-on-the-wall" glimpse of what went on "behind the scenes" at the launch of Johnny Redwood's campaign manifesto? I thought it judicious to place my trusty tape-machine on the campaign table to record the proceedings for posterity. The following transcript affords a rare glimpse of history in the making:

John Redwood: We've only got 10 minutes. Anyone got any great ideas about policy?

David Evans: Arm them - and shoot to kill.

John Redwood: Actually, I said policy, David. Great idea though. Keep it up!

Mrs Gorman: The thing that always bugs me is the way you can never get everything you want into a single handbag. It's an area that's crying out for legislation - and we'll carry all the lady voters with us.

John Redwood: Bigger handbags for all, yes, yes. Certainly something to think about. Anyone else?

Tony Marlow: Didn't I read somewhere that the Royal Yacht is for the chop? Bloody shame.

John Redwood: Excellent! We'll make the retention of Britannia the main platform of our manifesto - that'll win over the waverers!

Edward Leigh: How about something on Europe? Last time I went to Paris, the mini-bar was a disgrace!

David Evans: Couldn't we kill more people, John? Bit of capital punishment wouldn't go amiss.

John Redwood: Marvellous! But we'd better say only if the defendant's found guilty.

David Evans: Hmmm. Don't know about that.

John Redwood: Just for the time being, David. Looks like we've got more than enough policy for now.

Wallace Arnold: Sorry to hurry you, John, but the Press are all assembled! This way!

For a fuller description of the Redwood campaign, I would urge you to read my official biography, to be published this autumn, Giant Redwood: Portrait of a Prime Minister.