Tories beware the Y-Rot virus

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Scientists are still desperately seeking a cure for the mystery virus which has recently attacked many leading members of the Tory party and left them virtually unable to carry on as normal human beings.

"It's a sort of mental paralysis which turns their brains to a kind of pulp, " says Dr Foster, the physician who has acquired the franchise to deal with Tory diseases." The worst symptom is a sort of partial memory loss, which renders them incapable of remembering anything nasty which has happened in the past 15 years but which enables them to recall with total clarity anything which the last Labour government did or said. Indeed, the present Tory administration, suffering from this terrifying new virus, has a much better memory for the Labour past than their own past."

Anything else?

"Well, the symptom which affects their daily life worst is a creeping disassociation between speech and action."


"Meaning that they say they are going to do one thing and then do another and do not notice the discrepancy."

For instance?

"Oh, for instance, their tendency to go around saying, 'We must think of new ideas', and never coming up with any. Or to spot problems and propose solutions for them, without being in the least conscious that they were responsible for creating the problems in the first place."

Such as?

"Well, such as John Gummer's anguish over the plight of the inner city and his determination to cut down on out-of-town supermarkets, all put there by the Tories. Such as the Tory plans to restore the strength of the railways, sapped in the first place by lack of Tory investment. Such as the Tory complaint that we are kowtowing too much to the car and building too many roads, which were all foisted on us by the Tories. Such as Michael Howard's parrot cry that 'prison works!' when we all know that it makes things worse. Such as ..."

Yes, well, that will do. Any other symptoms?

"Yes. Intense fatigue. After 15 years in office the Tories are just plain very tired, and this new virus finds it easy to invade their system. They are like a lorry driver who has been driving too long and knows intellectually that he ought to pull over but either has forgotten how to or now thinks he can drive in his sleep. Or perhaps they are more like a junior hospital doctor who, after 80 hours non-stop, knows he should ask someone else to do so but has forgotten the procedure ..."

Good Lord. Nothing else, I hope?

"Plenty more. They have a childlike tendency to measure everything in terms of one thing, which in their case is money. They flog things off to the highest bidder, they think that market forces cure everything, they sell questions in Parliament to the highest bidder, they boast of the money they have put in the NHS ..."

Yes, money is important, isn't it ?

"In that case, why is the Tory party so badly in debt?"

I don't know.

"Nor do they. I am not sure they even know or care. Another example of brain deadening."

Is it only the brain which is affected ?

"No, there seems to be a hearing problem as well. The Tories are increasingly given to saying, 'We must go on giving out our message until it gets through!', which increasingly ignores the fact that they haven't any message, and that messages coming the other way are being ignored by the Tory Party."

What messages?

"The local election messages. The poll messages. The consensus messages. They all add up to one message."

Which is ?

"In the name of God, go."

And the Tories cannot physically hear this?


What is the name of the virus?

"At the moment we are calling it the Y-Rot virus."

That's just Tory spelt backwards, isn't it?


Not very inventive, is it?

"Well, when you have the Y-Rot virus, you don't feel up to much inventiveness. You don't make much effort. You just hope that sort of things will go away. You just sort of ..."

But how does he hope to cure the virus?

"I don't. I just sort of hope it will go away."

Good Lord. Has Dr Foster got it too? Is it very infectious? Has it affected him, being so close to the Tories?

"Yes, I am afraid to say that I seem to have caught it too. I already have the first term symptoms. The short-term memory loss. The galloping fatigue. The increasing reliance on clichs ..."

And what can he do about it?

"We must focus on customer awareness. We must repeat the message till it gets through. We must ..."

And Dr Foster yawns and falls fast asleep.