Predictions for the Year 1965
By ALAN WATKINS
(With acknowledgments to the late Isaac Bickerstaff)
JANUARY. In this Month Mr. Callaghan promises that an Announcement upon a most serious Subject will shortly be forthcoming; affecting great Numbers of the Populace and con- cerning the Wealth of the Kingdom. Mr. R. Maudling declares that, for his Part, he welcomes the Prospect; believing that something must needs be done to restore Faith in the present Ministry. Whereupon the Bankers and Money-lenders of the City of London take Fright: And there is great Talk of Conspiracies and Tribunals and a Devaluation of the Currency. 'Tis reported that Mr. Fred. Willey is hard at Work upon Plans for a Land Commission.
FEBRUARY. Mr. Maudling says that 'twas a great Mistake for Mr. Chancellor Callaghan to shew his Hatid at this Stage of Events and that, for his Part, be was certain that nought but Harm could come of it. Mr. H. Wilson declares that the Crisis is all the Fault of the Queen's last Ministry. Sir A. Home is silent upon this Subject; but later, when all is over, vows that it has ever been his Policy to let Bygones be Bygones. In this Month also Mr. R. Crossman, addressing a Gathering of Planners, gives his Opinion that the Green Belt is 'an old-fashioned Notion, born of the 1930s, that has no Relevance to the modern Age in which we live.' An Announcement from No. 10 Downing Street is made that the Services of Mr. Roy Jenkins have been secured, at great Expence, to act as official Biographer of Mr. Herbert Wilson, father of my Lord Treasurer Wilson.
MARCH. In March there is great Excitement throughout the Town at Reports of Changes in the domestick Policy of the Tory Party. Sir A. Home is silent; but one of his Allyes, Mr. E. Heath, on being asked whether there is any Truth in the Tales about Land Prices, answers : 'We are still thinking about this One. We have an open Mind.' Mr. Wilson brings new Men into the Ministry; but persists with Numbers of the old; these including Mr. Fred. Pearl and Mr. Fred. Lee. Also Mr. Fred. Willey and Mr. Fred. Malley are brought into the Cabinet, and Office is given to Mr. Fred. Blackburn. 'Now is the Time,' saith Mr. Wilson, 'for all good Freds to come to the Aid of the Party.' Being encouraged beyond Measure by these Words, Mr. F. Harris and Sir F. Bennett of the Tories turn their Thoughts to the opposite Side. convinced that their Future must lye there.
APRIL. In his Budget Mr. Chancellor Callaghan avers that he has no new Intelligence, whether good or bad, to offer the Nation. Mr. Postmaster Wedgwood Benn declares that in Future he will answer no more Questions in the House of Commons; considering them a grievous Inter- ruption of all manner of momentous Tasks which he hath in Hand. Throughout this Month Sir A. Home remains silent.
MAY. A Bill of Pains and Penalties is passed whereby all References, of whatsoever kind, to Blackamoors, Jews, Dissenters, Papists, &c., &c., may be punished by Flogging and Imprisonment. 'Tis entitled the Racial Incitement Bill, and my Lord Brockway of Slough saith: 'This is a notable Victory for those Virtues of Toleration and Freedom of Speech to which I have devoted my Life.' A Lady of Quality shall gett with Child; than which nothing further can possibly be disclosed at the Time of Writing.
JUNE. This Month begins with a very surpris- ing Fit of frosty Weather, which will last near Twelve Days. There is a Rumour that Mr. Secretary 'Brown has fallen in a Faint, caused
by Fasting, Overwork and Abstinence. •The
Rumour is proved false, Mr. Brown saying: 'It will take more than a Bit of hard Work to kill me. Brother.' Upon being given the Intelligence that Wheelwrights, Coopers and Blacksmiths have of late been awarded increases in Wages of 15 per cent, Mr. Brown replies: 'Who are you trying to gett at, Brother? This is all Part of our Plan.'
JULY. Mr. Secretary Brown and Mr. Chan- cellor Callaghan compose a joint Letter to the Old Codgers in which they sett out, in the greatest possible Detail, their Answers to the Criticisms that have been made of them by seditious Scribblers in the Pay of the late Ministry. My Lord Blakenham resigns as Chinn. of the Tory Party, and is succeeded by Master Humphry Berkeley. Mr. Berkeley loses no Time in sum- moning a Press Conference at which he explains to the assembled Scribblers his Intentions in the Years ahead.
AUGUST. Throughout this Month Sir A. Home remains silent; and the Conspirators against him, on being asked why they do not strike, say that the Time is not opportune, it being rumoured that 'Mr. H. Wilson has Hopes of persuading the Queen to dissolve the Parliament. In this Month also Miss Alice Bacon discovers a Plot against the Ministry, involving several! Pamphleteers. Miss Bacon demands a Tryall, but Mr. Wilson says: `No. Let us put the Matter before the Press Council and my Lord Devlin who, although a Papist, may be relied upon to do his Duty. What was good enough for Her Majesty is good enough for me.'
SEPTEMBER. My Lord Gardiner relinquishes the Great Seal following a Dispute with Mr. C. Pannell over Control of the Palace of West- minster, my Lord Gardiner saying that he hath quite enough Trouble, on his Hands already without further provoking the House of Lords. Mr. H. Berkeley issues a Statement to the Press Upon Matters of Concern to the Nation: He declares that in Future the Leader of the Tory Party will be selected by himself.
OcToBER. Mr. H. Wilson, being taken of an Apoplexy caused by a Surfeit of Sauce, falls flat upon his Face whilst addressing the Labour Party Conference: whereupon the Government Pamphleteers declare in the Sunday Prints that his Speech was 'brilliant': convincing all who heard it of his Wit, Industry, Sagacity, &c., &c. In this Month also there is a Report that Mr. Roy Jenkins, being well on his Way to com- pleting the Life of Mr. Herb. Wilson, is shortly to embark upon the authorised Biography of Mr. Roy Jenkins.
NOVEMBER. In Virtue of the Kingdom's new Role East of Suez, proclaimed by Mr. Wilson and Others amidst universal Applause, the Socialist Party's Anthem is changed from The Red Flag' to 'Rule Britannia.' Saith Mr. M. Foot to the Tribune Faction: 'That great Man Robert
Blatchford wd. have been proud of us at this
Hour.' My Lord Devlin completeth his Report Upon the Plot against the Ministry in which he finds, First, that there was no Plot; Secondly, that all have the Right to reflect upon a Ministry; but, Thirdly, that divers Pamphleteers have made reflections upon the Administration, which he dubs 'irresponsible' and 'not borne out by the Evidence.' My Lord Brockway calls the Report a great Step forward in the History of the Freedom of the Press.
DECEMBER. My Lord Devlin is created a Marquis, and granted great Estates in the West Country. Sir A. Home is silent. 'Tis reported that Mr. Fred. Willey is hard at Work upon Plans for a Land Commission.