4 OCTOBER 1969, Page 26


No. 573 : Dream island

Reports that a London hippy leader is looking for 1,000 likeminded followers to put up £20 each for the purchase of St Patrick's Island, two miles off the coast of Ireland, prompts speculation as to what sort of an island paradise they might hope to establish there. It would certainly have something in common with Yeats's 'Lake Isle of Innisfree'. Competitors are invited to suggest two stanzas of a poem in the same mode as Yeats's celebrating the virtues of a dream island for hippies, Liberal MPs or any other minority group. Entries, marked `Competition No. 573', by 17 October.

No. 570 : The winners

Trevor Grove reports: In a recent 'After- thought' John Wells speculated on the behaviour of Long John Silver in his role as a Labour MP. Competitors were invited to provide excerpts from a speech, TV inter- view or newspaper article by a Member of Parliament recruited elsewhere from the fruitful fields of fiction. No House of Commons (an expression, Fergus Porter's Lady Bracknell confesses, `to which I am still not wholly reconciled') has ever revealed. more clearly its true colours or cast hypo- crisy to the winds with quite such an excess of honest zeal : an engaging crew included M. K. Cheeseman's Humpty Dumpty, Mrs Ormerod's Holmes, B. P. Hatton's Kai Lung and Maurice Hall's Zuleika Dobson, Member for Oxford.

Dickens was by far the most popular source. Two guineas to John Digby : `Mr Crummles, as Minister with responsi- bility for the Arts, how would you view a Council grant to, say, Oh! Calcutta!?'

`Ah, my dear fellow, an experience of that astonishing woman's, Mrs Crummles's,

will speedily answer that poser. She Was once called upon to portray Venus. Her costume gave us all to ponder deep and long—but she, phenomenal in everything, solved the difficulty by releasing her bodice to that nice degree where revelation and provocation surrendered only barely to modesty. She filled the house, sir, but she contracted, alas, so dire a pneumonia as threatened to rob the Drama of her in. comparable genius forever. Should I, then. encourage some other nakedness, and similarly imperil the true health of our Art . . . ?'

Honourable mentions to Ian Kelso for his Pecksniff and Maud Gracechurch for her Mrs Micawber CI shall never desert the Prime Minister, Master Michelmore . two guineas to G. J. Blundell's Sam Weller: 'Veil, Mr Speaker, sir, this is a werry good measure, as the tailor said wot was running 'is tape over a twenty-four stone alderman. The honourable member hopposite 'as called it an 'eartless bill. But if anyvun is a-goin' to tell me it is 'eartless to transport vidders to Botany Bay, then I vould az 'im to come and talk to my old 'un who vill tell 'im more about vidders in five minutes than I can in five hours. Bevare of the vidders, gentlemen, as the bachelor said wot was a-goin' to marry vun until 'e found out she vorked in a fly-paper factory and 'ad 'ad eight 'usbands, all of 'em de,,d of the colic.'

Two guineas to Adam Khan:

DAVID DIMBLEBY Minister, critics call your Strike Settlement a surrender.

FANNY HILL (MINISTER OF EMPLOYMENT kNI) PRODUCTIVITY) Indeed, Sir, compromise assuredly necessitates both parties yielding somewhat.

DD Is it true that you gave way, to prevent disclosure of your—past?

FH 'Tis false, I swear: for of my Past nought is hid or kept back in my little book. Truth is reveal'd as wholly Naked as were the charms of my Person in the scandalou, stages of my life.

DD Nevertheless, Minister, you approved 91' per cent wage increases, and it's said that Union leaders had you over a barrel.

Fit Lord, Mr Dimbleby, they first demanded 100 per cent. To bring them into my wat of thinking, I was compell'd to make concessions.

Martin Fagg and his Jingle win three guineas :

Mr Speaker: Crave indulgence—fearful nervous—deeply honoured—astonished t be here—by-election pending—get a tele' gram—Will you stand?'—telegraph bac —`Delighted. Which party?'—terrific ca paign — unscrupulous opponent — hissed -- booed—pelted with tomatoes—addre, scores of meetings—knock on hundreds 0 doors—shake thousands of hands—lo, millions of babies—exhausting—very—Poll ing-day—hundred per-cent poll—possibh more—neck and neck—ahead—recount other chap ahead!—recount—dead heat—re turning officer faints with emotion—reviv with brandy—gallant fellow—goes on count ing—finally win—champagne— kisses—fir works — exhilarating — most — now here ancient pile--historical—exceedingly-0 library—snug chamber—airy terrace—gra fying reception—capital set of fellows of breath—must sit down—indebted to you all—immeasurably.

The standard of entry was uniformly high, otherwise, D. A. Nicholls (Pooter), W. D. Gilmour (Prospero) and P. W. R. Foot (Alfred Jingle, MP, again) would certainly have been prize-winners, but the final four guineas go to Tom Brewer: MR JORROCKS (COD. HANDLEY CROSS), Minis- ter of Sport: Well, now, dash my vig! I never was so 'stonished in my life! Bigger grants for trainin' facilities, my Honourable Frind says, for football, cricket, etcetera etceterorum! Beloved 'carers, cricket is werry well for boys. Played it myself, agin a lamp-post. Tennis is a nice ladylike amuse- ment, but not on gov'ment grants! Football should be made a felony ! Of all unsportin' varmints under the sun, footballers are the unsportinest! Then there's Judo. Fancy a great seventeen-'and wench sittin' with her monstrous hemispheres on one's chest, sendin' one's werry soul out o' one's nostrils! Dreadful thought! Vere's my flask ! It's no use 'umbuggin'! There's no sport fit for subsidisin' but fox'huntin'!