Friday, 30 March 2012

The Victory Flight Of The Gallywasp

After an astonishingly successful week for the Tree Faction - following the Great Hot Pie Disaster and the ensuing panic buying which has depleted remaining pie stocks - the Redistributionists (under the tender maternal care of their Dearly Loved Leader Edweird the Milliner) have also come to enjoy the savoury taste of defeat and disappointment in the beautiful Viking-dominated Northumbrian settlement of Bradeford.

A local election had recently been called in that Elysian paradise, and the outcome had already been predicted by the knowledgeable and discerning soothsayers to be an enormous victory for the Redistributionists; this was a time-honoured tradition, and so the politicos - sure of the immutable resolve of their electorate to return yet another of their kind to the Witangemot - didn't stir their battle-weary backsides from their Yorvik headquarters to to render any needful assistance.

Their complacency was duly rewarded by a crushing defeat of the Redistributionist candidate by a seasoned political operator named Gyrth the Gallywasp - an apostate outcast from their holy faith, who has redefined his own addle-headed brand of Redistributionism by forming the Contempt Faction - a ragbag of  deluded and the criminally insane and disillusioned ex-members of the Redistributionist Worker's Faction. Gallywasp - a suave Caledonian confidence trickster and jailbird of considerable experience - owes his considerable victory to his silver-tongued oratorical skills, which (this Cat believes) were passed on to His Holiness Bugrake O'Barmy, the Supreme Chieftain of the clans of that as yet undiscovered land of plenty, Ultima Thule.

The reason for his success may also be attributed to his deliberate pandering to the Viking majority in Bradeford. In a rousing speech, Gallywasp pushed all the right buttons and made all the right rhetorical noises to tickle the ears and charm the normally Redistributionist-leaning Nordics to his cause. He swore a solemn oath that the Holy Eddas would become the basis for all of his policy decisions, and wouldn't rest from his labours until the sacred faith of Valhalla was established in this greedy, unpleasant land. After several days of this sort of pummeling, the cast-iron resolve of the Vikings shattered, and when they cast their voting sticks, they all - to a man - dropped them into the Contempt bin.

Gallywasp - a man of elusive, ever-shifting principles and few virtues - will represent his people well. Until he takes flight to assume his seat in the Witangemot, that is..

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Pie Panic Sales

As a dispassionate observer of the human world, this Cat has quickly reached the conclusion that the best advice that a politico can receive is: engage the brain (or whatever substitutes for it) before moving the mouth. This piece of observational wisdom is what I would have given (free, gratis and for nothing) to His Eminence Dagwald Caedmeron, the High and Holy King Ratbiscuit of the Tree/Liberationist Administration of the Northumbrian Witangemot and his disciples. But in common with all politicos, Caddy Boy and his playmates would have ignored any such counsel, since their ability to absorb wisdom from others is inversely proportional to the measure of their hubris. This is an immutable law.

Following the recently announced tax levy on the sale of hot pies, Caddy's uliginous side-kick Maudlin the Frank announced that the supply of these foods to the ubiquitous merchants was under jeopardy from threats of imminent strike action from the Guild of Pie Distribution Officers and Allied Trades, who, with an eager eye on a ready opportunity, are demanding an increase in their wages. This happens to coincide with the forthcoming Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman, nor an empire) Games, where the sale of such delicacies is likely to increase exponentially as unsuspecting foreign visitors to the Games sample Anglo-Saxon cuisine and come to appreciate why it's so universally abhorred.

Franky went on to advise the public through the slobbering assembly of soothsayers that it would be a Good Idea for the public to stock up with pies while they're still available in the markets. The soporific and docile Northumbrian public have wisely heeded his advice, and the queues for warm weasel slices have created untold mayhem in all the settlements of the Realm, and anxious customers have been sent away empty handed as the sellers have run out of stock.

Since the venerable Guild of Pie Distribution Officers and Allied Trades hasn't actually called a strike yet, the grounds for the panic are as yet illusory. There's been a most unholy row in the Witangemot following this, and the Administration have been accused by the omni-competent and principled Redistributionists of mis-managing the situation.

I think it was all a frivolous exercise in mass manipulation. Franky has been having a quiet chuckle to himself. I've got a lovely donation for his Faction funds in my departure lounge. I can't wait to deliver it...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


In these straitened times following the Great Credit Catastrophe - when cash is more rare than rocking horse dungarees - it's so unspeakably wonderful to bask in the assurance that the Tree/Liberationist Administration over the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria is taking decisive steps to remedy this awful fiscal plight we're in.

Having had to impose the most savage Public Expenditure Cuts since the beginning of recorded time and business, Dagwald Caedmeron - the Chief Cock and Bluebottle Washer of the Tree Faction, and Illustrious Guiding Light of the Administration - has directed the attention of his crusty trusty Treasurer Oswine (the Custodian of the Kingdom's Debt) to the additional treasures that still remain to be milked from the long-suffering and bovine Northumbrian populace. In view of the fact that the majority of the population are already in the direst debt, poverty and nonsense, this has all the appearance of being a most imaginative and ingenious plan. Three cheers for political resourcefulness! Hip, Hip, zzzzzzzzzzzz.......

The first Great Step in this campaign to restore the long-disappeared fortunes of the Kingdom is to raise a new tax levy on hot pies. This is a most bold step, considering that the majority of the impoverished (and negatively wealthy) Northumbrian people are already consumers of these delicacies. Pie-sellers adorn the streets and lanes of the King's Highway like dog droppings, selling their wares to hungry working ploughmen who've forgotten their bread and cheese lunches, hung-over mead and ale conoisseurs, busy mothers who simply don't have the time to cook for their own families, and elderly pensioners who drop copious amounts of crumbs as their toothless gums tackle the matter in hand.

The Redistributionists are already in arms about this, accusing Caedmeron and Oswine of waging a Holy War against poor people. In view of the fact that most of the Redistributionists are richer than Croesus, nobody is too convinced by their specious arguments and posturings. But they had to say it, just the same..

The pies - whether hedgehog and hedgerow special, rabbit steak and rhubarb or the plain and simple rat meat - must be served hot to merit the additional tax levy. This will (of course) be eagerly welcomed by the public, who are only too happy to suffer the indignity of yet more governmental extortion for the Greater Interest Of The Kingdom - and Caedmeron's Glorious Reputation. But I suspect that the quantities of pies sold will rapidly diminish as the regular punters at these pie emporiums realise that they have even less cash available to keep body and soul together. Then I predict that the Hot Pies will be stored in a cool chest and served to the public as cold delicacies. They will of course be served under plain wrappers...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cover Up

I went down to the quayside on my matutinal rounds - as I usually do - and sidled up to the fishermen and their silver-tongued fishwives, who were busy preparing the latest catch for market. They all know me of old, and I always get a generous plateful of haddock, mackerel, cod - or whatever the catch of the morning is. This time, my breakfast was delivered to my dish in a paper bag, and Ædiðe - the fishwife who usually makes me a generous donation - looked around furtively before removing the contents and putting them on my dish.

I was most intrigued by this uncharacteristic behaviour, so I discreetly asked Ædiðe why she'd had to cover the fish up. It would seem from her reply that the Northumbrian Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration (bless their coarse woolen singlets) have recently decreed that all foods, drinks (including runny honey mead and flagons of foaming ale) and illicit magic mushrooms must be sold under anonymous cover. When I asked her why this had been decided, she told me that the Powers That Be - in their infinite knowledge and wisdom - have discovered that eating too much bread, eggs, meat and fish, drinking too much ale and mead is destructively harmful to the health of the consumer, and for the sake of the Greater Good of the other members of the impressionable bovine, knuckle-dragging Public, these vital commodities must henceforth be sold under cover, lest they should see the merchandise in the transaction and be enticed into purchasing it themselves. The penalties for non-compliance merit imprisonment (alongside elderly ladies who allow their pet dogs to deposit their colorectal savings on the streets) as well as a fine of ten million Holy Groats. Members of the feared Fluffy Diversity and Health Commisariat are stalking the shambles and markets in plain clothes, ready to pounce on unsuspecting wayward traders.

After my initial astonishment, I had to let this strange new information gently insinuate itself into my feline consciousness. Surely bread, fish and beer aren't so bad for humans, are they? As far as I know, homo sapiens has been eating and drinking these things since Adam was a lad and Pontius was a pilot. I don't see stacks of human corpses lining the streets as a testament of the evils of halibut and hake. For sure, the bodies of the deceased are taken by the undertakers for burial from time to time, but for the most part - excepting accidents, war or deadly disease - most people seem to live a healthy life. It simply doesn't make sense.

But it would appear that it's a wonderful opportunity for a new industry. Hooray for Enterprise! Now the Northumbrian Administration can recruit and employ legions of spies to implement and enforce their fluffy new policy, and these new minions of the State can go to bed ay night with the virtuous fuzzy assurance that they've thus saved some poor Northumbrian's life.

I've already arrived at the conclusion that the entire population of the Witangemot should be permanently concealed under paper bags and similar plain wrapping. They're seriously injurious to the Kingdom's mental health. Besides, they seem to get up to most of their business under cover...

Monday, 26 March 2012

Appearance Fi, Fi, Fo, Fum

I'm so jolly disappointed. The other day, I'd successfully amassed the princely sum of 250,000 Holy Groats, so that I could obtain a private audience with His Eminence Dagwald Caedmeron - the Chief Cock and Bluebottle Washer of the Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration (don't ask how I acquired it - I won't tell you). I was dearly hoping that the Glorious Leader would be available, so that I could ask him a few favours, get him to do a little dance, and sing me a song from the Redistributionists' hymn book; I'd arranged it all with one of Caedmeron's faithful apparatchiks - through the good offices of my dear friend Lareow - the Chief Mouse Catcher and Rat Befriender of the Principal Minister's residence.

But this neat little arrangement was blown to pieces when Prince Ruprecht Evil-Merodach's eminent soothsayer Sandy Tides blew the entire thing open, and brought the whole business under the unwelcome, burning glare of publicity. The docile, knuckle-dragging Northumbrian public went into paroxysms of rage, outrage, indignation and business for all of fifteen microseconds. It's so terribly sad, and frankly, I'm hopping mad. Watch out for my claws, people. I'm in no mood for nonsense. This is the end of my public health warning.

Consequently, Caedmeron has lost a valuable source of his Saturday pocket money, and the Tree Faction have discovered that one of their most profitable revenue streams has cruelly evaporated under the glare of the Northumbrian spring sunshine. Of course, denials are flying about with the usual counter-accusations against the holy and blameless Redistributionist Faction, who'd perfected such endeavours in their own fifteen thousand-year watch over the Kingdom. But they always managed to get away with it. It's all so unfair.

And now your Cat is saddled with the embarrassment of 250,000 Holy Groats - and I'm going to have to find all the well-wishers and benefactors who coughed up the dosh and return it to them. This is an unwelcome exercise in feline humility. After all, a cat doesn't need money: a plate of fish alone is sufficient for our simple needs.

So what's Caddy Boy going to do now? Life is full of surprises. Expect another one anytime soon...

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Senile Delinquency

Since yesterday's posting, I never expected the effects of Oswine's Great Budget Announcement to have such an immediately drastic effect. Naturally, in the tried-and tested song-and-dance tradition for which they're justly famous, the magic mushroom-chewing Redistributionist politicos have been pontificating about the terrible injustices and catastrophic disasters which are about to befall the Poor (which is simply a euphemism for their workshy, benefit-saturated, Redistributionist fellow-traveller friends) following the measures announced by the Custodian of the Empty Chest. Woe, woe and thrice woe, children. Get your hankies out. Three cheers for the Prince of Wails!

There's also been the customary droning about the lavish rewards to the Rich (which is simply a word that Redistributionist politicos and theorists use to describe people who have even more Holy Groats stashed away than they do, and which they haven't managed to pilfer for themselves), but this is routinely predictable stuff.

What has made yesterday's financial broadside so entertaining and exciting is the sudden increase in the crime wave overnight. By midday today it's already come to the point where the resources of the Costumed Thugs have been stretched to their limits. They're only human, after all…

The reason for this outbreak of lawlessness is quite straightforward, although somewhat surprising: Oswine has decided to tax the meagre pensions of the retired elderly gentlefolk of the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria; consequently, the latter have – with much groaning and the creaking and cracking of arthritic joints – emerged from their chairs, and taken some action to supplement their ever-dwindling reserves of cash.

As I walked by the Costumed Thug Headquarters in the beautiful seaside settlement of Streonaeshalch this morning, I saw fifteen members of the theatrical constabulary frogmarching – or rather, frogcrawling – an elderly hoary-headed gentleman to the safety of their refuge from the Wicked World. I ventured inside the building, purred and rubbed around some costumed ankles for good measure in order to glean some feline insight. From all accounts, the elderly gent had been selling magic mushrooms without a license, so that he could make good the deficit in his own depleted pension. Imagine my horror.

As I took my leave, I saw another cohort of uniformed gangsters bringing in another elderly citizen – this time it was an old lady. I quickly gathered that she'd deliberately allowed her dog to make a political statement in the street. If the politicos were going to steal yet more of her pension, she was going to jolly well make sure they pay for it; they could clean up after her pooch. She was defiant and unrepentant. I already hear the sharpening of the Fluffy Axe

Oswine has sown the whirlwind; what is he now reaping?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Tolled Off

I'm so excited today! This is that Special Day in the Northumbrian year where the Custodian of the Empty Chest - Oswine, the Kingdom Debt Manager of the Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration, entertains the politicos in the Witangemot with new plans for expenditure in the forthcoming year. All of the soothsayers are naturally in a high state of animation, the politicos are very jolly and rumbustious, and there's definitely a festive air about the Realm. In anticipation of the plans that Oswine was about to unfold, the settlements put up bunting yesterday, and the mead and ale houses are now doing a roaring trade; however I suspect that this isn't out of celebration, but rather anticipation, since the faithful imbibers of the Sacred Libation are expecting a further increase in the price of their favourite foaming tipple.

One of the measures that is going to be very popular with the long-suffering taxpayers of Northumbria is the selling of all the roads in the Kingdom to those who are privileged and sad enough to want to purchase them. The maintenance of noble King Alhfrith's highways has always been something of a burden on the taxpayer, since the continual passage of horses, donkeys and carts bearing wool, salt, vegetables and other merchandise takes its toll on the compressed earth, worn down into deep ruts by the cartwheels, hooves and the constant dragging of knuckles.

Of course, in more prosperous times, such expenditure would be a mere fleabite for the Administration du jour, but now that we're languishing in the Great Credit Catastrophe and Impending Bankruptcy of the beloved Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire), Sacred Groats are in short supply, and are being spent lavishly in negative quantities in a bid to confuse aspiring mathematicians. In view of this alarming state of affairs, it's been suggested by some nameless window-licking luminary that it might be a Good Idea to place the burden for the costly maintenance of the roads, streets and lanes of the Kingdom into private hands.

Anyone daft enough to make such a purchase will need to meet the cost of their road's upkeep by imposing a toll on the unsuspecting travellers, which will slow down traffic considerably as hapless wayfarers  fumble and forage around in their pockets or purses for that elusive - if not non-existent - Holy Groat. But I suspect that more time will be spent in the writing of IOUs, since there's no money around because the poor Moneylenders are sitting on it, and refusing to allow it out of the sight of their myopic and beady eyes.

This initiative will of course prove to be very popular with the travelling members of the Realm - particularly for those whose livelihoods depend upon the transportation of their goods and services each day - but this Cat believes they'll soon lose their initial enthusiasm. I forsee a new industry of ready-made IOUs and counterfeit groats especially for the purpose. But then, perhaps that's what this new, innovative measure is designed for. A black economy is better than none at all...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Raiders of the Lost Mark

I really should occupy myself with feline pursuits like mouse and bird catching - rather than the shallow idiocies of the politics in this lovely Kingdom of Northumbria; I really don't know what it was in my constitution that gave me such a morbid fascination with the venal and sordid affairs of humans (if that's what politicos are), but I am where I am, and so I just have to content myself with my appointed lot.

Dagwald Caedmeron - the Rising Yeast and Sacred Archbishop of the Tree/Liberationist Alliance has been very busy of late. Having returned from his astonishingly successful visit to the distant and as yet undiscovered land of Ultima Thule, where he cavorted and consorted with the oratorically gifted tribal chieftain Bugrake O'Barmy and consumed buffalo burgers at Ultima Thule football games, he's been dreaming up new and inventive ways of obtaining those scarce Holy Groats that his Administration desperately needs to realise their magic mushroom-fuelled political fantasies. SInce the Great Credit Catastrophe of three thousand years ago, the Kingdom has been plunged into the dark pit of insolvency and bankruptcy, necessitating those Savage Public Expenditure Cuts which have been so beloved of the Trade Guild Barons, diversity administrators, pigeon psychiatrists and kindergarten managers - not to mention the soothsayers Beeby See and her bitter and twisted sister Guardy-Ann. Consequently, the Northumbrian Army now has the latest technology in pitchforks as its staple weapons, as the beautifully crafted swords have been sold to the quarrelsome tribes of the Levant; the Navy now uses coracles from the Welsh Marches, as most of its longships have been buried in funeral mounds in a bid to confuse and excite future archaeologists, since they're not wanted by King Jose Borracho, the toxic despot of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire). It's all so terribly sad.

But never mind. Fresh beams of Enlightenment and Wisdom cut through our darkness as we hear that Caddy Boy's latest plan is to find reserves of hidden treasure. He's going to raid the piggy banks of the children of Northumbria. The children's screams and wailings are already resounding through the Kingdom, and their parents are unable to console them, since any further contributions will be taxed. Viciously. Hooray for Caddy Boy - saviour of the day!

What can he purchase with all the stolen pennies he's rescued from obscurity? There's not enough resources in the piggybanks of the Realm to keep a single Fluffy Diversity Coordinator's body and soul together. I do hope he has a Plan B...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Down Wiv Da Yoof and Moneylenders

While Caedmeron has been travelling afar, posturing, pouting, pontificating and feeling the love of mellifluous tribal chieftain Bugrake O'Barmy and his cohorts in the as yet undiscovered land of Ultima Thule, new astonishing political developments have been unfolding here in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria. Feaxede the Fox and I listened with enraptured anticipation to the soothsayers' announcement.

What I'm about to divulge constitutes a shot across the bows to the yoof of the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria - particularly those of a Chavvostani persuasion, whose principal industry - in the years following their imaginary Redistributionist-inspired education - is to idly and luxuriously draw on the lavish benefits of the Northumbrian public purse, devour hedgehog sausages (sans salad), masticate magic mushrooms, drink copious volumes of ale and mead, and of course, assiduously avoid every appearance of legitimate industry. For no other requirement but to be unemployed. Innit.

If you, dear reader, are a yoof, like, please sit down before reading on. If you're already seated or supine, (which is the more likely scenario), remain in your present posture, for what I'm about to disclose is quite disturbing, and potentially deeply distressing. But never mind.

Today, Edweird the Milliner- the Beloved Leader, Daystar and Bright Shining Light of the Redistributionist Faction, and head of King Alhfrith's Loyal Opposition - has come up with a Great Plan in the event of the unlikelihood of his assuming Caedmeron's mantle as Administration Supremo. Dream on, Eddy Boy - and keep on chewing the fungi. (Don't swallow it, though - it'll make you sick, and then something sensible and meaningful might for once proceed from your mouth.)

Eddy has announced that in the next Redistributionist Government - which is scheduled to assume absolute power and total control anytime in the next fifty billion years - that he's going to raise lots of Holy Groats for the benefit of the yoof. To provide them with.. Work.

Naturally, the employment that will be provided for the aspirationally and intellectually challenged Anglo-Saxon adolescents won't be genuine sweat-of-the-brow graft; such tedium is reserved for the legions of Slavs, Bulgars, Moors, Bactrians and members of myriads of other exotic tribal groups, who, having gently invaded these islands - with the blessing of the Northumbrian government - have made an honest living for themselves and their families by taking on employment in occupations regarded by indigenous children as infra dignatem.

For half an hour each day in Eddy's fantasy land, every unoccupied child will be able to perform roles for the benefit of the Kingdom - and the Glorious Redistributionist Cause. They will be paid handsomely for the privilege. There will be legions of trainee cat license administrators, apprentice pigeon psychologists, assistant fish quota accountants and deputy diversity coordinators. I can't wait.

And who is going to pay for this? Eddy has said that the Moneylenders - the evil overlords who make vast profits out of loans to weak-minded and gullible politicos and governments - will pay additional tax out of their bounteous treasuries.

What Eddy hasn't realised is that the Groat Shufflers will soon lose interest - and when that happens, they'll soon take their businesses to other lands where they'll be made welcome. In such an event, who's then going to pick up the tab for these non-jobs? The entire Kingdom will be reduced to penury..

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Caddy's Great Expedition and Secret Agenda

Dagwald Caedmeron - the Supreme Scarlet Emperor and Chief Cock and Bluebottle-Washer of the Tree/Liberationist Administration in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria - has been a busy chap of late. Not content to rest on his laurels after declaring his commitment to rewriting his own version of the Book of Genesis and redefining marriage, Caddy Boy has ventured on a Great Expedition westwards in the last couple of days.

It isn't sufficient for Dagwald Caedmeron to be a mere politico: any fool can do that; all it takes is an acquired ability to say nothing in many words and appear sincere. No, this intrepid fellow is intent on exploring the remotest parts of the earth in a quest to extend his notoriety for future generations; the pursuit of a reputation is indeed a harsh taskmaster.

He's set sail for the distant and as yet undiscovered shores of Ultima Thule, in a bid to visit the legendary Bugrake O'Barmy, the tribal chieftain over the aforesaid land. Bugrake O'Barmy is a living legend, renowned for a silver tongue, a cool and trendy persona and mesmerising powers of oratory, and like King Solomon of the Old Testament, Caddy Boy is venturing - somewhat like the Queen of Sheba - to pay court to this enigmatic despot, whose vice-regent is Elvey Preslode, the equally legendary crooner, whose tragic death has - by all accounts - been greatly exaggerated.

I haven't had the good fortune to sail the seas to join him in his quest, and even Lareow - his faithful moggy and Mouse Terminator Supremo - has had to maintain his post at home. For all that, your Kitty can well imagine the topics of conversation that will take place when these kindred spirits meet on those distant and as yet undiscovered shores.

They will talk about the Special Relationship that exists between the Kingdom of Northumbria and Ultima Thule. Visiting Northumbrian dignitaries always talk about this with Ultima Thule despots, but it amounts to nothing more significant than a series of exchanged platitudes, and may be used as a verbal smokescreen to conceal irritation or resentment.

They will of course congratulate each other on their magnificent achievements in maintaining the rapid downhill political, moral, social and economic descent of their respective spheres of government. It's tough to be at the top of kingdoms that have more debt than the sum total of the entire world's resources. They'll probably exchange top tips about achieving more power and control over the bovine masses, and exacting yet more money out of them through taxation, business and ting.

They'll talk about the removal of their respective soldiers from the expensive and pointless wars of the Bactrian wastelands, who after several decades, are now getting bored and fed up with being attacked by wild turbanned tribesmen for the inconsequential sin of being foreign and being there.

But the real reason for this visit is beyond the narrow vista of the soothsayers. Dagwald Caedmeron - the Supreme Scarlet Emperor and Chief Cock and Bluebottle-Washer of the Tree/Liberationist Administration in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria - is discussing in secret the new tactic adopted by the Kingdom of Northumbria for the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire) Song Contest. For thousands of years, the Northumbrian Kingdom has been warded nul points by the Frankish and Westphalian tribal judges, and Caddy Boy has decided that Enough is Enough. He's announced the latest weapon in the form of Anglebert Gimperdonck - the bejewelled ancient songster from the bowels of Leire's Kingdom.

Being something of a song and dance man himself, Bugrake O'Barmy is well placed to advise him..