It's taken me quite a long time to summon up the courage to make the following admission, and right now I feel it's time to come clean. My Christian education from my human master Caedmeron has developed within me a keen sense of conscience – a quality which should really be confined solely to the human race (after all, they're responsible for the wretched Fall which has unleashed all the fleas, flies, famines, fevers and feebleness of the Present Order of Things). Whatever. I am where I find myself.
It all happened a few months ago, when I was having a cat-to-cat chat with my good friend Lareow – the Senior Rodent Administrator in the household of Dagwald Caedmeron, the Most High and Mighty Mufti of the Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration. I do like to keep in regular touch with my feline friend, as he passes on some very useful titbits of information about the goings-on in the dizzy heights of Northumbrian power. And he's such a gossip – and a wag!
He told me on that particular day that he'd been present at a meeting between Caedmeron, Blaeck Clegge (the Liberationist Faction Supremo and Pretty Boy) and Edweird the Milliner, the Holy Guiding Star of the Redistributionist Faction. When I heard this, I was very surprised; I'd no idea that such a rapport existed between such seeming adversaries as the Caddy Boy/Clegge Alliance and the magic mushroom-chewing Redistributionist cult. But it seems that it does. Whatever. They'd been discussing among themselves as to how they could control the Soothsaying Industry – specifically those under the patronage of the ubiquitous Prince Ruprecht Evil-Merodach - and oblige them to behave themselves, thus preventing further dark revelations about the thieving antics of expense-inventing politicos and other worthless specimens of human detritus. It appears that these three political leaders couldn't agree how to go about the process. How terribly sad.
I stopped and thought for a moment after Lareow had told me this, and, with tongue firmly in cheek, I made the following helpful suggestions:
They should secretly set up a pseudo lobby called 'Browned Off' (named after the colour of the substance that's been scattered so liberally by Prince Rupie's soothsayers over certain miscreants); this group could comprise various members of the celebrity riff-raff and hangers-on who've already been exposed to be cheats, rats and other forms of pond life; surely they'd be willing to give generously in support of the Great Cause of Rupie Control. Lareow looked very intently at me when I told him this.
I then suggested that they should feed the Big Idea of Rupie Control to the Kingdom's beloved pantomime dame and soothsayer Beeby See – and her embittered bosom pals Guardy-Ann and the Windy Pedant; there's no love lost between them and Rupie, and anything that makes them feel even more superior and self-righteous must be a Good Thing. They could play to the heartstrings of the average knuckle-dragging Northumbrian, and they'd shake the issue about for months like a demented terrier, and they'd work it to the point of public nausea. Snigger.
I further suggested that following such exposure of these wonderful and exemplary soothsayers (whose impartial partiality is beyond question), unreflective members of the Northumbrian populace should be carefully screened and selected for their own considered opinions, and the words 'disgusting' and 'shouldn't be allowed' should be listened out for – and encouraged it possible; thus a Groundswell of Public Opinion could be manufactured. A few statistics wouldn't come amiss either. They never fail.
And finally, I suggested to Lareow that they eventually bring the matter up for debate in the Witangemot; by the time it reached there, the public would be desperate to hear about something different, the issue would be cut and dried, and the three members of the infernal trinity could feel very pleased with the outcome – in fact, they could award themselves a huge pay rise and a pat on the back from King Alhftith. Sorted.
How was I to know that my flippant remarks would be relayed by Lareow to the ready lugs of these purveyors of foolishness?
If anyone has put a bounty on my head or tail as a result of this, I ought to point out that I'm not the only white cat in the Northumbrian kingdom – there are thousands of us, and we're breeding like bunnies every day. Must go – I've got some urgent business to attend to. Ta-ta!