Thursday, 10 May 2007

Changing of the Guard

The story so far:

Dour Scot, Captain Gordon Brownadder, a professional soldier in the British Army, has been in the trenches since the start of the Great War. Aided by his batman, the babbling Private Edward Ballsrick, the ambitious Brownadder is anxious to advance his position in the army and is continually frustrating the orders he receives from General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Blair's HQ.

In the Dug-Out

Brownadder: Right, Ballsrick, I'm off to HQ. I'm expecting that damned fool General Blair to finally announce his retirement.

Ballsrick: There's been a lot of talk amongst the troops about who should replace him. Will it be that nice General Cameron?

Brownadder: No it won't, Ballsrick, the last thing we need is another wet-behind-the-ears, rugger-bugger, public school type. This is a modern war not the playing fields of Eton.

Ballsrick: So who should take over then, sir?

Brownadder: I think the prudent strategy would be for an experienced soldier to take over.

Staff HQ

Blair: Alistair, darling, is Brownadder here yet?

Darling: Captain Brownadder has just arrived now, sir.

Blair: Ah, Brownadder! Do sit down.

Brownadder: I'm surprised that you are here, sir, I thought you were in Ireland.

Blair: I've just got back, Brownadder: mission accomplished!

Brownadder: Indeed, sir? What mission was that?

Blair: A Government mission to bring about peace in Ireland, Brownadder.

Brownadder: But the IRA's avowed intent is to create a united independent Ireland!

Blair: Ah yes, Brownadder, but now we've enticed them into a broad-based coalition government. You see it's the traditional British strategy: get the natives to run their own local affairs and then they'll soon find out that they rather like being British.

Brownadder: But these are convicted murderers and terrorists, aren't they?

Blair: Oh yes, Brownadder, so the cut-and-thrust of politics shouldn't come as too much of a shock for them.

Brownadder: Ah!

Blair: Anyway, Brownadder, I've called you here today to announce my forthcoming retirement. I've been in command now for over a decade and it's time for me to move on and let someone else shoulder the burden.

Brownadder: I see, sir, the endless futility of this war would get any man down - you must wonder what we have achieved.

Blair: Not at all, Brownadder, we've achieved a great deal.

Brownadder: Some people might say that we've got ourselves mired in a costly war, completely dependent on the Americans to get us out of it. In terms of our objective to finish the war by Christmas and make Britain a land fit for heroes, we do seem to be some way off the mark.

Blair: Tish and tosh, Brownadder! I think you'll find that this war has a lot more popular support than you imagine - that's why they call it the Great War. Anyway, we have a terrific new plan to end the war.

Brownadder: What's that, sir?

Blair: Passchendaele, Brownadder, a large area of marshy ground that our artillery can turn into endless mud - thus isolating the Germans in their well-defended pillboxes and machine-gun nests while our tanks and troops advance towards them.

Brownadder: Hardly a new plan is it, sir?

Blair: Well, admittedly we have used the same tactics and in the same place a couple of time before - but third time lucky, eh, Brownadder!

Brownadder: I'm sure that's what the German General Von Kameron will be hoping.

Blair: I'm sure he's quaking in his impregnable concrete bunker even as we speak; and well he might, Brownadder, because you will be the man to co-ordinate this offensive. There are a few formalities to go through, but within a few weeks I'm confident that you will be promoted to General and taking over from me here at HQ.

Brownadder: Well, sir, what an unexpected honour.

Blair: Yes, it is a bit unexpected, but I want you to know that you were my first choice as successor.

Brownadder: So this list of crossed-out names on your desk isn't all the other people you tried first?

Blair: No, no, of course not.

Brownadder: Despite the fact that it says: list of people to promote instead of Brownadder? Captain Milliband, Captain Reid, Captain Clarke, Private Ballsrick?

Blair: Now then, Brownadder, you know I've always supported you.

Brownadder: Indeed, sir, and I have always supported you.

Later, In the Dug-Out

Ballsrick: So how does it feel to have all that you have sought finally within reach?

Brownadder: Great, Ballsrick: Command of the Western Front, the chance to run things properly, the chance to tell that General Cameron exactly what I think of him.

Ballsrick: But isn't it funny, sir, that no-one else wanted the job.

Brownadder: Hmmm

The End

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