Monday, 31 December 2007
"Nothing is more important to the future of the Family than our precious bambinos. And nothing is more pernicious to the future of our children than the scourge of the modern-day Fagins in the advertising industry, who prey on their innocence with offers of Cheesy McNuggets, Triple thick-shakes, and extra-large McFlurry Sundaes.
Sometimes they even enhance their offers with plastic representations of what my friend Mr. Eno tells me are popular children's characters like Harry Potter, JaJa Binks and Lembit Opik.
Only yesterday I was sitting down a breakfast of organic cheeses and home-baked nut-bread, that I had prepared for Mrs. Clegg and the children, when my youngest demanded a Triple Sausage McMuffin with Curly Fries.
I was so angry I put six bullets into our plasma screen TV, as most sensible parents under unbearable pressure would, and have banned them from watching Horrid Henry... unless they cry a lot, in which case they can watch Bratz... on DVD, when Signor Alexander has replaced the television.
Advertising to children is a blight on the modern Family. Consequently the Directors of several publicity agencies have been marked as legitimate targets until such a time as my toddler stops making unreasonable demands for Happy Meals and mini-Whoppers.
This does not include my friend Gavin Grant, whose company Burson-Marsteller has an entirely wholesome relationship with popular toys of high educational value."
Saturday, 29 December 2007
This totally original idea for Liberali Family. It not like us to demand a big committee meeting to sort out problems. Or have not much in the way of clue what we want out of big chat, other than to be there nattering in first place.
Already I anticipate cugine and solidati will be rising from slumber to cheer brave dawn of this inspirational idea. Don Brown and Hollywood Don Cameron will not know how to respond to the wave of popular cheering that will greet this electrifying call to sit down and have nice cups of tea for several years before actually deciding anything.
Hooray for brave new world of Liberali Family... moving forward not backward... unless that what Big Talk say we should do... after due consideration... in fullness of time... talking to outside world... not each other...
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
"Fratelli, it gives me great pleasure on this Winterva... I mean Christmas Day to thank-you for all your hard-work for the Family. It is important on this day, to remember the essential of message of Christmas. A message for which I have great respect, even if I don't necessarily believe it. The message of giving.
A theme then of my leadership of the Family will be social justice. It is simply wrong for the Families to be stealing more from the poor than we do from the rich. While I don't believe in crimes of envy, I have great respect for those that do, and consequently we must redouble our efforts to redress the imbalance. I do not want to hear any more reports from the street of soldati preying on the meek, vulnerable and homeless, although there maybe some exceptions.
Another theme of leadership will be education. Nothing is more important to me than education, except social justice, which is nearly as important as education. I hope that is clear.
It is simply wrong at this stage of the 21st century that thousands of inductees to the Family are living lives filled with ignorance and poverty as a result of decades of Labouristi and Conservatori dogma dictating the way we educate our cugine.
It is important we return control over mentoring of our young to the streets where they belong. Unless that results in unequal outcomes, at which point we will introduce brutal central control at the earliest opportunity. I hope the consistency, distinctiveness and uniqueness of that approach, taking us out of comfort zones, is as inspiring as it is daunting in this new era of Family professionalism.
I would once again like to thank the Family for their loyalty, particularly Signor Huhne whose warm endorsement of my authority and friendship is the greatest gift I could have hoped for this Yuletide. We hope our gift of a single lump of coal to warm the Huhne-Cave this winter will be both welcomed and a sound reminder of our social justice challenge ahead.
Happy Holiday and Seasonal Greetings, one and all
Thursday, 20 December 2007
"Ladies, gentleman, welcome" say Don Clegg "I am glad to see so many of you here. Old hands, new faces, those of you who supported me and those of you only lately persuaded. We have much to do...."
I begin to nod off as the Don repeat well rehearsed speech. Through half-haze of waking-sleep I look around room at winners and losers in regime change.
Old-Don Campbell not here of course, although he spending his time reviewing our military capacity. "I get to think about who needs to be shot and how quickly", he tell me cheerfully on phone last night. I then pretty sure he start humming "I got a little list, and they'll none of them be missed".
Signor Huhne is there of course, he thanking Don Clegg for his new role in old job as Capo for Criminal Affairs. "The Don was wise to recognise that this has become an area of significant weakness for us. I will do my best to repair the damage." His ally Signora Featherstone standing at back looking bit grumpy. She been given post looking after Troubled Cugine.
Signor Opik, who also get moved from Rackets to Slums, in better spirits. Before meeting going round colleagues doing routine I no understand. He say "Who's this..." he then flick his hair, scowl, and say "Cugine? Am I bothered... face... bothered... bothered... face..." Colleague then look clueless... and he say "I'm Signora Featherstone" before bursting into hysterical laughter.
He very odd.
Wee Willie Rennie new on the team to prove we still like Sicilians in kilts after ditching Don Kennedy and Don Campbell. He get to organise high-level intimidation sessions. He great, he only Capo in Family able to carry bag of coal that weigh about same as Signora Teather up mountain, despite only being 4 ft tall, and carrying an Uzi in his sporran.
Signora Kramer and Signor Baker have swapped roles. He now Getaway Cars and she now Family Values, although this now awfully confusing with Don not being Catholic. Signor "The Professor" Webb gets Enviro-rackets, Signora Goldsworthy gets to shoot Capitani that misbehave, Signor Moore back in old Smuggling Development role, reporting to Signor Davey who now his boss, and Signor Browne, Capo Don Ashdown liked to call Mini-me, join Signor Cable's team to help with Money Laundering. All else unchanged.
"and that concludes this meeting" say Don Clegg "thank you for attending one and all and keeping your snoring to a minimum Signor Liberali."
It good to be thought of as special by the Don.
I regret humble interweb skills not up to taking picture of whole desktop. Besides little worried old-Don Campbell might recognise leather-embossed olive-wood item that appear suddenly in Liberali family home-office yesterday. Not sure why there list of Capos in drawer either with word Bastardos at the top.
Still able to share picture I use as backdrop on iMac, it snapshot Capo Davey send me from his holiday in New York last year. He most upset, says his sympathetic attempts to dress like locals not go down at all well. He now though looking forward to getting out dressing-up box all over world in new role as Smuggling Shadow.
In spirit of game though I tag Shorty, Nogeek, Hapless, Polecat, and The Knife.
Cowley Printworks is buzzing with rumours we soon to have awards ceremonies for:
Best gossip by an asylum seeker, hosted by "Liberali for less Sicilians"
Queenie bitch of the year award, hosted by "Liberali Gay Mafia"
Best gossip by student with nothing better to do that write diary all day while pretending to study, and whining about debt before blowing loan on cyber-sex in Second Life, hosted by "Liberali Cugine"
Most exciting gossip about saving local Post Office, hosted by "Liberali Association of Local Capitani"
Gossip that make us look like professionals, hosted by "Liberali Wannabe-Capo Association"
Any mention of us whatsoever, hosted by "Liberali Agitants & Thugs"
Liberali Union Thugs, Association of Liberali Pointy-Heads, and Liberali Flat-Landers also thinking about joint award ceremonies for any gossip by their members that understood in outside world.
Biggest problem been for Liberali Tree-huggers who want to hold awards for any gossip distributed without using electricity.
Commenting on exciting new progress Signor "Tango" Alexander, Don Clegg's new Consigliore say
"Naturally the Don is delighted that the first response to his call to reach outside the Family to reconnect with intimidating issues that matter to real people, is for an outbreak of introspective self-congratulation on the part of the Family's valuable quangos. It gives him real inspiration and hope for the struggles ahead."
Today they launch competition to address problem of unfair perception that most Liberali diarists extremely unattractive.
- Hottest Liberali gossip that not Signor 'shorty' Tall or any other man
- Best bit of gossip by a Liberali that make you all hot and bothered under collar (no men or elephants)
- Hottest gossip outside Liberali Family, although this might already be won. Again no men, monkeys, or other life-forms.
The winners, who be judged by team of really important former beauty-queens, professional gossips, and Signor Graham, will be blessed by chance to appear in lots of photos with Don Clegg to promote new Family values of inclusion, diversity and exceptional dentistry.
There also going to be 'Family choice' award that be decided by wider Family community, using a swoonometer.
I really excited by this new progressive contest, but Signora Liberali ban me from researching who I nominate.
Spend too much time already on diary and interweb she say. So all humble man of honour can do is encourage you, my fellow Liberali, to make your nominations to this link
This switch to atheism may be refreshing change. And besides Signora Clegg still bringing up Clegg bambinos in right way, so I still send Clegg family Christmas card with nice pictograph of prodigal son returning to family in end.
We also now have Brian Eno teaching the Don about Cliff Richard so he not embarassed by any paparazzi asking him about his favourite Christmas number ones. This year I backing Bleeding Love for top slot, it certainly has Signor Rennard boogieing around Printworks today.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
"Never mind," I say "it only old one, not in great condition, not like you break one of new shiny cats."
"Not for want of effort" I pretty sure I here Signor Davey mutter from other end of office. Signor Grant scowl at us both.
Don Clegg come in accompanied by some bloke I pretty sure I see on Crystal Maze many years ago.
"Gentleman really great you could join me today. Let me introduce you to Brian. Brian say hello to Signors Liberali, Davey and Grant. Brian, boys, is a real rock star."
"That great," I say "Don Campbell was always banging on about Arctic Monkeys, you with them?"
"No, Nick is very kind but I'm more of a producer these days, I used to be Roxy Music."
We look blank.
"Er... Virgina Train... For your pleasure... Brian Ferry..."
"Oh yeah," I interject "Ferry cross the Mersey... that brilliant song"
Brian clearly impressed by my knowledge as he look wide-eyed towards Don Clegg.
"Thank-you Don Liberali, but history is not all that important right now, we are here to look forward not backwards. Brian has come to help advise us on reaching out to the young and disaffected."
We looking blank again.
"The thing is gentlemen, the Liberali are out of touch. We talk to ourselves. We need to reach outside our comfort zones and talk to the next generation, our youth, the dispossessed, to those who don't see any need to engage with the Family. Brian can help us do that."
"You saying he know all about doing business touching dispossessed children comfort zones?" I ask "Belgium Family did something like that a while back. Not end well though. Family really not going to be happy about this Padrino?"
Signor Grant drop whole box of pottery. Everyone starring at me taking in gravity of dangerous situation.
"Er no Signor Liberali this is about a building new kind of Family not child prostitution. This is Brian Eno not Gary Glitter."
"It maybe better if you help Signor Grant with the pottery for the next few minutes before we head off to Rotherhithe. Thank-you for your help."
So I got to meet real live rock star today who going help us reconnect with young people into same music I was. It sure is exciting being taken out of comfort zones.
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
They pleased to inform me also that my 512 selectors in Little Sicily decide en masse to back Don Clegg today so that my loyalty to new regime not in doubt. Signora Liberali apparently very helpful in securing my safe return by gathering support personally, not always at gun-point.
I got to say though that compared to team-Huhne these Cleggies are bunch of candy-assed softies when it comes to intimidation. You know where you are with the Huhnies. When I say to Signor Oakeshott that I thinking about decision, he smack me in the face, knee me in groin and yell insults about my mother at me for good half hour. He good man. Signora Featherstone force me to listen to endless tape of local residents in Horny Green talking about broken pavements until my ears bleed and I screaming for mercy. She mighty impressive at getting a point across.
Signor Allen on other hand offer me nice cup of tea and sticky bun. Signors Greenland, Wright, and Sherlock try and create an air of menace by making cell dank and miserable, but Signor Allen keep creeping in with fluffy pillows and insisted on installing anti-SAD sunlamp. I so confused by end of six weeks that I now not sure who I supported.
Still we now all move on united. Signor Huhne issue statement
"I am fucking delighted to be serving under the wise-leadership of Don Clegg. Hoo-fucking-ray for the Don. Huzzey fetch my cheering baton, I feel like doing a march of joy for the fucking leader of men we now have amongst us. Whoopee-fucking-do."
Don Clegg say:
"I am ambitious for the Liberali Family and filled with with confidence that we can go forward together united, even the sour-faced grumpy old man whose Family career is now considered over by every serious commentator, despite no doubt playing an important role in my new regime... for now!"
It sure is good to be part of new dawn for Family. I pleased I back right man, whoever that was.
Monday, 5 November 2007
This bad news for us. The sooner we start cugine on road of honour, more likely it is that they become made in the Family.
Last thing we need is bored listless youths come to us late, brainwashed with qualifications in town planning and web-design, when they could have been smuggling tobacco for two years. Who we going to sell knock-off fags to if young people all in school, not working down docks or skimming welfare?
So much for joined-up thinking. Labouristi sure not paying attention when they in school I think. Only Liberali family care about plight of young criminals.
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Today he announce to world:
"I'm sick of the hypocrisy in the mafia. It is completely evident that the Labouristi are a bunch of corrupt criminals who have been selling Family membership. If I am wrong let them sue me."
Great-grandad Liberali joined Family in 1920s when Don Welshie sold him a place in the Old Capo's Home. But times change, Families all agree this not good business, and I earn my place in old fashioned way.
Signor Huhne is right, last thing we need is bunch of Labouristi criminals bringing men of honour into disrepute.
Monday, 29 October 2007
"The thing is Liberali", say Shameless "we need a Don with the vision to succeed and experience to lead. Signor Huhne, as you know has provided the Family with most of our best ideas of the last few years, and now he leading on bringing peace between the families by proposing we rule out any return to the Mattanza of the 1980s."
"What unilaterally?" I say
"Not exactly" interject Dr. Evil "Clearly we still need a deterrent of some kind. However the Mattanza is an outdated concept. The old war is over. We're no longer in a world of extremes. Today's threats are more nuanced. Would you like me to explain to you about nuanced threats Liberali?"
I thinking probably not.
"What Signor Oakeshott is saying" continue Shameless "is there's no point us mimicking Labouristi and Conseratvori. We need to be distinctive. The Mattanza threat no longer protects business like it used to. Only Signor Huhne has the strength of leadership to deliver a new solution."
"Well I sure think about it" I say, flicking notes on table as I head for exit
"Not for too long I hope Liberali..." mutter Dr. Evil "...the Mattanza has a way of catching up with you if you think about it too much."
Sunday I hanging around outside Cowley Printworks, missing Signora Campbell, my usual smoking partner, when I accosted by two of BabyDon's men, Nice Guy Ricky and Gavin "the Shadow" Grant.
"Liberali" say Ricky "smashing to see you, I was just to saying to Signor Clegg how super it would be if you could come and join us for a caramel macchiato soon. I've just been showing Gavin here how to find one on my wonderful new GPS Starbucks locator..."
"Yes it's a fucking delight." interrupt the Shadow "Anyhow we can't stop long we have some work to do on Signor Clegg's message to the Family. I'm thinking the 'United Territories Liberali Future' should be the over-arching theme... but don't let me bore you with my excessively technical communications jargon."
"You mean like old Signor Oaten fan-club?" I say "That sure brave decision given what happen to him."
"No Liberali" he say through gritted teeth "This is an entirely different proposition based on taking us out of our comfort zones and ending the inward looking naval-gazing."
Strangely these words do not dispel image of Signor Oaten's misfortune.
"For example" say Ricky, gently patting the Shadow on the forearm until he unclenches his fists, "This business with ruling out the use of the Mattanza. Signor Clegg agrees with that of course, but it can't be us acting alone. Real peace requires establishing multilateral agreement with our enemies. It's the easiest thing in the world to declare you're abandoning the old ways. Real leadership requires understanding how to deliver radical change, not just talking about it."
"And the ruthless punishment of traitors." conclude the Shadow "I sincerely hope you will not be giving us any grounds for suspecting your loyalty Liberali. Personally I'd welcome the opportunity to have a 'cause for' moment with some of the old lags, but perhaps it will not be necessary?"
"You can rely on me" I say dropping fag ash all over my shoes, before finding urgent need to be elsewhere, "I no want to experience Mattanza from anyone."
I sorely impressed by both camps ideas and powers of persuasion.
Monday, 22 October 2007
Initially scam seem like really good idea. I out with Capo 'Jolly' Roger Williams in Little Sicily one day enjoying selling his organic apple moonshine he bring in from Llandrindod Wells. I not remember much about that day but at some point we get to talking about risks of smuggling various things past Untouchables and what to do about it.
Lot of stray animals in Little Sicily, result of dog-fighting breeding programme gone wrong, so at some point we end up experimenting tying little parcels underneath them see if we can train them to deliver. It not work bad. Particularly pleased when they respond to commands to bite nosey men in uniform who get too curious.
Jolly though say to me:
"Liberali, we don't have so many dogs in RaddyBrek, but we sure got lot of badgers. I've been training them to deliver my Focus Threats for years... strikes me that while it's unaffordable to send cugine to sell special Family products to isolated rural villages and farmers, the badger-express could be just the ticket..."
So anyway rest history. We nearly thought game up four years ago when former top Labouristi enforcer in Wales Ron Davies reported to be watching for our badgers in motorway layby we sometimes used for reloading the parcels.
Happily it turn out he just cruising for rough sex with strangers.
Although sure gave some of boys a shock when the explanation offered for their own presence in layby - 'looking to strap a package on a badger', elicited quite an unexpected response from Signor Davies.
Anyhow now turn out that side-effect of national network of 'Liberali badger-express rural relief programme' appear to have infected half of cattle in Territories with TB, so public-spirited Labouristi currently considering auctioning rights to deal with problem to the assorted badger haters in the National Union of Mammal-Stranglers.
It not help much that old Capo for RaddyBrek Signor Livesey, now residing in Old Don's Home greet news by grabbing baseball bat and cheering "Let me at the stripy-rat buggers, I'll give'em what for, what"... but otherwise we united.
Besides I have great idea, we going to train badgers to vaccinate cattle, we call it National Badger Service Direct. That no work, well there always ferrets.
Sunday, 21 October 2007
My decision have nothing to do with alleged rumour of offer of top job in inner circle of either Signor "BabyDon" Clegg or Signor "Carbonator" Huhne. I man of principle. And while I appreciate many paesan want more choice in competition. I old Liberali, I no like either choice or competition. So forget about it.
Further I just like to say I appreciate BabyDon and Carbonator's comments to me about wanting to move on from nasty image Family develop under previous Don. As sign of new way forward, Signor Huhne already release Signora Liberali from hospitality suite in Huhne-Cave, and Signor Clegg agree to unshackle me from radiator in Cowley Print-works. I grateful to both.
I sure whatever happen next Liberali Family will soon choose new Don, and no person or dog have to get hurt like bad old days under Don Thorpe.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
"It business not personal Mike," he say "only Don Cable has instructed me to ensure Capo Liberali hits you with this rather big stick every time you put foot in mouth about your colleagues... until you stop doing it."
"Ah ha... then you're one of them... oh yes you are..." say Capo Hancock
"And who is 'them' Mike?"
"The plotters, the filthy shits who bought down Don Camp..."
"I really not enjoy this Mike" I say
"They're conspiring in dark corners you know... whispering... lurking... smirking... bringing about our doom..."
"This hurt me more than it hurt you"
"I can see the black helicopters mummy... it's plotters in choppers... they're spinning in circles around meeee..."
"now I break old stick Mike, see what you've done"
"Yooouuu just hate the stick because it's old... what's wrong with an old stick... an old stick has just as much right to be a piece of wood as a sapling... now you're plotting against the stick..."
"Please try and concentrate Mike", say KallKwik "Don Campbell has just been on telephone to the Family talking about why paparazzi to blame for making his job impossible."
"Better, what are you not going to do tomorrow when we let you out of the basement?"
"An answer that will suffice for now. Thank-you Mike, please feel free to nibble the furniture while you contemplate Family discipline tonight."
I dispatched to go find new stick for tomorrow... just to be sure...
Hour or so later Singors Cable and Hughes call meeting of Family Capos and looking very grave announce to us Don Campbell decide to spend more time with Signora Campbell writing his Olympic memoirs. Signor Cable now acting Don until new Padrino emerge from Family ruthless elevation procedure.
Signor Cable say "The Don decided that rather than let speculation drag on for months he would take the honourable path of rolling up his duties and letting a younger man take the Family on to greater things. He doesn't want any phonecalls, and would prefer to left alone for a good long time to give you all space."
Old Don Kennedy add "How awful, I am sad, this is a truely miserable day for Liberali Family. My door is open should people wish to come and console themselves with me." He then get up and do little tap dance of woe out of room.
Signors Clegg and Huhne eye each other suspicously. Signor Webb is winking at Signor Hughes, and Signor Opik is winking at Signoras Kramer and Goldsworthy, but it making them uncomfortable.
"Who you backing Liberali" hiss Signor Oaten to me
"I backing whoever ask me to back them... Safest way to stay alive... Hooray for Don Cable", I shout.
We all cheer and file out to start plotting. It dark outside and I notice no Signora Campbell there to offer me friendly cigarette.
Seem ever so little bit colder than just few weeks ago.
I pull overcoat about me and dream of warm future.
Saturday, 13 October 2007
"Right, I've had just about enough of this. You are my enforcers, what are you doing about stopping this whispering campaign?"
"Well technically Don Campbell," mutter Signor Davey "It's not a whispering campaign when the idiots are publishing websites called doncampbellmustgo.com and setting up new associated organisations like the Liberali Campaign for Urgent Review of Euthanasia law. More like an open revolt really, albeit a small one we will soon crush in the usual way."
"Thank-you for that helpful analysis Davey" say the Don, clenching his fists "and why is it exactly that the usual crushing has not yet taken place?"
"Personally I blame the paparazzi." I say "They always down on us an we can't afford to wet their beaks in the same way as the Labouristi and Conservatori. It very easy for them to pick up on dissent in ranks and stir it up. You knock it down in one place and it soon up again in another."
"Yes again Liberali a scintillating insight, it does not though enlighten me as to why it is that Signor Hughes is not currently enjoying the magnificent sight of sunlight breaking on the gentle undulations of the Thames from the bottom of it."
"Well he not exactly called for you to go" I say "more made encouraging noises about how he looking forward to you showing your full potential. You know the same sort of thing you used to say about Don Kennedy."
He is glaring at me. "You must have a chat with Signora Campbell at some point soon Signor Liberali. She had to help Signor Clegg with his helpful communication skills recently."
"Padrino" interject Signor Davey "we will sort this out. The Family, in the main, do not like dissent in the ranks. No one wants another internal crisis at a time when both the other Families are breathing down our necks looking for weakness. Where local rumbles are actually kicking off we are holding our own and on occasion advancing. The fear in the Capos is what might happen in a wider conflagration when our resources are stretched thin. The best defence you have against that concern becoming dangerous is to continue to reform the Family. You must continue what you started."
"What I started... Signor Davey when you and the other Capo approached me and said 'Signor Campbell, the Don can't make today's Westminster rumble because he has a tummy ache... the Don has a strange virus again... the Don is singing about his ginger winkie on the roof of the Printworks... please help us... please lead the Family out of this crisis... I do not recall it being my instigation or a solo mission. A little loyalty and gratitude from your colleagues would not go amiss."
"You can count on us." I say "Only other day paparazzi call me up to put you down and I put him straight in no uncertain terms that we not be putting up with this for another 18 months."
Signor Davey and Signor Campbell giving me funny look. I think it time to leave and get to work on dissenters before Signora Campbell come to discussion. I going to see 'Shorty' Tall about dealing with the webweasels, apparently they all mental, or at least that what he tell me, so should be no problem getting them sectioned. All in a day work for the Don.
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
All last month Don Brown been dropping hints that he going to start big rumble in the Territories. But now he back-down, shoulders little more stooped, smug grin not to big, and Labouristi not looking so clever.
"Is this the mighty Don Brown" yell Don Cameron "I'd heard the most fearsome Don in the Territories was going to be here tonight, but all I can see is Jimmie Krankie's dwarf brother and his gang of hermaphrodite groin lice. Is this the first man of honour in history to call off a rumble because he thought he'd get his suit creased?"
"I don't believe I need to dignify the ravings of a moon-faced cross-dressing show-girl with a response" respond Don Brown "Clearly the public have no appetite for war in this unprecedented era of peace under my leadership. Only last year you were the ma... half-man who promised to end the tired era of puppet-show punch-ups, yet this is yo..."
At this moment he is drowned out by Conservatori backing choir singing chorus of "Pack up your spine in your old kit bag and scowl, Gordy, scowl"
I nudge Don Campbell. "Go on Don, kick him when he down".
"Patience, Liberali, patience" say Don Campbell, "My cravat is not quite straight"
"And another thing" yell Don Cameron "when's he going to keep his promise to allow us all to wet our beaks on the changes to the great Euro-scam. He says it's not the same grift. It's as though Don Blair had never left." Colleague chip in "Show us your big clunking fist Gordina"
Don Brown turning distinctly crimson coloured, Signora Blears is hopping up and down like angry hamster with bladder problem.
"Would you both mind terribly not stealing our best swindles... please" say quiet voice of authority.
"Piss off baldy" hiss Signor 'bulging' Balls from nearby.
'Three cheers for Don Campbell' we all say as one. Then we all piss off. I not like this silly tradition much.
Monday, 8 October 2007
"This is a recorded message from the Labouristi. If you love Don Brown press one. If you think Don Cameron is hopeless press two. If you think Don Campbell is too old press three."
And so it go on.
Eventually I get so fed up I shout back
"Look, Signora Harman, I appreciate you mighty grateful to Don Brown for giving you job in call centre, but if you don't take me off your intimidation list I going to find way of making this phone connect with you permanently."
Line go silent for minute, with sound of uncomfortable shuffling on other end of phone, then go dead. I get no more calls that night. Thank goodness we never stoop so low.
Saturday, 6 October 2007
"Liberali" he say "while Don Campbell may in public have being saying the Liberali Family are ready for whatever Don Brown and Don Cameron might throw at them after their seaside rumbles, the reality might be somewhat different."
"No kidding" I say "I being doing audit of Little Sicily regime and unless local Labouristi gang also happen to consist of 20 little old ladies with knitting needles, two criminal studies students, a 16 year-old RISO battery, and Signora Liberali's very hard stare, we not in great shape."
"Mmmm 20" he say "I couldn't borrow 10 of the little old ladies for Richmond could I?"
I practice Signora Liberali's hard stare.
"Are you constipated Signor Liberali?" he ask "Anyhow that's not why I'm here. No serious trouble is expected in Little Sicily when there are more tempting targets for our opponents elsewhere. What we need to do now is avoid a conflict rather than fight under-prepared."
"How we going to do that?"
"Well Don Brown, like Don Blair before him is very reliant on the gossip vine to tell him when and where to fight. Organised gossip monitors like YouSnitch and ISeeEm are regularly in and out of the Queen Street compound whispering in his ear. Currently we understand they're not entirely impressed by our fighting form or that of the Conservatoris. We need to impress upon them that this impression is false."
"How can a humble solider of the Don help?"
"We've found out where the gossip monitors gather some of their information... this is what I want you to do..."
So one week later I and my little old ladies are in a known Family haunt in Barbican Towers overlooking YouSnitch HQ with Signor Gove of the Conservatoris and a dozen spotty urchins from the local Conservatori Future chapter. The main room of the Base has large windows that are covered with thin drapes and every so often we send some of the team past the windows carrying cardboard cut-outs of large number of busy looking men of honour and oversized weapons.
This afternoon then we not so surprised to see Don Brown announce that he sees the wisdom of peace, and that although it is his fondest desire to rid the territories of the scourge of the Conservatori and Liberali families for ever, now is the time to let the big tent Family bed in.
Don Campbell has called him a big sissy-girl who not fit to run whelk stall let alone the United Territories. Or at least he due to say that until Signora Swinson point out that Liberali sissy-girl fraternity contain some of our most effective assassins and have notorious dislike of old-style Family language.
So no fanfare, no celebration, the only sound in Little Sicily this evening is that of knitting needles being sharpened.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Accompanying me on doorstep are two old Liberali cronies, Linda 'the Knife' Jack and Tom 'Liberali Polecat' Papworth, reliable goombas who can be trusted in shake down for the Don.
I just finish helping local university professor understand wisdom of contribution to Liberali plans to stop Labouristi charging entry to his students when Jack the Knife take to me to one side.
"Liberali" she say "I can't help but notice that every time you target a house it's the man you demand gives you the money."
"Um si, I feel more comfortable that way, it's what I know."
"Well it's not very fair is it?"
"Look, we're never going to create an equal Family if we constantly reinforce gender stereotypes in our intimidation techniques. It's bad enough that of the three of us out tonight, two of us are white Sicilian men, shocking actually when we consider lovely Signor Fiyaz is available and so very experienced and energetic at putting the frighteners on."
"I sorry about my colour, tan tend to fade when out of Sicily more than two months. I ask Signor Fiyaz about tonight but he off with Signor Hughes attempting to recruit some ex-Tamil Tigers for special ops against his Singhalese rival Signora Fernando."
"Fascinating, but not my point..., observe"
She walk up to next door and ring bell. MAYHEM intimidation card tell me family of public sector professionals live there. A couple open the door.
"Helloooo, Ms. and Mr. Postlewaite is it...? lovely... can I interest you in the protection of Don Campbell?"
The man begin to speak.
"Sorry love I was talking to Ms. Postlewaite... Janice isn't it... red really suits you... these trying times must be so hard to make ends meet what with all the nonsense the Labouristi have been up to with your jobs..."
Polecat drift over to observe as well... conversation continue for a couple of minutes, couple smile a lot, Mr. Postlewaite occasionally look very sheepish. Soon Jack the Knife is back with big bunch of notes.
"See" she say, "all it takes sometimes is a woman's touch. Mrs. Postlewaite has made a handsome contribution and agreed to put up a poster of Signora Kramer, Mr. Postlewaite has agreed it's absolutely disgraceful that he earns 20% more than his wife and doubled her contribution, adding 40% by way of apology for his gender's crimes against wimmin."
We very impressed.
Polecat though take me aside and say.
"That's all very well for these modern progressive families, it doesn't work though in the streets with big houses where the Conservatori used to hold power, before Hollywood Don Cameron decided they were going to ditch their old territories to reach the people who shop at Primark. Allow me to demonstrate."
He take us down more salubrious street near Little Sicily Riviera and select family who both work in banking sector.
"Hello Mr. Jermyn" he say when man in pin-striped trousers, red braces and stripy shirt open door "Ede and Ravenscroft I see, exceptional tailoring, tell me have you ever thought about diversifying your portfolio into Signor Huhne's renewable hedge fund... Signor Cable's protection against inheritance theft perhaps...?"
He again continue for several minutes and come back with handsome bankers bond that should see little Liberali through university, whatever Labouristi do to them...
It sure good to get out in community with friends.
Thursday, 20 September 2007
"What I like best about my good friend Signor Clegg is his courage. Personally I wouldn't have announced to a room full of Sicilians that I wanted to open the United Territories to waves of immigrants after their jobs and homes. But I salute his bravery in doing so. It shows true commitment to courting unpopularity for the Family in an era of flim-flam merchants chasing the easy score."
"Grazie Signor," say BabyDon "what I like best about my eccellente and loyal friend Capo Huhne is his vision. His notion, for example, that we should put the squeeze on all forms of motor transport by 2040 goes far beyond suggestions made by more modest and cautious men of honour. His thinking is so far ahead of more ordinary and humble citizens that in less enlightened times he might have been referred to as a mystic or seer. So much more refreshing than the easy reassurance of the popular."
"My colleague is too kind," say Carbonator "and it reminds me of another one of his qualities, his ability to adopt many of the mannerisms of our opponents, old Don Blair and Hollywood Don Cameron. Some might have looked at these superficial fly-by-night opportunists with disdain. But my friend sees aspects of their characters that he much admires. It is a tribute to his adaptability."
"My life-long amico is of course correct" repost BabyDon "learning from your enemies and an interest in winning are two of my interests. I on the other hand admire his traditionalism and appeal to Moustache Petes who have been fighting for the Family in the same way since the 1970s without ever seeing the need to adopt the tactics and techniques of larger more successful Families. It gives him a real homely appeal."
"It is of course good of my esteemed and respected collaboratore to highlight his association with the much admired 'right-on' wing of the Family." comment Carbonator "While many would shy away from the ideas espoused by his former employer Conservatori Commissar Leon Brittain, he does not flinch from that controversy. It is most refreshing."
"It is equally refreshing of my admired and eminent accomplice to have reinvented himself as a champion of the 'left-behinds'," add BabyDon. "Some would have said his seven homes, former career exploiting bankers, and application of market-stall solutions to traditional forms of violence against the vulnerable would have made him naturally right-on. However that former Labouristi, kicked out for having views too 'committed' for that Family, are flocking to his banner, is a source of pride for all of us. I will have no hesitation in labelling this movement the new Huhney Left as a token of my deep respect."
At that moment Signora Campbell enter the room
"The Don would like to see you both..." she say acidly "... now... he has some matters of respect to discuss."
I sure glad my fringe theme already influencing highest ranks of Family. BabyDon and Carbonator and get up and start walking out. Crowded room though, so it hard for them to avoid feet connecting with each other shins as they leave. Don Campbell is lucky to have such articulate men of honour in a hurry to see him.
Monday, 17 September 2007
"When today I referred to the emerging economic superpowers of China and Italy, I did of course intend to say Calabria and Sicily. That's what comes of spending all morning talking to Signor Foster about bloody tourism, rather than thinking about Family business."
Signor Davey added:
"Anyone can make a mistake, Don Campbell though is safely entrenched in our London Territories, tittle-tattle that he about to be sent to sticks in Jockland entirely idle speculation."
Signor Cable also commented:
"Further the Don did not intend to say that he wants the Family to 'hammer the rich'. That would be barbaric. We find a good slapping with glove usually sufficient to get the fat-cat wimps to open their wallets."
"I also need to add" say Don Campbell "that when I was reported to have said I'm a failure earlier today, the report missed the end of that sentence which added in the eyes of treacherous ungrateful vicious old whiners like former Capo Rodgers, who simply bitter that Don Brown only interested in talking to former colleagues Williams and Owen when seeking advice for Labouristi big tent. Phewee what a bitter anonymous miseryguts, who cares what he thinks."
"I am not a soundbite-era Don, so I can quite understand how that nuanced position might have been missed by lazy useless paparazzi swine."
Signor Davey further added:
"When I referred to Jockland as 'the sticks', I was of course misquoted, for which I apologise. I did of course intend to say, 'welfare dependent backwater full of disloyal ginger old lags who should know better than break omertà after after night on the tiles'."
Seem Signor Opik's handling my 'donation' to Hornsey Green intimidation fund go little awry, as photo below show.
Happily I able to direct Committee to Opik hotel room in dodgy downtown Brighton fleshpots so they let me off with mild beating. Signor Opik seem likely due for second handgliding accident.
Anyway with unwelcome attention, and fearsome enforcers like those above lurking in dark viuzzi, I think I need more protection.
So Liberal Mafia is recruiting. If you made man or woman of honour from around United Territories with gift for understanding affairs of Family, and too much time on hands, do write to me with sample of handiwork at email@example.com.
Omertà paesano, omertà
Sunday, 16 September 2007
Dear Committee for Diary-Control,
It is with regret I inform you I cannot be with you in person at Grand Awards Ceremony of Liberali Family Association of Tittle-tattlers, Scandalmongers and Egomaniacs.
I instead busy with Don Campbell and team tonight, learning about important items on Family Conference Agenda. I very impressed by pending discussions on encouraging bullying, pulling teeth, building more slums, and making prison more bearable for men of honour by putting less women inside.
We sure are most progressive Family in United Territories.
I would though like to thank the Committee for short-listing me for this special-needs monitoring award. I particularly grateful to last year overall winner, ‘Shorty’ Tall for making it clear to me that all that required to win is the provision of donation, to Hornsey Green Intimidation Fund.
“A ‘pony’ should be enough” he say
I simple man and no understand why Signora Featherstone need pony, but figure Cowley Print-works not miss one of old delivery-nags, so go one better and procure reliable work horse, from Signor Rennard. Seem he wear them out quick these days.
Big problem though how to get horse to Brighton in time for ceremony.
Fortunately my friend Signor Opik have solution. He coming to Brighton by helicopter this year and can carry horse in harness.
He say “So long I as I don’t get distracted by pretty Romanian co-pilots and let the horse go wondering near the rotor blades we’re in good shape. You can trust me Liberali”
So I hope the little horse, I call her Galloping Lamido, find you well and we still good for award.
Signor Opik assure me all go according to plan, so I looking forward to meeting with 'Shorty', 'Nogeek', and 'the Aggregator', behind Grand Hotel at midnight where they say they going to give me special thank-you for package.
Signor Opik oddly no want cut for delivery, and had to run very fast to get to his next appointment. He great guy and very fit, no wonder he knockout with all ladies in Liberali youth.
Saturday, 15 September 2007
Don Campbell has selected Green Scams, We Want Some of the Action Now! as the theme for gathering, so he letting the Carbonator explain some of his ideas to the assembled men and women of honour.
Other initatives include plans to take care of the anti-Mossad Union currently disrupting our arms shipments from Israel, more power for local Capitani, skimming the tourist industry, addressing woeful decline in standards of bullying across the United Territories, and confirming idea for 4% off protection payments.
This make biannual gathering very exciting. Nothing old Moustache Petes and cugine like more than sitting in big room talking about things our public clients not realise are important yet.
And if that not thrilling enough, there hundred of little huddles that happen all around the town where paisan can learn new techniques in taking care of business, or listen to visionary ideas of future from lots of interesting friends ofFamily. I particularly keen on sessions on exploiting Catholics with Liberali Catholic Forum, what to do if there is big gang war this October with Signor Rennard, and Don Smith RIP Institute session on avoiding prison with Capo Browne of our Taunton Conservatori Liberali.
Committee for Diary Control are also annoucing result of their special monitoring programme on Sunday. I not nervous though. I have private word with 'Shorty' Tall and I think I understand now how to get on good side of Signora Featherstone. I say no more, but Shorty... the necessary be delivered tomorrow... capiche?
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Signor Davey, he take me aside before meeting for little chat about our task.
"The Don is concerned Liberali, that this is a scrupulously fair selection, where the best polic... I mean ma... I mean person for the job is put forward to the Family. We must have no unnecessary complications. Do I make myself clear?"
"Si, Signor Davey, I sure we get many great applicants for this hit, it not be difficult to choose three good people."
"Yes, again, and I know with your rapier-like grasp of the incisive nuances of complex situations, I barely need mention this, no complications or the Don will not be a happy man. But don't let me interfere, I know how tricky these decisions can be."
So later that day Magisterium Committee convene for last time and sit in panel behind long table. Our first applicant is Signor Mughal.
The door open. A man wearing black cape, white mask, and large theatrical fedora enter... he sweep away the mask with a flourish.
"Yes... fellow Liberali... it is none other than I... Fiyaz, Haringey Capitano, former Deputy El-Presidente to former Magisterium Assassin Signor Hughes. I stalk like the tiger... I leap like an antelope... and I swoop on my prey like the mighty condor. It is I who will slay Signor Livingstone... me... only I can appeal to the disadvantaged groups, so cruelly neglected by this family in the reign of Don Kennedy, but necessary to breach Livingstone's inner sanctums of power."
"Er thank-you Signor Mughal" I say "that very nice costume, you going to opera later?"
"My disguise is I admit a little unconventional, however necessary to fool Livingstone in under-estimating me, no one expects Signor Fiyaz Mughal...! And when they do... Ha...! it is then too late."
"Er thank-you Signor Mughal."
"Deputy El-Presidente, my arse." mutter colleague, as he leave. I must admit it not post I heard of before, but sure sound impressive.
The next applicant is Signora Fernando, formerly of our Leicestershire faction, who now consigiliore in old Finchley stomping ground of Conservatori Iron-Don Thatcher. She dress very demurely, come in quietly and sit politely waiting for first question.
"So you're a woman then?" say fellow panellist. She glower at him
"I believe that is fairly evident. Would you perhaps like to ask me some questions about my plans to assassinate the Magisterium? Or were you hoping that I'd make you a nice cup of tea before vacuuming this rat-hole and pressing your trousers?"
Tea would be brilliant I thinking, would really hit spot right now.
"That won't be necessary," my colleague continue "Please do explain your plan."
"Most attention, during the next few months will be on the Conservatori assassin Signor Johnson and Livingstone stalking one another. That gives me opportunity. The Labouristi and Conservatori will not expect me, I will confuse them, and that confusion will give me my chance. A slim one I admit, but a risk I am prepared to take for the Family."
Two sugars and cream I am thinking. I real thirsty now. I note approvingly that colleague is ticking boxes on some form with picture of Signor Davey glowering at him in the header.
"Thank-you Signora, that sounds like an excellent offer, we will consider your request."
She get up and leave, but we still have no tea.
Next it is old friend Signor Paddick, he wearing leather pants, and tight t-shirt with Lambeth Mafia emblazoned on it in rhinestones. He wink at me.
"No cakes today please Brian" I say "this is business, we give you rigorous interview now."
"Indeed" say chair of meeting. "Signor Paddick I have one question. Would you like to kill the Magisterium?"
"Eccellente. Thank-you Signor Paddick, that will be all, please do send in the next candidate."
As Brian leave there is sound of kerfuffle and arguing in corridor that go on for about a minute. Signor Davey pop his head around door.
"Sorry to interrupt gentleman, it appears all the other candidates have been so impressed by Signor Paddick that they have decided to voluntarily withdraw. Do not let me detain you in your weighty deliberations any longer."
Well we think, we need three, we have three, it sure tough, but in absence of nice cup of tea we anxious to wrap up. So that conclude business of the Magisterium committee. Now Family must decide.
Friday, 7 September 2007
"Signor Oaten" say the Don, "Much as I appreciate you sending me your new pamphlet, 'Co-operation - we're fucked on our own', I feel, following much inconvenient speculation, that it is important you experience my response, not so much intellectually, but in a very physical way."
"That very kind Don Campbell", he say "But I'm sure a Centre for Um briefing note would be sufficient, there really is no need to have my limbs bound with leather hoops and attached to four horses."
"I'm sure you're used to it." comment the Don "However this isn't just about you, I feel this demonstration will be instructive for your colleagues as well," he point to gaggle of senior Family members from the Family Shadow Committee watching from the balcony, "and I do appreciate your strong desire to be as helpful as possible to your colleagues in your twilight months as Capo of our Winchester Rifles faction. Liberali, please gag the Capo, so he might fully appreciate the lesson without too much distraction."
This I do.
"Eccellente, thank-you... we shall proceed."
"Signor Oaten you will observe, attached to you left-hand side are two old carthorses. For the purposes of this demonstration they represent the Labouristi, I shall call them Prescott and Straw. On your right we have two slightly old former racehorses, a little past their prime, but still deluded enough to think they're still capable of winning the Grand National, let's call them Ancram and Clarke, they represent the Conservatori. You Signor Oaten, represent me, struggling with the weighty decisions of running the Family and our relations with others."
"For the first demonstration let's say, following the next big turf war, that the Labouristi are the strongest Family... Knuckles please excite Prescott..."
Knuckles smashes an egg on Prescott's flank, and the horse moves forward slightly. Signor Oaten groans in appreciation.
"But wait maybe the Conservatori are the strongest... Signor Laws, if you could kindly encourage Clarke..."
Signor Laws holds up a blue flag with yellow stars on it that make Clarke greatly interested in moving forward. Signor Oaten really not sounding happy.
"You see it really can be quite a painful decision as to who to co-operate with." say the Don. "And if you make your preferences known in advance... gentleman please demonstrate"
Knuckles and Laws give Ancram and Straw a modest pat on the hind quarters. Ancram start trying to bite Clarke, which excite him even more. Straw promptly reverse and sit on Signor Oaten's foot.
I could be wrong, but I not sure at this point whether Signor Oaten in pain or enjoying himself. He funny paisan.
"But wait" say the Don, "There's more. You may be wondering why there is a pile of oats tied in a bag around your nether-regions?"
Signor Oaten trying to nod quite vigorously.
"This bag represents the Family's values. When the Family's values are under threat from the pull of power from old nags in Labouristi and Conservatori, then you have another worry... Signora Teather, if you could please let Greaves illustrate the point."
The Signori untie a small grey Shetland pony from his post. The pony seem confused, wheezy and slightly incontinent, however he still recognise where values lie under threat, and what to do about it, and make like a much younger animal straight to the heart of the problem. Signor Oaten's eyes seem to be bulging quite a lot as he struggles in the ropes, against the attention of Greaves.
"And if the old guard are not quite getting through to you, then you might find your freedom to decide constrained in other ways... Signor Graham, if you would please demonstrate the power of the Family Conference." A large angry man, who I recognise as one of the Family's most feared enforcers , and is wearing a rucksack full of rocks, walk slowly over to Oaten and promptly sit on his chest. What follow is not pretty sound.
"Thank-you gentleman, I think we will let Signor Oaten contemplate my thoughts on his pamphlet for a further ten minutes or so and then given the horses some proper exercise..."
"Capo in the gallery, I hope this session has been instructive, and I do of course look forward to welcoming any of your thoughts on our relations with the other Families in future, should you be so minded to write them down. It is now though, I regret, time for my afternoon nap... good day gentleman."
With that he walk upstairs to ponder the great matters of Family business unimpeded by helpful colleagues.
Greaves has widdled on Signor Oaten's trousers and Prescott is trying to butt Knuckles with his head. It is lovely pastoral scene that remind me of old family farm in Sicily at harvest time. I drift peacefully into daydreaming as the Capo file slowly back into Printworks to consider the Don's wise demonstration of the burden of leadership.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
"Come in Signor Liberali" she say.
Sitting with her are Hapless Cullen 'the Aggregator', Nogeek Howells, and 'Shorty' Tall. A dangerous group of hardened killers often used to sort out Family internal problems.
The boys are staring at me pretty hard. Hapless is picking his fingernails with a stiletto and, Nogeek is frowning. Shorty is bouncing rubber ball off wall, with alarming good reflexes I think.
I not feeling so great about this meeting all of sudden.
"Liberali, Liberali, Liberali, what does the omertà code mean to you?"
"Er... it mean you keep Family business in Family," I stutter.
"Exactly" she say "Would you say the code is entirely compatible with, for example... the keeping of a diary?"
Shorty is bouncing ball quite close to me now, Hapless is tossing his stiletto in one hand and catching it, Nogeek is polishing his glasses with hanky that have rather unnerving red stains in one corner.
"Well I'm delighted to say", she say "that in glorious regime of Don Campbell it is entirely autorizzato, in fact we welcome it. We are all Liberali here, we have nothing to hide."
"Er... what this have to do with me?"
"Well it seems Liberali that someone has been writing a diary in your name and the old Don finds it... what did he say Shorty?"
"I believe he said he found it funnier than when Signor Oaten suggested he should be running the family or when Signor Hughes claimed he would double the size of Family in two years" he growl
"I personally cracked a smile" say Hapless "once, it hurt my jaw"
"It bought joy to my day" say Nogeek.
"that nice" I reply
"Not especially" he add "I was at a funeral"
"Anyhow" interject Signora Featherstone "The point is that the committee for diary-control here have shortlisted your diary for special monitoring. Congratulations, you amuse us, you will now recieve our special attention"
Monday, 3 September 2007
"Liberali" he say "I am glad to find you in today."
"Um, what can I do for you Don Brown."
"Liberali, I believe that the Territories needs a new kind of Family. A Family which embraces everyone. A Family built on consensus, not street fights. A Family that draws on the widest range of men of honour and solidarietà, not the ever decreasing circles of vendetta."
"That great Don Brown, we sure against mindless Punch and Judy slayings in this Family as well, particularly when it us. Are you saying you want Labouristi to merge with the Liberali under Don Campbell?"
The phone line go silent for moment. I pretty sure hear someone in the background muttering something like "I told you not to start with the mick one, Christ what a boozer". But it must be crossed-line, I Sicilian, not Irish.
"Er, no Liberali, I have in mind something more elegant that retains our Family loyalties but allows us to work together constructively. We understand you are a great expert on lemon groves and rural slums?"
"Er no? Little Sicily is lovely town with many slums, but last time lemon tree grow here, local cugine use it make road block to hijack passing Burberry lorry. We about as far from countryside as Don Cameron is from winning paisan-of-year award for man of substance"
There awkward pause on other end of line
"I see, please allow me a moment to confer with my expert research team."
There is sound something that come across like baseball bat hitting a set of bagpipes, and whimpered murmur that I pretty sure sound like "but it was the other Milliband", followed by second bagpipe noise.
"Terrible blunder Liberali" he say eventually "It appears our consultants got mixed up, You are of course an expert on Italian tailoring, we are in fact looking for Signor Taylor. But it was a pleasure talking to you, not doubt when the needs of the big tent extend to a better quality sock, we will speak again."
With that he ring off.
Later that day I find Capo Taylor also get call, and was so delighted to get offer of work on eve of retirement from Liberali family that he accept. Seems offers also accepted by two clapped-out old hasbeens from Conservatori Family. Don Cameron is seething.
Don Campbell though appear delighted when I see him in the afternoon.
"Another pair of eyes and ears in the enemy camp" he say cheerfully "Might have to pop over there soon myself."
"He is of course joking" say Consigliore Kirkwood, with look of determined intensity in his eye.
"That's our Don Campbell" I say "Always up for giggle".
Maybe there something in this new kind of Family, it give me all warm glow inside.
Thursday, 30 August 2007
As experienced old Capo it my job today to work with Signora Stephenson, Director of Signor Rennard's crack Assassinations Department to organise intimidation training for hand-picked group of paisan who themselves will train others in their territories. So I find myself in old warehouse, wearing my trusty, if not a little rusty, Association of Liberali Capitani Official Trainer badge, surveying room of keen and eager compare, waiting for benefit of our wisdom.
After padding through basics... never break eye-contact... always have a clear threat in mind... ... never spend longer than 30 seconds on any one stranglehold... always slam the gate... it time for questions...
"How do we target our threats?" ask a Capitani from Cardiff Whotown
"It good question", say Signora Stephenson "there no point making indiscriminate nuisance of yourself in territory. You have limited time and many people to visit. Thanks to Family Innovation Unit, we now have special capogeek-tool, the MAYHEM system (Mindless Aggravated Yobbery, Harassment and Executions Modules), that allow us to identify those most likely to respond to threats. Always make sure you use MAYHEM before sending boys out looking for trouble."
"And when we find trouble", ask another from Sheepway Public Lavatories faction "how we ensure we do right thing?"
"Another great question" she say "we like to think of our 'targets' as either 'soft' or 'hard'. Hard targets, you no waste time there. You might be minding own business, offering a little protection for keeping eye on local post box, or ensuring no dog turds through letter box - when hard-target decide to try and knock all your teeth out. Always ensure you holding up your trustly Liberali kevlar clipboard to fend off any sudden moves from hard-nuts."
"Soft targets though usually cave-in at first sign of a Chinese-burn. Some though require more persuasion - with them, always make sure you carrying your rolled-up persuasion literature, and deliver low to the letterbox."
"Other targets, regular payers, we like to think of as Definites and Probables. Probables really just the same as soft-targets, just a bit easier. Definates only too happy to pay protection. You might even want to try and persuade them to have picture of Don Campbell in window to warn off the Labouristi and Conservatori. Sometimes if they particularly keen we consider them for joining the Family. I started that way myself, a sound thrashing at the hands of local enforcer, and now here I am."
"What if targets not in?" ask cugine from Leicester Against Indepenent Liberali Farmers cell.
"This often happen" I say "these days, victims getting better at seeing us coming, sometimes no more than one in ten are in. That when you need this..." I hold up example 'Out-Threat' "Simply aggregate the intimidation of your choice, using old newspaper clippings or the like, and leave with helpful greeting like 'while you were out, we came to inspect your locks, remember only Liberali family can protect you here'."
"Is it important we ask for anything in particular in that week?" say a prospective Capo from Camden Markets
"Not especially" interject the Signora, "the important point is that you are there, and you make it clear you are local. I often find old chestnut 'we know where you live' is sufficient"
"But surely we need a clear request?" they say earnestly "Something that differentiate us from other hoodlums calling on their time?"
Signora Stephenson appear to be writing 'troublemaker' on her kevlar clipboard.
"Allow me to demonstrate" she say. "How about you try and explain to Capo Liberali why he should pay you protection because of our protection scheme based on ability to pay?"
"Erm... Signor Liberali" they stutter "you give me 3.75% of your wallet, we take off 4% from your regular payment, and I be your friend... it our local protection payment scheme... if you no give... you might find Labouristi come round and try and take payment based on size of your patio... " My eyes begin to glaze over
Five minute later when friend from Camden explaining difference between value-added protection and their desire for proper land protection scheme in fullness of time... only for land owners... and I thinking ernestly about paying them just to stop talking, Signora Stephenson kindly interject...
"Eccellente, now Signor Liberali, could you kindly demonstrate Community Intimidation method, assume borderline hard/soft target with history of non-payment...".
I ram my 'Paying Here' truncheon into Camden's unprotected local-target-wards. He keel over with look of educated bliss on face, and I take their wallet.
"Any more questions? Is method now clear?" say Signora Stephenson
There is silence. We real good trainers. I rub my trusty badge with pride. We now look forward to practical assessment in field, and week of good healthy family-business in late-September.
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
"Liberali come with me, we're going to take a ride in the Batmobile."
"You mean you sold your Toytown Prius and got hot new set of wheels?" I say excitedly.
He freeze and give me acid look.
"It maybe a humble Prius to you, Liberali, but I like to call it the Batmobile. Do you wish to imply my hybrid-electric dream-motor is in some way less miraculous and exciting than the fictional companion-chariot of the fabled Dark Knight?"
"No, no" I say
"Very well," he say "you may hum my... I mean his theme tune."
"Er... o.k... dina... dina..."
"Not that one" he interrupt "Do I look like Adam West to you?"
"George Clooney you fool, possibly with a touch of Michael Keaton and Christian Bale, although none of them could have coped with the cut and thrust of being an enforcer in the European Family, do you not agree?"
"Er... dum... dum... dum... dum... da... dum..."
"Eccellente Liberali, shall we go?... oh and keep humming"
So slightly unsettled we go to find his car... I mean the Batmobile... and soon we motoring out of London Territories, at fuel-efficient 56.6 mph, to secret location somewhere near Eastleigh.
Soon suburbs give way to green fields which crease up to rolling hills and winding tracks. We turn down old lane with rusting RAF sign on listing gate, and pull into a flat plateau occupied only by aircraft hanger nestling under rotting camouflage netting, surrounded by the rusting frames of what look like old Spitfires.
The Carbonator reach into glove box, click switch, and concealed doors open for him as we drive under netting. Inside is deserted, however we drive onto metal plate near centre. Click of other switch and plate descend with car... into darkness.
"Liberali... welcome to the Huhne-Cave."
As he speak, we stop descending.
"Prepare to be dazzled" he say. I shield eyes preparing for unwelcome return of daylight from dozens of high-powered halogen flood-lights that will no doubt illuminate this glorious palace in rock.
Instead, as he claps his hands, slightly dim yellow hue trickle through windshield enabling me, just, to see outline of The Carbonator's awe-struck visage.
"Low-wattage bulbs," he say "powered by solar panels on the roof of the aerodrome and a wind farm on the old runway. Are they not magnificent?"
"I am quite literally unable to see anything more brilliant." I say
"We will now visit project 'x'," he say ignoring me, opening the door and stepping away from the vehicle. I follow, tripping over the uneven surface and bashing my head on stalactites in the gloom. The Carbonator though is in rapture. This is his home, well one of them, and in here, he is prince of all he surveys.
We enter laboratory, this I ascertain when I trip over cables and narrowly avoid impaling myself on pile of old turbine blades and a bunsen burner. The Carbonator ring a bell and soon we are joined by an avuncular old man who appear to be dressed in ermine.
"Ah Chidgey, fetch an organic spritzer for my guest and a virgin mary for me we have work to do."
"Yes master Chris," he mumble and shuffle away into the twilight. Seconds later I sure I hear bumping noise, tinkle of broken glass, and what sound like curse aimed at in direction of missing light bulbs. I no that thirsty anyhow, so it no problem.
"Liberali," say The Carbonator, "you are privileged today to witness the fruition of a dream. The Huhne-Cave is hope, a beacon of light, shining through the fog of our polluted world. For today my lonely crusade against the forces of enviro-crime is lonely no more. The Liberali family, under the wise stewardship of Don Campbell has committed today to a world without petrol-cars by 2040. In this very laboratory I am developing the fuel cells, biomass and nano-tube paper-batteries that will transform the way we travel." A tear well up in one eye.
I no understand a word of what he just said, but bashing my head of low ceiling against cause my eyes to water as well and he seem touched by my appreciation.
"It all clear now." I say "I no understand what Don Campbell was doing yesterday, but now I do. I walk into office where he and Letteropener were deep in conversation. It appear they will be helping your scheme and legitimising a lot of the Family cash by buying up shares in the energy companies Letteropener used to work for. These companies no doubt invest heavily in your new technologies making huge return for Family twice over."
The Carbonator seem suspicious. "Did you say energy companies?...", he say "...What energy companies?"
"Oh Shell, Exxon, BP, Chevron... you know energy companies..." I say
He seem momentarily lost in thought "Bastardos! Liberali you idiot, they're buying oil shares on the assumption that this technology will take years to work. In the interim, the price of oil will go through the roof and every set-back or false dawn will be accompanied by a huge boost in oil company share prices. With that capital they won't invest in me and my cave, they will buy me out..." he seem very angry, and he doing that crazy economic talk-thing he do that make my eyes glaze over.
Still Chidgey has returned with half a pint of something sweet-smelling in a chipped glass so I happy. The Carbonator is always happy when busiest and he now stomping around his lab with some big clamps, wires and raving something about the market-case for euthanasia and not raising the retirement age for certain individuals... so he clearly happy as well.
My eyes now accustomed to the cave-light, I settle back and dream of a world of high ceilings without batmobiles.
Monday, 27 August 2007
"Friends, the United Territories is a nation of immigrants. We draw our strength through diversity and unity through common decency. So I say give us your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and let us charge them a reasonable fixed fee for citizenship. No criminals or illiterates, we charge them double."
It great scheme. Anyone who can't pay, come for brief stint of work for the Family in passport-printing works until they pay-off debt. We then get chance to identify anyone with real respect in their community to target for bringing into our wiseguy-diversity programme.
Conservatoris are grumpy about proposal. The "Grey Enforcer" Capo Davis say:
"This proposal will act as a green flag to every immigrant of insufficient means to afford our protection payments. A one-off charge might be appealing, but consider the damage to our long-term earning potential. My criminal innovation review unit is currently considering a much better scheme to sell passports on eBay to the highest bidder and renew them every five years. These will act as a valuable supplement to our labour holding camps for the low-paid. We believe this is the compassionate way forward."
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Each Capo in Liberali family is responsible for a territory, sometimes we top dog in that territory, sometimes we fight vicious turf-wars with Labouristi and Conservatori for control. But that not complete picture. Many family activities, like rummaging through bins for petty stash, slum management, and free pasta evenings for minority groups like Neapolitans, are left to local Capitani.
Our Capitani are often the made-men and women who really know local people on the ground. We organise them in larger territories and they sometimes share power in these Contrada with other families. When there is trouble, it is generally small-scale, infrequent and vicious. Too much rivalry is bad for business. Otherwise the Capitani come together every month or so at the Contrada to keep the peace.
Don Campbell, though does like to keep an eye on his Contrade. So he dispatch me this week to help out in The Borough, one of the London Contrada. It have around sixty Capitani. Nearly half are Liberali, half Labouristi, with a few Conservatori and a scary-lady who paint herself green and throw rocks at cars.
Currently the Contrada is controlled by a deal between our Capitani and the Conservatori. It uneasy pact, rocked by occasional defection, and reaffirmed by occassional beating over heads with sticks and lectures on Liberali-way by local Capo Signor Hughes. Anyone who really no behave get 'ride in the taxi to see the river'. They fun bunch.
So today I find myself out with some Borough Capitani discussing latest Don Brown threat to our operations. One lucrative scam we run is The Book. It old scam that use local Post Office counters to take bets on how long it take your mail to get delivered when posted first-class. You pick number between 1 and 10 days, pop your bet in special envelop to Bookkeeper at local PO and pray to Alan Leighton for luck.
Naturally our contacts with Postal Workers Unions ensures we can engineer strikes, lose the odd bag of mail down back of sorting office, and otherwise keep odds stacked in our favour. It good business that other families try to break into once in a while, but rarely successfully. Consequently old Don Major, Don Blair and Don Brown been trying to shut down our operation for years, while we been trying to put the employees in charge.
Happily local people usually on our side. Everyone need place where they can swap gossip about who sleeping with who on latest reality TV show, and queues long enough to talk about more than one channel. So we handing out petitions to Save our Local PO and doing nice sideline in 100-1 odds on 2-day or less deliveries.
The Borough Contrada Leader, Rick Plankton, have a few troubles of his own of late. Apparently paparazzi decide to brand the Borough as the 'baddest Contrada in Britain'. This seem harsh... Okay he tell me, maybe it a bit unfortunate that one Capitano under investigation by Untouchables for links to terrorists, another runs a website for lovely girls in skimpy undies, and his Moonshine Specialist recently got pulled over for driving under the influence of own product.
But it no reason to panic he say, Borough residents are tolerant bunch, well known for their lively and good-natured support for local calcio-team Millwall, and while they might be bit miffed that another old friend of his now in sing-sing for dealing unethical pictures to Belgians, he pretty confident that he still has respect.
"Everything is under control. Isn't that right?" he say to his deputy Capitani Picchione. She appear not to hear and seem to be concentrating very hard on smiling and showing me pictures of her in lots of other London Contrada looking even more full of joy. Apparently she getting promotion soon to our elite London corps for keeping an eye on the Magisterium, so swotting up on his favourite haunts.
Other Capitani also seem to be smiling a lot and nodding vigorously. They asking me lots of good questions about other Contrada and I real impressed by their urgent curiosity and happy spirits. Even local Labouristi thugs seem delighted to come up to our group and offer to buy them drinks. Although the way they keep asking for lifts to shops to get more bottles and buy saucy magazines get really annoying. So Plankton dispatch 'Babyface' Thomas to show them concrete foundations of his latest regeneration project. They suddenly all have urgent business elsewhere. I guess they not that thirsty.
I no see problems here, jut happy Capitani doing good things for local people and the Family. I report back to Don Campbell the good news about the happiest Contrada in the United Territories.