Thursday, 30 August 2007

Community Intimidation Week

Another special project from Don Campbell today. In September hundreds of members of Family will spread out across United Territories to intimidate local residents who been dabbling with Labouristi and Conservatori. It important to "bring a human face to spontaneous violence" he say.

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

Petrol Prohibition

So I hanging out at Cowley Printing Works, minding my own business, when Capo Huhne, 'The Carbonator', tap me on shoulder and say,

"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

What price citizenship?

I feeling very inspired today. This morning listen to speech by our Capo for Criminal Affairs Nick "BabyDon" Clegg.

"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

The Happiest Contrada

Maybe I been neglecting Little Sicily too much in past months, what with turf-wars in Little Ealing and Trumpton, sometimes easy to forget as Capo that it foot-soldiers who make Liberali family what it is.

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.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Heathrow Aeroflot, we care

I currently on fundraising mission near Heathrow Aeroflot terminal at annual jamboree for yuppie hippies against flying.

We very popular down here. When a bunch of goons from British Aeroflot cartel attempt to gag the hippies, Signora Kramer send team of crack Liberali lawyers to explain to flyboys about meaning of civil liberties. Our lawyers can be very persuasive, particularly when demonstrating alternatives to a robust respect for human rights.

However these boys no come cheap, so today we collecting our due. Hippies not kind of people you can run usual squeeze on, so through Signor Hunhe we have new approach that involve fusing respect for traditional hippy values with classical Liberali market racket.

Our individual carbon credit cards are big hit. It very simple idea. Everytime you buy hippy-shit that bad for planet, like holiday in Goa or importing low-power solar panels from China, you pay Liberali family 1% towards our sustainable protection scheme.

Funds raised from this in part go our Foresty Commission in Sicily to plant trees. Acres of new green shoots now stretch across sites of old industrial wastelands and abandonned lemon groves and just happen to be near spanky new Rennard Enterprises paper-mill that supply most of Liberali family Capos with tactical Focus artillery.

Rest of cash used for shipping costs and occasional emergency paper supply flight. It not cheap to smuggle a container load of refined orange gloss round Bay of Biscay, particuarly if you need to dump some fuel to dodge customs.

Naturally advertising for scheme talk rather more about big green trees than big red ships and little white planes, so hippies happy, and I join them booing as latest by-election pony-express zoom overhead to land. It good business to care.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Shiny happy Policeman holding guns

The Magisterium Committee sure is leaky ship. Our deliberations on who to entrust with the task of eliminating Labourista Magisterium Livingstone, and his army of nasty lizards, seem to known to just about everyone.

First I'm down Little Sicily Working Dons Club when Toby McSleazy, a freelance tabloid paparazzi of my acquaintance, crawl up to me at bar and rasp

"Liberali, oi 'ear that Signor Opik, the Estonian Strangler, may 'ave designs on the man in the big glass lampshade on the Thames... u 'ave any comment on that?"

"You crazy McSleazy, what give you idea like that?"

"Let's say a little bird was at the Magisterium's 'London Territories loves Eastern Europe' party last week and Signor Opik woz not impressed by just 'ow much love Signor Livingstone was suggesting he'd like to show to the Strangler's Romanian companions. It woz proably the suggestion about breaking down border controls and his open door policy that really did it."

"He proud paisan" I say "nothing more than a little rivalry between men of honour. You looking in wrong place for man to whack the Newt-Master."

"oi think we will see won't we Don Liberali..." he say slinking off into corner of bar to molest a bowl of cashew nuts and eyeball a young-looking barmaid.

Anyhow, my actual job this week was to vet real contender for button-job. Signor Paddick is ex-Untouchable who used to hang out with Inspector Blair the dodgy Labouristi pig who pick me up last month. Paddick and Blair hate each other ever since Blair attempt cover-up for rogue Untouchable unit that whack Brazilian tourist by mistake when following Blair instructions to pick up something Arab-looking in Paddick's Lambeth turf.

And that's where I am now to meet Paddick in favourite cafe off Kennington Rd. The Amsterdam Connection is not my usual haunt. Outside it all green, red and black and large leafy plants fill windows. Through door I almost choke on sweet-smelling smoke that invade lungs and avoid tripping over student wearing 'touch my bong' t-shirt crashed out horizontally just inside.

"Err... like cool... thanks man... peace... try the Stockwell Oval it's like... the bomb..." he burble before passing out again

"LIBERALI... is that you..." scream a voice from the back of the cafe "GORGEOUS trench coat... and where did you get those shoes... they're to die for... mmm the combination... it's just so spine-tinglingly old-world Sicilian... you must let me know who your tailor is... I bet he could do wonders with some crepe and a good trilby..."

He then give me full-bodied hug and smack on the lips

"Er... thank-you" I say "You must be Signor Paddick, Signor Davey send me to check you out for Don Campbell."

"I bet he did, the naughty tease, such rugged charm... why don't you park your pecs under the Van Eyck and unleash something special from the menu while I go tinkle the little Sergeant..."

He disappear off to little room at the back.

I sit down and glance at menu before ordering an espresso with a little afternoon chocolate cake. Soon Signor Paddick rejoin me and we get down to business.

"So Signor Paddick, you know why we here, the Magisterium create plenty trouble for Liberali family and Untouchables alike through creatures like Blair. Are you man to do something about it?"

"Oooh I think so," he say "Livingstone, he's such a ghastly little man, and the way he dresses, it looks like he fell out of the nylons reject rack at Primark. And besides that he's trying to replace this cafe with a 50-story towerblock made from..." and he shudder "brushed Aluminium and faux-wood concrete... ugh."

"O.k... so you got heart" I say nibbling my cake "but how you going to do it, Signor Livingstone hard man to reach."

"Well I've been thinking about that" he say adopting a less flamboyant posture "A solo assassin won't do it, you've tried that, and besides he has too many people with a vested interest in his projects that owe him favours. What you need is an army, a coalition of the dispossessed who Livingstone has railroaded with his crooked property deals, transport scams and massive protection payment rises."

"I'm listening" I say "How do we find these people"

"We start here Liberali."

I look around, apart from shimmery glow that outline denzins of cafe, which is really cool and make me feel kind of floaty, I not sure I see much here that amount to muscle. A little bearded man in a plaid shirt keel over and vomit in display of novelty clogs. Signor Paddick detect my scepticism.

"They don't look like much now Liberali he say" flickering slightly with pleasant orange hue "But give me 8 months and the use of the Liberali printing presses across the London Territories and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and I'd also like two guns, a big one in chrome, with inlaid gold filigree, military walnut grips, and laser targeting with night-vision... and something dainty for my fanny-pack... oh and nothing Russian."

I nod smiling, Brian is my best friend and I give him big hug, before walking out to report good news to Signors Brake and Davey. I barely notice trail of cashew nuts by door, or sound of furious scribbling.

Next morning our meeting all over Evil Standard. Added a real bummer to my killer munchies.

But I not in article, Brian send me big bunch of flowers with lavendar apology note which I save for next time I late home to Mrs. Liberali. Committee also not seem entirely displeased. Figure it will distract Livingstone from some of his other projects, so no harm done.

The countdown to his doom begins today.