Thursday, 3 April 2008

Don Studmuffin

I in lot of trouble with the Don this week. While I being entertained by Don Clegg's henchmen last November, we talk about stuff on occasion. With Signor Grant for example we chat about problem with Capo Clegg image.

"The thing is Liberali, I'm a little concerned."

"Why that Gavin?"

"Well Capo Clegg is more 'new' Family than 'old', some people even say he appeals to women."

"What point of that?"

"I know... I know... but ever since Signora Pankhurst and her (shudder) progressive ilk secured full access to the Family it's been seen as quite an asset in a Don."

"Sure explain why Signora Clegg keep giving lady Capos filthy looks."

"Uh huh... anyhow that's not my point, the flip side of all that 'girl-power' is that, well how can I put this delicately, the Capo can occasionally seem a little feminine... it doesn't go down so well with the real old men of honour... you know... like you."

"Sure, Signora Liberali say she glad she with man with no feminine side, and I should under no circumstances ever consider making decisions about what's in our home. I think she say this when visiting bachelor pad while dating."

"Fascinating... I would love to hear more... however the issue is how do we improve the Capo's appeal to real men?... Do you have any ideas?"

"He could shoot Capo Huhne in the face?"

"Uh huh... uh huh... I'm thinking starting a Family blood-bath might lose a little more marginal support than it gains and be quite expensive... it can be a burden to be a marketing expert sometimes... think a little more about the image than the substance."

"Well he could talk about man-things a bit more and spend a little less time on all this diverse Family stuff."

"Mmm interesting... do go on"

"What about he do interview with 'real men' Paparazzi like the 'Moron' who write for PoshWank magazine"

"I'm listening..."

"He could talk about man-stuff... favourite gun... bullet-proof car of month... organising hits on his Blackberry... fun-stuff... wiseguy-stuff... make him sound modern man of honour as well as ladies man"

"Very good... any risks?"

"Um... no don't think so... not like it serious anti-Family magazine..."

And with that he dash off to talk to Signor Clegg. Interview not used at time, but turn out PoshWank saving it for later.... and it seem Don Clegg may have got his brief confused. The Moron got him talking about other stuff as well, which not quite get headlines Signor Grant looking for...

"PoshWank Exclusive: I'm like a Tommy Gun in a whorehouse claim Don of Liberali Family"

"10... 20... 30... I've had so many I've lost count... say Don Clegg"

"Good... was I good... let's just say when you're used to Nissan Micra you're going to notice a Hummer in the driveway"

"Is my wife satisfied?... well she begged me not to become Don, so I guess she wasn't looking for less time together."

"Have I cheated?... er... I don't think so... despite being the Leader of the most sensationally attractive Family... I'd like to think I've only got eyes for Signora Clegg..."

Signor Moron inexplicably publish that last comment under subtitle "He's a shagger, oh yes he is."

So I be taking holiday for a while I think... and not letting Signora Liberali hang around the Printworks too much when Don is around...

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Liberali Cugine... Solid Gold

Liberali Junior sure having busy month. Only just back from Liverpool and already he helping Signor 'bully-stomper' Gettleson, leader of the Liberali Cugine, organise his relaunch, with Don Clegg.

I no understand cugine these days, so I not sure why LC need relaunch. But Liberali Junior assure me it very important.

"It like difference between Yellow and Gold" he say.

I stare at him blankly, but glad he thinking about gold, show some promise for Family business.

"Yellow's a nice colour, very friendly, nothing wrong with a bit of yellow. But gold, gold is basically yellow, but really, really sparkly... you know shiny... a bit better"

"You saying you like boys?" I ask.

He glower at me.

"There were lots of girls at the launch..." he say sulkily "and nibbles... and a DJ... it was fun..."

"So where was the gold?"

"... there was no gold... it... was... a... metaphor..."

"You met a whore? Sound like brilliant relaunch."

He stare at me with that blank impatient look that really remind me of Signora Liberali.

"You just don't understand... I'm going to sit in a dark room for a while now... don't knock... don't come in... it's just something we do in LC."

"O.k... don't forget give your new friend a call... or you send her text... is that how you communicate these days... Personally... I used to get on bicycle to go and see Signora Liberali's father and wave to her in garden... or rather back of her head under sun umbrella... which her parents still regard as pretty racy liberty before we married... it..."

But he gone.

Sure is great to see young man making his way in Family, such impatience to succeed.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Liberali Junior in Liverpool

Liberali Family is in Liverpool this weekend for Spring Family Gathering. I take this as good opportunity to stay at home and work on lemon trees, but have sent enthusiastic cugine up in my stead.

For Liberali Junior, my nephew, this will be first Gathering. So he still full of keen enthusiasm and optimism that less evident amongst those in regular attendance. For now though he leaf through briefing papers on socially responsible carjacking and benefiting from cross-border crime with with wide-eyed wonder and curiosity.

He been pestering me with questions all week about which way he should indicate his support on various pressing matters like what to do about children who bit slow, preventing lawyers getting more of our money, and whether or not our drugs rackets should be run by Capitani, directly selected foot soldiers, or some combination.

On this last point I advise him to avoid discussion altogether and go and learn how to meet girls in bars. It advice I give frequently to members of Family internal governance structure, but for many I fear it too late.

He ring me last night to say this precisely what he do. Although I not sure he get it quite right.

"I see training session run by Signor Mathon, a London hitman, and Signora Harper, a consigliore, called Winning with Women" he say.

"How that go for you" I ask

"It little disappointing. Not sure it great advice. Most of training seem to be fashion tips on how to conceal a Beretta in a twin-set, and when I try and mimic Signor Mathon's chat-up lines later in bar it not very helpful."

"Chat-up lines?"

"I see pretty girl who work for Don Clegg and say to her she have nice eyes and 'professional-looking demure demeanour that look good on leaflets in non-threatening or overly -flirty-manner'. She pour drink on head."

"So when change shirt and try more conversational-style. Going really well with new Capitani from Little Sicily until I ask her if she like to 'come back to my ward and spend weekend extorting support from local residents;'. Her eyes glaze over and she suddenly rather talk to Capo Opik about his harmonica."

"Did you try and buy anyone a drink?"

"Yes, but Signor Mathon say I should not do this until I 'have extracted a commitment for at least one evening of tactical support at time of local turf-war'. It not prove easy. One girl though do ask me for glass of water, but call me an environmental criminal when I get her a bottle. Luckily Signor Cable giving away fruit juice from his new line of Dr. Cable's Smoothies range, but most Liberali women seem more interested in vodka. I think that he have them in mind when he decry the pity of binge-drinking."

"How Liverpool for you otherwise."

"It great, not like you say at all. Still have hub-caps on hire car and no one in a suit was preparing for their day in court, except the ex-Leader of our Capitani. We making a fortune up here, so many building-site rackets going on that enforcers all getting very fit dashing between them. Even Signor Rennard putting his tracksuit on tomorrow to relive some of the triumphs of his youth."

"That good news, you learn something then?"

"Yes, if you work hard all year round you don't get to meet many women."

That my boy...

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Euro Revolt

It troubling evening tonight. Not sure exactly what go on, but have been summoned into meeting with Don Clegg, Signor Davey and Signor Alexander.

"Bastardos, they're all ******* bastardos" rave the Don

Signor Davey look mighty cheerful. He appear to be looking through Family yearbook and drawing little symbols next to some of the pictures. I not sure what they mean but look like little spikes, squiggly lines with a loop on the end, and L-shapes with little round circles coming out of the end. Signor Davey mighty talented artist.

"I would urge caution" say Signor Alexander

"Oh genius, thank-you Daniel, this would be caution as in following your guidance to avoid upsetting anyone by developing a position on the latest musings of the Euro Family so complex that no one understands it except the three of us."

"It seems very simple to me" say Signor Davey.

"Really..." say the Don "Suppose, just for my education you articulate it again to Signor Liberali?"

"Well if you insist... Don.... Signor Liberali, as you know... periodically... the Euro Family meets to set rules for dealing with the border disputes that occasionally erupt between us. The latest rules were proposed in Lisbon, and the Euro Family is awaiting confirmation that the national Families are happy with the proposal."

"I thought Dutch heroin racketeers and French Connection already reject that."

"No, no, no, that was the set of rules proposed in Rome a year earlier, and entirely different set of rules, with much wider implications."

"Really what difference?"

Signor Davey glower at me. Don Clegg is smirking

"Well clearly that isn't what was important today."

"Oh why was it then that Knuckles was beating head against wall earlier, crying 'I just don't understand what we're doing'..."

"Well apart from the obvious that Signor Carmichael has a number of... shall we say... complex issues... the matter that caused him and other trait... I mean valued colleagues.... particular concern was the Don's insistence that we did not need to consult the foot-soldiers on the new rules."

"Why that problem?"

"It's not" snap Signor Davey... "That's the point"

"Then why everyone so excited?"

"Well some of the idio... I mean respected and loyal Capos... seem to regard Don Kennedy's 2005 promise to consult the foot-soldiers on the previous Rome rules as binding on this issue."

"So Lisbon rules really different to Rome rules then?"

Signor Davey glare at me.

"Well evidently Signor Liberali. For starters... one set of rules had the word Rome at the top... and other set used the word Lisbon."

"Wow, that pretty important." I say, impressed.

Signor Davey beam at the Don "See he understands"

"Uh huh..." interject the Don "Tell me Signor Liberali why is that you didn't join the rebels today. What is it about our position that you believe is defensible?"

"I figure if I no support you Signor Davey carry out threat to nail my testicles to door and close it." I beam

"Your loyalty is appreciated... Signor Davey, can I suggest you and Signor Alexander leave us to do some cabinet-making before the Family gets the impression that we tolerate any thinking more sophisticated than Signor Liberali's excellent analysis."

It sure great to be appreciated for brains as well as loyalty. I think I go and prepare some ice packs for Signors Heath, Farron and Knuckles...

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Don Clegg to back no-Sicilian short-lists

Inner Circle meeting today Don Clegg raise difficult matter of Family diversity.

"Gentleman... er... and ladies we are not making progress fast enough. I have therefore decided to back Signor Vaz's call, and in principle support the idea that Capos, in all Families, may need to be chosen, if all else fails... er... on the basis of not being Sicilian."

"Isn't Signor Vaz the fat sleazebag who got suspended from the Labouristi for selling Family favours to his non-Sicilian mates and obstructing an investigation into it?" Ask Signor Baker looking rather cross.

"Er... yes... he has a bit of past... I grant you... however that doesn't on this occasion detract from the... er... general quality of the idea."

"No it'll be a nice little earner for him" mutter someone from back of the room

"So Don, how exactly is this going to work?" ask Signor Laws

"Er... well I think that's fairly obvious if you don't mind me saying so David... If you're not visibly Sicilian, you don't qualify. It doesn't apply to all vacancies, just those in areas where our clients are mostly not Sicilian, or at least a sizeable portion are not."

"But Don, we don't have any Capos in such areas?" he say

"Well precisely David." he say, eyes travelling up towards ceiling "That's why we're doing this"

"O.k... that's helpful Don, but just so we really understand this, I assume that non-Sicilian also means Jewish?"

"Er... clearly there are details to be ironed out..."

"Oh I see so if I get an enquiry about this from a Jewish cugine, I should tell him... or her... to wait until the Family has decided whether they're non-Sicilian enough to qualify?"

"Er... Er..."

"What's if they're only half-Jewish Don?"

"Well clearly in such a case whatever rule we had decided for fully-Jewish cugine would also apply?"

"Oh good, and if only a quarter, or what if they're non-practicing?"

"Well it might be necessary to appoint a vetting committee in such difficult cases."

"Excellent suggestion Don, and the purpose of this committee would presumably be to assess whether they looked visibly Jewish enough?"

"Er... Er... perhaps I should be clear this is primarily about people who clearly are not European looking to avoid all doubt."

"Marvellous Don, so we can presumably then exclude those unusual people who have one European parent, one non-European, but yet look European? Do Native Americans count? the Maronite Christians from the Lebanon?"

"Er... well again... maybe the committee..."

"And... forgive me if I'm being unhelpful.... however given we're picking territories for these short-lists based on how non-Sicilian people look, presumably exactly which communities do have large local presence might have some bearing on which groups get short-listed, or is it as crude as no-whites on the night but anything else goes?"


"Because forgive me for not entirely grasping the wisdom of this policy if it means we have Asian Capos like Signor Vaz's mates in Afro-Caribbean areas and a prospective Jewish Capo in Little Ealing. There are a number of inter-community sensitivities to consider that go a little beyond Sicilian or not."

"Er... that's very helpful David... if you'll excuse me I have to go and help Signor Paddick with his latest recruiting exercise."

"So are we having short-lists for men of honour who like men of honour as well?" mutter previous heckler from deepest recess of room... "what about fat Capos..." propose another "already covered down your way..." interject person behind me who I pretty sure sound like Signor Opik... "thick ones?"... "my point again stands"....

Don Clegg, never one for minor details of such inter-Family debates, has left the room... I think it not bad idea... but maybe not for Little Sicily...

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Mrs. Flinter and the General Obligation Board

It most upsetting day in Little Sicily today. Little Billy O'Scrote, local ragamuffin who run the numbers for me in the Slums, come running into Territory Office.

"Signor Liberali, Signor Liberali, must come quickly the Gobblers are snatching dad's house..."

"The Gobblers?"

"There's a strange glamourous lady on the street with a gang of of thugs who say they from the Labouristi General Obligation Board. They say they going to make our home disappear."

I very disturbed to hear that this happening on patch that command my protection so I gather the boys and head to Slums.

(And by 'boys' Signora Christie-Smith, I mean representative mix of men and women from different ethnic backgrounds, cultural traditions with varied attitudes towards inflicting grevious bodily harm on Labouristi. Have to excuse self on disabled-inclusion though, it not pretty sight last time we try that)

When we get there I see various members of community cowering in middle of street as Labouristi gather lighted firebrands and look as if preparing to throw through windows of their homes. Standing a little way off wearing a fur-trimmed white coat is lady Billy mention. Glamorous, but with cold dead eyes starring impassionately at terror she create. Remind me little of Don Brown.

She notice us and indicate to Gobblers to stop what doing and form protective cordon.

I indicate to caporegime to advance in line.

"What going on here and who are you?" I ask angrily. Lady come forward little way.

"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mrs. Flinter and I am here doing the work of the Authority. You have no right to interfere."

"I am 'the Authority' here, and you and your generally obnoxious board have precisely 30 seconds to start leaving or experience a widely diverse range of pain."

"But these people are unemployed. And according to their contracts with the Authority their homes are forfeit." She say waving some papers at me.

"Contracts?Billy? Mr. O'Scrote?"

A terrfied Mr. O'Scrote come forward. "It terrible Signor Liberali, they come round last year with contracts saying we must sign or others more deserving would have our homes."

"And you no tell me about this then?"

"They were quite insistent about the danger to our personal safety of mentioning this, what they called a trial run, to anyone not involved. Mrs. O'Scrote still has a limp. I try really hard to meet terms of contract, even get a job at bank call centre, not my fault it turn out to be Northern Rock."

I glower at Mrs. Flint. She smile unpleasantly.

"So this contract?" I say "It say family member must have job or lose their home".

"That right" she say beaming.

"Well Little Billy here work for me, as do all other kids on this street, in fact they all part of my cugine apprenticeship scheme. Today's on-job training is due to be health and safety demonstration of danger of using inflammable materials around unsuitable clothing. Your coat sure look protective, is it fireproof? Would we like to find out childr... I mean colleagues?"

She not smirking now. But expression change again to one of strange cold triumph.

"Mr. O'Scrote, may I congratulate your son on his entrepreneurship, the Authority will be pleased to learn that our persuasive programme has been a complete success. Do ensure you pay minimum wage to your new recruits Signor Liberali. I do hope that your business will not incur any sudden downturns that require me to return."

Several vans appear from nowhere and Mrs. Flinter and her thugs pile in, zooming off at high speed towards Westminster.

Grateful urchins crowed round, tears of gratitude in parent's eyes.

"When's payday" say Billy, as single unit they hold out hands.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

The heat is off

I host meeting of Liberali Euro Enforcers in Little Sicily tonight. It not warm but I want to show off new garden grill, so we hosting outside on terrazzino, using patio heaters to keep out the chill. To help out, my friend Capo 'Supertram' Mulholland, serving the drinks. It task we occasionally give to junior Capos as it important they learn to show respect before being allowed to rise up the ranks in the Inner Circle.

Guests arrive one by one. There's Signora Lynne of the Rochdale Cyrils, the Baroness, 'Glasgow Slasher' Attwooll, Badboy Billy, Signora 'Cheery' Bowles, the other Baroness, 'Mumbles' Duff, 'Wildchild' Wallis, 'Junky' Davies, and 'Euronut' Watson who currently leader of group.

This group of hardened killers responsible for massacre of many of our opponents. Although no danger to me, I still feel shiver of terror down spine in presence of so much murderous talent. For instance, last man to cross Junky Davies end up fleeing to Conservatoris for protection after a ruthless massacre of his caporegime across the North West territories. I careful to greet each with care and attitude of humble respect, as they gather in garden.

"Alwight a*******s, any you old t*****s want a drink" say Supertram.

The Baroness not look amused

"A vino would be delightful" she say

"F****** choice" he say pouring a small glass "Get your gnashers round that grandma, and flop your a*** on a cushion."


Euronut is looking at me in way he usually reserve for Signor 'Little Sicilian' Hannan of the Conservatori enforcers. Enforcers take a very dim view of bad language. Very traditional world they live in.

"Shall I load the c****** steaks on the barbie Don?" yell Supertram

"Er thank-you yes" I say as Enforcers, ignoring further offers of beverages, get down to business of discussing Reform covenant between the Euro families.

Not something I understand much about, but Don Clegg careful to explain to us all last week that it covenant not contract, although all the words the same, and this why best to let Enforcers get on with it rather than troubling wider Family. I no understand why this important either, but Don Clegg very clever man, so assume it for best.

Suddenly there knock at door and I remember we misssing 'Nanny' Hall, perhaps the most dangerous Enforcer of all. Only woman alive who can silence Don Clegg and Signor Huhne with a single look.

"Give it a f****** push, it's open" shout Supertram

An icy blast blow through house as Nanny make her way to garden.

"Hello Fiona" say Euronut "do take a seat, we were just discussing the key matter of the qualified subsidiarity proportionality test to the allocation of turf-rights in the distribution of cross-border sub-prime transaction swindles, and Signor Liberali was flipping burgers."

"I will not seat myself in proximity to the devil heaters" she say

"Um... what?" say Euronut

Nanny lift accusing finger towards patio heaters. "The devil heaters" she wail "the symbol of Hades that burns the vapours of the emtombed trees of ages past, polluting our skies with prehistoric carbon. It must not burn!... It must not burn!..."

"Burger?" I say

"Aieeeeieieieiei" she scream "animal charred on the griddle of Satan, take me away from this place of evil."

"c*******-hellfire" contribute Supertram

"Perhaps it would be prudent to turn off the garden equipment?" suggest Euronut

This I do and Nanny appear to calm down.

"I will chew an organic carrot while I compose myself" she say.

So we return to meeting. Everyone soon wretched with cold, and less than satisfied by salad with ice-crystals forming on tomatoes.

But no-one appear to have heart to move inside after I indicate might have 100W halogen light-bulbs in every room and 1970s chest freezer in kitchen likely to set Nanny off again.

Still least Supertram go quiet, so maybe some benefit to this simpler-way after all.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Signor Paddick win over taxi thugs

I increasingly impressed with Signor Paddick's plans to assassinate and replace the Magisterium. Turn out today he win over support of Licensed Taxi Drivers mob, one of London's most vicious and privileged cartels.

The LTD first established their control over London's drive and hire racket when their predecessor the Coachmob received licence to beat up their rivals in the hired sedan chair trade in 1639. They doing the same today with their assault on the rickshaw trade, and unlicensed private-hire cars who LTD claim are all rapists or foreigners or both.

They just about tolerate the licenced private-hire car gangs (just foreign, probably not rapists), but ensure that they not allowed to pick up people from street since due to being bit foreign they don't have 'The Knowledge', an obscure qualification that mean you know slightly less about London streets than average TomTom.

Brian wisely assess that several thousand angry men who don't like foreigners, memorise AtoZ for fun, and have roomy boots, more important to his mission than bunch of students on unfashionable third-world bicycles - you ever seen rickshaw involved in drive-by hit?

Signor Livingstone going to be very nervous man crossing road.

Conservatori Family Values

Although I life-long Liberali I do try keep up good relations with other Families where possible. Only this weekend for example I down in Eastbourne visiting old friend Signor Waterstone the Conservatori buttonman for retiring the elderly.

Signor Waterstone is traditional Conservatori who believe in Family values. He bewailing to me state of cugine.

"It's ghastly Liberali, I don't know what to make of young people today."

"What you mean Nigel?" I say

"Well look at the teenagers running around at the moment, no discipline at all. Sure they steal, they rob, they mug, didn't we all, but there's no elegance to it. They have no respect for the old ways."

"Sure Nigel, but what can we do about it, different world these days."

"It's about example Liberali." he say rising angrily from his leatherbound club chair "Samantha! Crispin! downstairs now!"

Two rather dishellved young people enter the room. I rather concerned to see Crispin has a black-eye.

"These are my children Liberali. When they misbehave or break the Family's rules I subject them to reasonable chastisement."

I detecting look in Samatha's eyes that suggest some debate about how 'resaonable'. Crispin appear to wince when Nigel walk past him swinging his arms in his military way.

"Now some parents might believe that a stern word is sufficient. Perhaps they believe in the naughty step... or the hoodie recruiting step as we call it in this household... Not I sir... oh no... we do not spare the rod in this house... nor the baseball bat... nor quite often a set of bicycle chains... or spell in the Family dungeon learning the error of our ways next to the rotting corpses of those that cross Don Cameron."

I beginning to think my friend Nigel not all there up top as he get increasingly wild-eyed and starey. Samatha is anxiously looking towards front door.

"And what is the result Sir... you may well ask... fine upstanding decent children... young people who uphold our ways... no wide-boy gang members here... no Sir... no granny-bashing young thugs... oh no... happy-slapping you say... they'd rather spend a night at the opera with their grandparents... these are young adults who respect the Family"

"Actually Dad," say Crispin "We've just reported you to the Untouchables for sadistic abuse. They should be here imminently with the team from the child witness protection service."

I quietly make way toward back door and leg it over fence, leaving Signor Waterstone opening and shutting mouth like guppy. Suspect next time I see him might be visiting hours. Hope he get better soon.

Back in Westminster find time to drop into office of other Conservatori pal Derek "conman" Conway.

"Ghastly man that Waterstone." say Derek "You can't treat children that way and expect them to grow up respecting the Family. Me I treat my children with love and kindness. Isn't that right Freddie?"

"Fuck off dad I'm revising."

"Ha ha, what a wit my boy can be. Seriously Freddie it would be awfully sweet if you'd get your daddy and guest some tea and biscuits. You are technically working for me today."

There is sound of grumbling next door as kettle plugged in. A surly teenager eventually come in and put two mugs of hot water in front of us with selection of used teabags and broken biscuits.

"Er I think I not thirsty" I say

Freddie scowl and hold out hand.

I look blankly at him.

He scowl at Derek

Derek shift around uncomfortably

"Um thank-you Freddie you may go now"

Freddie looks like he's holding his breath

"Daddy and his guest don't want a display Freddiekins"

Freddie is turning blue

"Oh for goodness sake" say Derek reaching into pocket and thrusting a tenner at him. On taking the money, Freddie skulk off to resume studies next door. That is if studies involve on-line poker and large supply of Pringles.

Derek look very miserable, so to help out I later report Freddie's behaviour to Family monitoring team in Westminster to ensure he get proper training in how to help his dad. It good to do favours for friends, even Conservatori.

Sure none wiser though on what they think of as Family values. Much better in Liberali Family, or so Mrs. Liberali tell me as I cook her evening meal, wash up, and put bambinos to bed.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Signor Paddick lay down law

Signor Davey accompany me to have serious chat with Signor Paddick today.

"Signor Paddick, when we chose you to assassinate the Magisterium we did, if you recall explain to you some of the facts of the Family business."

Signor Paddick nod vigorously. "Is there a problem gentleman, nice suit by the way Ed, grey is definitely you."

"Problem... problem... well there is the small matter of your announcement today that you'd like to cut crime."

"Mmmm... yes?" I detect something of glassy-look in eyes. It look Signora Liberali tell me I have often when concentrating really hard on what she saying.

"Cutting crime Paddick, Family business... Family business, cutting crime... are you seeing the problem here?"

"Mmmm... I'm going to have to say no there Edward... would you like a Lambeth macaroon incidentally, they've got a smashing jammy bit in the middle..."

Signor Davey give strangled cry has hands start doing that clenching/unclenching thing I only see him do after talking to old Don Campbell. As he seem to be losing power to speak, I decide to be helpful

"You see, Brian, thing about Family business is, it mostly not very legal. Surprised you not know that, being an enforcer for 30 years. Although that does kind of explain why Lambeth Liberali faction have major boom time in puffy-puff trade when you running the show there."

"Oh isn't your memory just adorable" he say, connecting his knee with my midriff in surprisingly fast move, that leave me deciding to keel over sideways for little rest on carpet.

"Gentleman, the last two times you sent someone to dispatch the Magisterium, you did your usual bleeding-heart criminal thing. 'Oooh hark at us we're tough guys too'... 'come and have a go if you think you're butch enough Kenneth'... 'what about some compassion for the Family business'... it didn't work so well did it?"

I burble in agreement. Signor Davey is looking confused, or angry, or both.

"And did you see what happened there just now. Signor Liberali, thought he might get a little too close to me and disrespect me. Didn't you Signor" he stay demurely as he kick me in kidneys.

I choke an affirmative.

"That is also a mistake I intend to let Signor Livingstone make... You may not like my methods, they may even cause you pain sometimes," it seems my hand get in way of his foot as he pace around, and I can only concur... "but I'm here to do a job. And if making the Family uncomfortable helps me do it, that is what I'm going to do."

"So Signor Davey did you have any more questions or would you like to kindly fuck off so I can get on with organising this embarrassing amateur shambles you call a caporegime."

I really not sure I see Signor Davey turn that colour before, but he help me to my feet and we find urgent need to be elsewhere.

"I think I rather like him" I say "He remind me of Don Ashdown."

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Racket reform

Don Clegg been speaking this weekend about vision for Family.

"Paesano we must be bolder, clearer, and stronger, than ever before"

"Our ambition must be to break apart forever the two-Family system that has eroded the United Territories for too long."

"So I’m starting today by setting out some ideas on our rackets."

"We should never advocate change for the sake of it. But neither should we just be defenders of the status quo, and under my leadership we will not be."

"We are the only radical force amongst the Families. We must be the champions of new ideas: new ideas that will make our rackets better - more Liberali."

"As 2008 begins, we stand at a crossroads. Don Brown’s regime, barely six months old, already feels tired. More 10 year plans. More knee-jerk violence."

"Don Blair’s agenda for rackets was deeply flawed - timid in parts, unnecessarily violent in others. But under Brown - there is no agenda at all. He's quietly burying many of his predecessor's allies without spelling out who comes next."

"Hollywood Don Cameron hopes to persuade us that his Family is changing. But among it seems to me their instincts haven’t changed a bit. They claim to care about the weak and their ability to pay - but their only commitment so far is a cut in intimidation for their rich friends. They still want to make moral judgements about whether people should get married outside the Catholic faith or not. They’re still devoted to exclusive Family training. They're still focused on mercy for the lucky few - not wetting all our beaks."

"So much for Family mobility with the Conservatori."

"So there’s a gap in our business for a strong, protective, Liberali voice. We must fill it. And make the agenda of reforming the rackets, our agenda."

"But that means we need to challenge ourselves as much as we challenge others. We have long advocated more protection and more local control. With good reason too - ten years ago we were right to identify the crisis of insecure communities. We are right to condemn the pattern of over-centralisation of control."

"But times change. The last ten years has shown that raising protection isn't everything. The big questions now are these: how do we make the United Territories our thing, cosa nostra, without raising the overall burden of community insurance?"

"We need to stop just asking "how much", and to start thinking hard about "how". Marrying our proud traditions of 'right-on' and 'left-behind' Liberali, refusing to accept that one comes at the cost of the other. On that point, if not all others, the controversial Orange Edict was surely right."

'Too right' yell someone from audience who need to be taken away for quiet chat with Signor Laws and several leather-bound tomes of the Orange Edict tied to a large stick.

"This also means embracing a wider understanding of who runs things: not just for Capitani and Capo, but for cugine, the wounded, and our elders too. Power must be an everyday thing, not just reserved for the moment we need to have someone removed for non-payment."

"No-one in this room believes it’s acceptable that your ability to afford our protection is more determined by your parents’ income than anywhere else in the world. That means a child born in the poorest slums in Sheffield will be more likely to be hit for non-payment a full fourteen years earlier than a child born in the mansions near where I live a few miles away."

"The Labouristi believe that they must control everything. Liberali believe people must control themselves. As Signor Stuart Mill warned in 1859: A Family which treats their men of honour like children, even for beneficial purposes, will find that children are pretty lousy at taking care of business. They too short for a start, cry a lot, and can't use guns.' "

"Don Brown may have rejected direct control of all business. But he still believes he must control far too much. Just earlier this week, he was designing a initiative to "deep purge" every institution in the country. What next? Is he going to have a policy to personally put the "lights out" of every person that cross the Labouristi?"

"By contrast, I stand for these simple principles: The Family must intervene to allocate protection. The Family must intervene to guarantee access to our protection. And the Family must oversee the quality of that protection."

"But once those building blocks are in place, the Family must back off and allow the genius of local thugs to deliver. Give real power and responsibility to people on the front line - bringing an end to the faceless bureaucracies that make protection so impersonal."

"We will draw up plans for radically shrinking the size of all Don Brown's control agencies. This does not mean replacing thousands of those targeted by Don Brown with no one at all. We need minimum standards. Our enemies will be listed in a charter, and their termination will be monitored through independent inspection."

"I don’t think we should have such low standards for our hits that nailing about 20% of marks counts as a pass to become a made-man. It’s time to call a fail, a fail."

Where local enforcers take care of business they must also insist on high standards. I know some people might want me to stop right there. But I didn’t come into the Family just to transfer power from the Capo to the Capitani. That’s a necessary first step, but it is not an end in itself. We need to empower people who act for the Family every day."

"We know Capos can get in the way. But let’s not pretend that Capitani are blameless. They too can insist on unnecessary control. One of the outstanding qualities of the best Liberali Contrada is precisely their willingness to give power away."

"So, with these principles in mind, I want us to look at establishing a new Liberali model of training camps that are non-selective, under Capitani oversight but not run by the Contrada, and free to innovate to drive up standards. They could be established by any suitable sponsor with the right credentials, and by this I mean a truly vast amount of money that they're prepared to hand over to Signor Laws with minimum fuss."

"This new generation of training camps - let us call them Free Camps - will protect those who need most support; be accessible to all; and have the freedom from to innovate in the best interests of the cugine. Sometimes this may involve shooting the weak or disloyal, but not nearly as often as under the Labouristi or Conservatori."

"We also no longer want our wounded solidati to be treated as if they should be grateful recipients of inflexible, and sometimes second rate, Family care delivered from on high. I am totally committed to a national care scheme. It must always remain free at the point of use, accessible to all. But people need to be able to take more control. I want it to become a personal care scheme. So every wounded soldier should have a guarantee of treatment within a specified waiting time - paid for kicking in the door of a private clinic, if the waiting time is not met. Particularly if suffering driving them mental."

"On that note I have already made it clear to my inner-circle, particularly Signor Huhne, that any signs of madness can now be treated swiftly by dispatch to a suitable professional who will be able to assist them with their problems."

"So, in conclusion. An end to a controlling Family. More power and responsibility for local units. More power and responsibility for enforcers. More power and responsibility too for the people who use our protection. And greater space for real innovation in keeping the peace."

"This is the way to deliver a fair chance, and an equal stake in our Family. It is not only a Liberali agenda, it is what our people want. That is my vision for the Family. I hope all of us will work hard together today and in the crucial months ahead to deliver it."

Or this is what Signora Liberali tell me he said. I nod off shortly after heckler dragged away. It sure sound mighty impressive. Sure looking forward to enjoying new levels of local control, so long as the Don tell us what to do with it.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The difficulty of diversity.

At meeting of Inner Circle tonight we taking opportunity of lull in activity by other Families to discuss internal matters. Don Clegg and team leafing through papers and suggestions from internal Family groups. Winter Newsletter of Liberali Womenfolk catch Don's eye.

"Interesting, it says in this article 'Multiple Minorities' that girls who like girls are disgracefully underrepresented in the rulings echelons of the Family. Apparently only one of our wannabe Capos, during last Mattanza, was such a person, whereas there were 21 wise guys who like guys."

Signor Oaten, who has been allowed in to serve the coffee and grappa, trip and drop the biscotti on the carpet.

"Careful Mark" say Knuckles, "I not want to put something unclean in my mouth, huh, huh, huh..."

"Most amusing Knuckles" say the Don. "Signor Oaten you can find fresh biscotti in the store cupboard."

"I shall prepare one for Signor Carmichael personally" he say, as he walks out.

"Moving back to business, I did say when I put myself forward to be your Don, that I would do more to address the issues of imbalance in the public face of the Family. This sounds like a project in that vein. Do I have any volunteers to recruit and vet more lesbians?"

Twenty male hands shoot up

"Er... yes... excellent enthusiasm gentleman... anyone else... Signora Teather?"

"What the hell are you suggesting Don?" she say turning crimson

"Um... I was simply inquiring whether you'd like to take on this additional responsibility."

"No I bloody wouldn't, I've quite enough my plate taking care of the Business rackets. I didn't need a bloody support committee to prove myself..." and with that she stomp out crushing the biscotti into Axminster.

"Er Don..." say Knuckles "I'd like to propose Signora Willott... and Signora Goldsworthy... together... maybe it be to much for one Capo to handle." Signor Browne appear to be having difficulty breathing, as do number of other Capo.

Don Clegg give Knuckles a hard stare.

"I get the sense... gentleman... that some of you are not taking my diversity initiatives seriously." Signor Browne, who has turned unfortunate shade of purple, fall sideways off chair and get covered in crumbs.

"Perhaps 'No men by 2010' could run another talent-spotting contest" he say picking self up and dusting off almonds, "Maybe on Internet so they'd be easy to find"

Don Clegg give him another hard stare.

"You may leave gentleman. I can see I will need to consult more widely on this matter"

"I can lend you some magazines" yell an indistinct voice as we file out, shaking slightly. Pretty sure I hear grappa bottle hitting door as we leave. Diversity sure is dangerous issue that raise the blood.

Don shakes up our war-planners

As part of process of shaking up Family to take us out of comfort zone Don Clegg announce new appointments.

"First, to bring new thinking into the way we defend the Family I am reappointing Signor Rennard to manage our general planning. His vision of innovative continuity is exactly what we need to refresh our fighting capability with new traditional thinking."

"Second to ensure a consistent show of force, I am dispensing with a single leading planner and appointing Signor 'Whippy' Stunell to manage our Capitani, Wee Willie Rennie to corral the Capos, and Signor Davey to plan the planning committee."

"This 'overlapping consistency' will help reduce the problem under my predecessors where no one had any clear idea who was responsible for taking decisions. Now if there is a turf war in the slums of old Hallam it clearly a matter for Signor Stunell... unless a Labouristi Capo is involved in which case it become a matter for Wee Willie... unless there's more than one, in which case you must call Signor Rennard."

"If there is any doubt who to call you must call Signor Davey, who will call Signors Rennard, Stunell and Rennie... or me, and then I will call Wee Willie, or Signor Stunell, or get Signor Rennard to call them both, perhaps consult with Signor Davey to see who to call... I hope that is clear."

"Just in case it isn't I have hired Chris Bones, an expert in drawing very large and complicated charts with very exciting colours and shapes, to ensure this Family's planning capability can be explained in PowerPoint which he assures me is currently the greatest barrier between us and victory over our opponents. Some of my colleagues have expressed doubts about Signor Bones capability to understand our Family ways. However when he showed them how he billed his clients they were very reassured."

"Finally to ensure I receive the best possible independent advice on whether I should call Signor Bones, Signor Davey, Signor Rennard, Wee Willie or Signor Stunell I have appointed Jonathon 'The Impaler' Sharkey as my special advisor on communicating with planners. Jonathon has recently returned from a spell in sing-sing after his successful prosecution of a campaign for the Vampires, Witches & Pagans Family in downtown Minnesota. A logical progression from his previous role advising Signora Thatcher of the Conservatori."

Signor Sharkey inspire the troops

"In making these appointments I hope we can look forward to glorious future of clarity and effective planning. Drawing a line under the confusions of the past. Anyone who doesn't like that can take it up with Signor Sharkey. That is all."

It sure is great to know Family modernising for better tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Poverty is blight on Family

We discussing poverty with the Don today.

"Poverty, gentleman..." there is irritable cough at back of room "sorry, ladies, gentleman and the transgendered, thank-you for reminding me Signor Heath... is a blight on the Family business."

Signor Clegg paces around room as he speak

"The poor, gent... assembled paesano, are denied opportunities available to the rest of us, through no great fault or circumstance other than the accident of their birth. Consequently I am procuring the services of Signor Narey of the League against Orphans, Waifs & Strays to begin a study for the Family into how we can address this great injustice."

"Wouldn't the poor be less poor if we stopped stealing from them?" ask Signor Laws

"A fine question David, and as I'm sure you appreciate it pains me deeply to see a family laid low by the pittance we charge them for essential protection work. This evidently must stop."

"Instead we must work on improving their lot so they can afford to pay our reasonable rates of protection. This is the only sustainable solution to poverty for the Family."

"Happily Signor Narey's organisation has been thriving on making a business from the destitute for many decades. He has much to teach us."

This all sound good to me. The boys... ladies, and people confused about what wobbly bits they like, in Little Sicily, pretty of sick slogging around slums to collect small payments from mothers with adorable wide-eyed toddlers expertly trained in special pleading.

Much easier to collect from workplace or union dues. For that we need people in meaningful jobs. Hope I get to work with Signor Narey on his study.