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by Judas Iscariot - Late December 2002

CHRISTMAS COMES but once a year, and for those of us who’ve overdosed on turkey, booze and aspirin in our personal celebration of Our Saviour’s birth it’s perhaps not a bad thing at all.

Few sadly paused to note the passing of former Moderati timeserver WILLIE WATSON, who has gone to the Better Life to Come. Willie had hoped to retire to a life of ease in his adopted home in Northern Ireland helping his wife run the family shop – a business which always pre-occupied him more than his union work in CPSA. Unfortunately for him his shop never recovered from the cease-fire and the wider shopping horizons it permitted.

Some shed a tear for the departure of JOHN STANLEY, the PATHFINDER martyr and editor of CHEESE, a ground-breaking alternative newspaper. STANLEY though is still in the land of the living. He, like many others on the DWP front-line, has simply abandoned the cause for the quieter life as a part-time untrained teacher.

But it’s been a Merry Christmas for ALAN CHURCHYARD, even though his bumper golden handshake did not materialise in his stocking afterall. ALAN had been sniffing around for something in excess of £90k for early retirement but as he’s only got two years to go anyway no-one at Falconcrest, right or left, was eager to take up his offer. CHURCHYARD has few friends apart from the odious Gauleiter of DWP, Herr LEIGH LEWIS. But he doesn’t have any real enemies either.

None of the Moderati like him. Nor have they forgotten when he prematurely jumped ship to join LORD UNDY’S camp. But they can’t do without him. He did all the donkey-work for BARRY, fixing deals with Management, like the infamous DWP’s Peterborough Agreement that could be passed of as a Moderati “victory” to everyone apart from the members in the department he was claiming to represent. He may still be needed to do the same in the future. And he knows too much about the Moderati’s past to be simply set aside – though not enough to be given the sort of RAMSBLADDER package that the GREAT SCOT foolishly discarded.

He can also count on continued support from the other side of the spectrum. Though some of the TROTS on the fringes of LUNITY are wondering why he doesn’t get the BARRY treatment given that he’s been in post without re-election for years none of the LUNITY biggies are biting. Though few if any know the details of ALAN’S contract none of them want to force a contest which can only benefit the loathsome LANNING.

The forthcoming section elections are uppermost in LUNITY’S collective mind. Their annual jamboree was postponed last month to give the comrades more time to prepare the lists for the AGMs and cut deals with the likes of UNDY and his cohorts. While the Assorted Trots expect to make modest gains on all fronts their biggest push is likely to be in Inland Revenue. There, PRIESTLEY and his IRMF are on the defensive having to defend EUERS’ initial support for BARRY’S abortive coup. The MAD MONK and his crew will be doing their usual stomping around the branches to mobilise their traditional IR constituency but the key will certainly be the influx of low-caste grades from BA, and they are largely expected to back the left. LORD UNDY will also be useful to them but only if his new “PCS Democrats” fields spoilers to undermine his onetime allies. Apart from moral support the Moderati can do little to help PRIESTLEY. Their own influence is restricted to nonentities like DAMIEN CARR and their unsolicited mail-shots are probably going to be kept in reserve for their own push to hold what they’ve got nationally.

The prize of course is the IR’s reserved seats on the NEC. If LUNITY takes most of them it would make their national bloc second only to the Mods – a good general swing to the left could even make them the biggest single faction on the executive.

This is the stuff that dreams are made of…Happy New Year everybody!