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ROUND AND ABOUT
by Judas Iscariot -
Ides of March 2003

Cave Ides Martius! was Spurinna’s warning to Julius Caesar in ancient Rome. She went unheeded and Caesar ended up with a knife in his back – or rather several knives – on that fateful day. Some two thousand years later any astrologer will still tell you to be wary of March. The month is ruled by Mars, the god of war and the sun is in Pisces, a bad time to make decisions. Except, of course, for plotters, who like Cassius and Brutus, did remarkably well on the 15th.

Up and down the country the talk of the taprooms is of war and who might replace Blair as premier. But in the seedy bars around Clapham Junction a more familiar song is being sung.

It has been a terrible few weeks for the Moderati. While they were getting a pasting in the membership ballots, BARRY finally slunk off to graze on his golden handshake in a “no-publicity” court deal with the union or even a farewell to his onetime followers and crawlers.

The MODERATI did win the first ballot on revising the structure of the NEC – but only because it had been endorsed by the Underlings. But they were heavily defeated over annual elections and annual conference. Though some of their leaders had privately anticipated defeat they expected it to be much closer, and they’ve been clearly shaken at the number of votes LORD UNDY appears to have swayed.

Their response was predictably inept when the NEC met to set the timetable for elections and a national conference this year in line with the membership decision. Rising Moderati star JOHN McGOWAN, backed by the IR Me Firsters TED EUERS and LES PRIESTLEY, blocked the move on technicalities and the spurious claim that as the NEC was elected for a two year term that term has to be served out regardless of the members’ vote. Their real motive, of course, is fear.

The Moderati have still to choose a new leader. CURRIE has proved to be useless and ABRAMS is too lazy and isn’t Scottish. McGOWAN, a dour Scottish bible-puncher, may pull some votes amongst the high-castes but he cuts no ice in the Moderati’s old CPSA constituencies. McINTYRE still embraces the broon lemonade but BOYLE, on the other hand, is on the sick list and out of the running at least for the moment – paying the penalty for a lifetime of overindulgence and now under doctor’s orders to rest and forswear strong liquor. Before the ballots, the Moderati still believed they could weather the storm with the support of Messrs PRIESTLEY & Co this year. Now they know that they could get hammered and they want another year in office at all costs to try and recover some of the ground lost over the RAMSBLADDER scandal.

Whether they will succeed is another matter altogether. There’s a limit to how far they can go. An emergency NEC has been called for 13th March to appoint independent scrutineers for elections to take place. The Moderati majority will reject it again. The President, one JANICE GODRICH, who doubtless is taking legal advice, could rule them out of order. They could then go running to their learned friends but only if they can stump up the money to do it. Few Mods believe that BARRY will part with some of his fortune to bail them out and none of the rest are going to mortgage their houses on another fool’s errand in the courts.

In the meantime LEFT UNITY and HERR FLICK’S “PCS DEMOCRATS” are preparing a joint list to take on the Mods and the IRMF whenever the elections are called. In practice this is little more than a propaganda exercise. LUNITY’s support is largely drawn from the lower-castes while the Underlings are almost exclusively found in their old higher grade constituency.

Careful thought will be given to the situation in Inland Revenue though. The enlargement of the department has brought in a number of LUNITY activists from former CPSA areas strengthening the old Revenue Trots run by the RUNSWICK family. UNDY has no direct influence in the Revenue but he has cultivated a number of prominent former Me Firsters who are sick of the MAD MONK and EUERS and the joint list could put up a serious challenge if elections are held this year.

Though PCS DEMOCRATS as yet only consists of a poorly constructed website and UNDY’S telephone tree its credibility amongst the high-castes has been boosted by the recent polls. A decent swing against the Mods could bring many of them back on the NEC, and though they will be playing second-fiddle to the Assorted Trots, NOSFERUNDY clearly thinks time is on his side.

Even if the Mods are defeated LUNITY will have enough on its plate reforming the constitution for months to come – time for the PCS ARISTOCRATS to consolidate their base, or so they hope.

The UNDERLINGS know that GODRICH has to step down in 2004 under rule – paradoxically meaning that unless the Mod manoeuvre is defeated this year she might never achieve her ambition of chairing conference at all. In 2004 her Socialist Party caucus (the onetime Mendicant faction) will seek to replace her with another of their own. The likely choices are either her partner DANNY WILLIAMSON or LEON BAUGH. Neither will go down well with UNDY who will argue for SARAH JONES if he can’t get PETER DONELLAN out of retirement. And if the MODERATI are on the ropes the possibility of an independent PCS DEMOCRAT bid for the presidency has to be taken seriously.

HAROLD WILSON said that a week is a long time in politics and it’s no more so than in the seedy world of Falconcrest. One of the PCS DEMOCRATS newest recruits is GLENYS MORRIS (aka Mrs GEOFF LEWTAS). Last year she stood on the old ME FIRST list in LCD and was accused with others of using PCS LCD Group membership lists in the 2001 and 2002 Group elections. Needless to say the investigation is still proceeding. It has got past the ROMS committee on a couple of occasions and it has even reached the agenda of the NEC. But it never gets debated because of all the other nonsense that is going on.

In the new DWP Uncle Tom BIOSAH and DAVE ALSTON are sure of getting the blessing of the LUNITY/UNDERLINGS despite the fact that when DAVE was nominated for the Group Editorial Board he only got one vote from the GEC. Another hopeful, LAURA MARTIN is running against IAN ALBERT for the Departmental Directorate reservation. She only got onto the former DSS HQ payroll as a result of a deal done with MARK FISHER allowing her to get her promotion to SEO on an HQ board while still keeping her union posts and the juicy facility-time that she held on the old BA Group. Poor old ALBERT thinks that he’s still got half a chance – banking on the hope that the Mods hatred of LAURA is greater than their contempt for him. For those who might wish to vote for either of these two, IAN was a frequent and welcome visitor to the Streatham Strike Committee’s strike centre during the Pathfinder dispute. LAURA wasn’t. IAN is an independent candidate. LAURA isn’t. Remember this when you need someone to fight your corner without political motivation, as ALBERT’s name is unlikely to figure on the United Slatemakers list.

The Roman way of rewarding your henchmen and crawlers was to regularly wine and dine them - a bit like the buying of drinks and the promise of posts and jobs these days in Falconcrest. And a few days before Caesar’s appointment with destiny he called such a party for his followers. Though Julius had a famous sexual appetite he was indifferent to food and drink and usually spent his time going through his correspondence while his close friends at the top sofa talked about matters of the day. When the talk came round to the topic of “the best way to die” Caesar looked up and said “Suddenly”.

And so on the fateful Ides Julius bumped into Spurinna on the way to the Forum. He cheerily pointed out that he was still alive and well. “Yes they have come”, she replied “but they have not yet passed”.