Dissident Congress website

The Man from the Ministry

By Countryman

The Mayor of the sleepy village of Bramble Wood, Mr Popham, greeted the Man From the Ministry, hereafter referred to as MFM, with naive optimism. "It is indeed an honour to greet you to our humble little village. We don't often receive interest from central government in this tranquil corner of the country. I gather that Bramble Wood is due to receive official recognition in some way, is an award in the pipeline - perhaps for the tidiest village in Britain? I do hope so, we do pride ourselves on our village's appearance".

"Well, actually no" said the MFM. "Your village has been designated a prime site for new town development. Non-Green belt areas are hard to find these days and this area fits the bill". The Mayor's face dropped. The MFM continued. "I thought I should tell you in person as it is a great honour to be included in the Prime Minister's modernising the countryside programme. Let me show you what we intend to do. The old disused RAF base a few miles from here is due to be renovated to house several thousand Albanian Gypsies. We need a town to serve their needs - shops and services, for example. This will mean a few changes to Bramble Wood, but I am sure you will agree with me on the need to be 'inclusive' and to provide all the social services they require". The Mayor protested but to no avail.

The MFM demanded a tour of the village. "Here is our local convenience shop run by old Auntie Bessie" said the Mayor. "She's a sweet old dear, she knows everyone in the village and everybody loves her". "Be that as it may" countered the MFM. "Aunt Bessie is woefully inadequate for what we envisage. We also plan to provide housing for inner city overspill population - they'll need bigger, modern hypermarkets, not pokey little corner shops. Auntie Bessie will have to go". They continued along Leafy Lane. "That's where we plan to build the hypermarket", said the MFM pointing to farmer Giles' farm. The Mayor gasped "I don't believe it!". "Yes, an offer was made to the farmer which he couldn't refuse and since we are the government no one can contest planning permission. A compulsory purchase has taken place and as the farmer could not afford to stay in business anyway he accepted our offer. We've had several companies showing interest including Undercutters supermarket chain. Their architects are working on a Dome design this very moment".

The men proceeded. "That's the local school and there's Mrs Brisset telling off little Roger the local rogue" the Mayor smiled. "She seems to be rather firm with the boy. I saw her grab him by the shoulder" complained the MFM. "Hmm, interesting..." He took out a little red notebook. "How do you spell Brisset?" he asked the Mayor. Let's take a look inside. "This won't do", he said. "Why?" enquired the Mayor. "You'll need new textbooks, for a start." The Mayor was puzzled. "But we only received these just months ago!" he explained. "Yes, but they'll need upgrading with multilingual books. Or did you assume that the new town would be majority white? That's typical of the unconscious institutional racism of you country folk!".

They left the school and reached the nearby doctor's surgery. "Now I can surprise you" said the Mayor. "We do have an ethnic minority-Doctor Patel!". "How can you live here surrounded by this bigotry!" squealed the MFM at the unsuspecting doctor. "They are not bigots, they are my friends. I have always been treated well in this village." The MFM grew angry. "You are a victim of imperialist deference. We can assign you a social worker to challenge your assumptions and help you rediscover your ethnicity. We have an awareness workshop you can attend in Peckham". "But I see myself as British" protested the angry doctor as the MFM headed off to the local pub.

This is our lovely pub "The Queens Head" and there is Beryl the barmaid in the corner" said the Mayor. "Barperson!" screamed the MFM in astonishment. "The name can stay but the clientele will have to change" said the MFM as he revealed a previously well-hidden red ribbon from behind his jacket lapel. "Why don't you hold gay nights on Sundays?" he asked her. "Why don't you ******?" replied Beryl.

Finally the MFM reached old Mrs Appleyard's cottage in Meadow Lane. "Hello, you must be the oldest resident" stated the MFM. "Yes" she replied. "What do you like to do?" he asked. "I like visiting the post office and having a chat with Miss Grimshaw the postmistress, and walking along meadow lane". "Oh!" said the MFM, knowing full well that Meadow Lane would soon disappear under tarmac and become a relief road. "Don't worry, dearie. After we've bulldozed this road you'll get a place in a nice council block and pension payments by direct debit. Save your legs! We'll even put you on the net". "But I don't want to be put in a net - I just want my little cottage!" she sobbed.

And the MFM promptly left Bramble Wood and was driven back to his penthouse in London's Notting Hill, safely cocooned in the grey, grey slabs of home.