Yesterday, I was invited to hear the King of the Badgers speech opening the new session at Badgertown Town Hall.
This address, delivered amid great pomp and ceremony, is a chance for the government to set out its new legislative agenda.
As my retinue and I arrived there was a loud explosion from the bowels of the Town Hall. The King of the Badgers ran up looking very dishevelled. "It's Beaver," he cried "he stole some explosives from your fireworks party and has used them to blow off the doors of the Treasury safe. He says he will give all the rates money back to the people. Hundreds of badgers are listening to him."
We rushed into the Council Chamber which was awash with badgers. Beaver sat upon the throne shouting a speech. He spotted us and cried out "Look at the great bloated bladder of lard who has just rolled up from his castle! Look at him, citizens, but don't despair! One step at a time! Badgertown today! Homeward tomorrow! Forward! Forward! Join me in manning the Town Hall. Don't be afraid! You're in the money! No more tuition fees! Free degrees for all! You can all be a B.A. and M.A. without effort! That's your right! Down with the bloated tyrants and the silly old King of the Badgers! Join me and rule the place sanely! Up slaves and crush the monster! Share in the share-out!
Hateman's speech was having a great influence on the simple badgers - they were rallying to his side. You are going to have to promise them something really good I whispered to the King. "Oooh I know, I've got a great idea!," he said. He turned to his people and shouted "Flexible working rights!"
The badgers all looked slightly baffled. "What does that mean?" cried one young badger. "Eeerm.." said the King, struggling for an answer "It means....you can work when you like for as long as you like..." he stuttered.
This made the badgers smile and Beaver looked worried and confused. I'm not surprised...it sounded like one of the half baked ideas he would come up with.
What finally clinched the change in events, though, was when one of the badgers spotted a cart filled with gold being driven at a furious pace by Hitmouse towards Badfort. "Oi! they are nicking our taxes!" he cried, and suddenly a stampede of badgers made a rush for the doors to give chase.
Taking advantage of the kerfuffle I seized the Great Town Mace and with a trumpet of rage brought it down on Hateman's head.
My sense of triumph was short-lived as I suspected that I would end up having to bail the King of the Badgers out, yet again, in order for him to fulfil his rash promise to the citizens of Badgertown.