I had the idea for this blog during the recent UK General Election. I couldn’t write it then, because there was too much on: tempers were frayed and the collective blood was up. Give it a few weeks I said. Let things cool down and return to normal I said. So much for that: things are crazier than ever.
This is a standard format for a blog / article / opinion piece. I will not claim any level of originality with it. I am going to ‘satirically’ set out several people I would offer as the ruling elite of this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but mostly for comedic effect. It’s just for laughs.
As such, let’s start with the Foreign Secretary, as an arbitrary choice. For now I am going to stick with the living and the non-fictional, so my pick would be the Queen. Genuinely. She’s foreign, no one would pick a fight with her, and she would be the most knowledgeable, best informed minister of any department of state in British history. I’m not suggesting, however, that I would be in favour of the junior royals taking the place of the junior ministers in the Foreign Office. That would be going far too far. No, you need Hey Duggee’s squirrel club for that: get them sorting out the Middle East.
Defence is an odd one. Do we have someone who is familiar with the needs of the military, and is supportive of their aims and strategies– for instance, James Bond – or do you have someone who would keep us out of war at all costs, shifting defence to diplomacy – for instance, Jeremy Corbyn?
Or do you try the middle way? Someone so sneaky that the other side doesn’t even realise they’re being attacked; someone who looks at the landscape of potential attacks on British soil and realises that a traditional military is not suitable for stopping terrorism; someone who will favour guerrilla over total war. Someone like Blackadder. Edmund Blackadder was a Captain in the trenches of the First World War, and so knows all too well the horrors of industrial warfare, and the need to avoid them; he operated a covert court around the Prince Regent, so understands the subterfuge in all its myriad forms; he survived the beheadings of Queen Elizabeth I, so is clearly a crafty little weasel.
While we’re in the fictional realm, my pick for Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster would be a little girl called Sarah, from the TV series Sarah & Duck. I don’t feel any further explanation is warranted.
Next up is the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Second Lord of the Treasury. Someone with a firm grasp of economics would be a great bet, but surely the civil servants deal with most of that? You need someone who can set an agenda, not plan a balanced budget. In the fifteenth century the post was held by a man ostentatiously named Sir Julius Caesar, so it’s hardly serious work.
Basically, I’m picking The Master. Or, in actual fact, Missy. The Master is my favourite member of The Universe of Who – someone so unbound by the laws of decency that they would either bankrupt the state by building another army of Cybermen, or clear the deficit in a trice, albeit at the expense of all of the other countries on the planet, throughout Earth’s history. And I’d be perfectly fine with that.
Supporting Missy, as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, would be Beaker from the Muppets, and for reasons I do not feel compelled to go in to at this particular juncture. He could share Missy’s accent.
As an aside, continuing the despicable efforts of the most recent governments, the Health Secretary would become a double team of Drs Mengele and Crippen. They’d do a better job than Jeremy Hunt.
We’re coming in for the biggie here, but I want to tackle law and order first. Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor / Justice Secretary were split in 2007; I would want to undo that. I would want the body of the law and its implementation encapsulated in one body. The body of justice: a judge and a law giver; a defender and a safeguard; a big man with a big gun. Ladies and gentlemen, Judge Dredd.
Good-bye crime rates: hello totalitarian over-lord. Prison numbers would shrink to nothing. We’d all be law-abiding citizens by bed time and woe-betide anyone caught doing otherwise. Justice!
Yes, of course it’s Prime Minister time! I’m going for an odd choice here with former Prime Minister George Canning, as played by the actress Tilda Swinton. Canning is the shortest serving of our Prime Ministers, his tenure cut short by illness. That alone makes me think the guy needs a second shot. He was appointed by the King over such luminous figures of British history as Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, and Sir Robert Peel. The legacy he could have had has been debated since his death; I think Tilda Swinton is precisely the force of human nature needed to bring that about. Honestly.
DEFRA goes to Jay Rayner, with food and farming going to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. They have such good and strong opinions we may as well give them chance to put them in to practice. They also seem humble enough to accept when they’ve cocked something up. Which is rare in politics.
You know how I occasionally state that I have some right wing economic leanings? I feel like I’ve mentioned it a few times. Well that mostly applies to business. Specifically the marketplace. I do not think that we should have a government department looking after business. They’re big boys and girls: they can look after themselves. No lifeboats, no bail-outs. Appointing some famous face Tsar to pretend that they represent the world of business at a government level is just an expensive lie too.
Controversially, for Education I would ask the teachers who they would like. Education, like Health, is used so often as a Guinea Pig for the odd ideologies of the party of government that I would like to see some degree of stability there. Some consensus from the people who actually teach our children and run our schools what our education policy should be. Not funny, but it may actually help people.