Look out, they're behind you. Oh yes they are . . .

5th December 2003 at 00:00
Now we are entering the traditional panto season, I would like to share with you a new script that has just landed on my desk. It's only an outline but readers may feel that it has potential.

Scene: A high office in the Athens of the North. Two characters, Sir A and Sir F, are standing together. Both are dressed in black and can be easily identified as the villains.

Sir A: "Well, we've got them by the appendices this time. Never seen a more dreadful case of misuse of public funds."

Sir F: "Can't say we didn't warn them. They've had our people crawling all over them for months, but they just ignored all our excellent advice."

Sir A: "And you've got that in writing, of course?"

Sir F (with some satisfaction): "We've got letters, emails, faxes, tape recordings."

The two take up this refrain and sing horribly:

"Oh, we've got letters, we have faxes, we have got it down in black and white.

"We have memos, we have minutes, and it shows that we are right.

"Yes we are right, we are right, we are so very, very absolutely right."

There is a knock at the door and two more characters enter. Although initially they seem daunted at the sight of the high office, they quickly recover and step forward. Both are dressed as ordinary people.

Sir A (condescendingly): "Ah, the Principal Girl and her Chairperson, I presume? How kind of you to come. I trust you had a pleasant ambulation to our eminent abode?"

Chairperson: "Whit a rare spikker. Ah've niver heard sich a muckle blether afore."

Sir A: "How lovely, you must be from the Borders . . ."

Principal girl (breaking in): "I insist that you explain why you have summoned us here."

Sir F: "My dear girl, how charming you look when angry, but I'm afraid you must be held to account for your gross overspend."

Sir A (brusquely): "Indeed you must. Allowing the cost of your new study centre to exceed its budget by an incredible 6 per cent is totally, and I mean toe-ta-lee, unacceptable. Do you have anything to say, that we could understand (quickly glancing at the Chairperson), before we pass judgment?"

Principal Girl: "I think, if your eminences allow, I would like to show you something."

Sir F: "We can't be bribed, you know, and I assume that you aren't offering yourself, by any chance?" (looks hopeful).

Chairperson: "Fa's a havering loon than? Do you niver tire o' the flockin'

angels hairse wi' singin'?"

Sir F: "My God, when will they learn to speak English?"

Principal Girl (breaking in): "Look out the window at that building. Yes, the one that's a mad collection of insanely expensive architectural fantasies. Well, if you ever hold whoever is responsible for that to account, then we'll go quietly. In the meantime, as my Chair would say, 'Mind on let us ken if you evir wan us tae spik tae the press aboot it'."

Sir A (sputters): "That's outrageous, that's blackmail, that's . . . that's . . ."

Sir F (cutting in): "Irreverent, utterly irreverent."

Chairperson: "Precisely, and if I ever have the misfortune to hear from you again on this, then you may be assured that as we have one of Scotland's leading libel lawyers on our board, we will seek very substantial retribution indeed. Positively punitive. And now since it's the festive season we are off tae pit oor feet up, hae a fyang o nips and stuff the turkey!"

They both depart arm in arm and singing cheerfully: "Flockin' angels, hairse wi singin', fa la la la la, la la la la!"

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