Graeme Archer is a medical statistician, a former winner of the Orwell Prize for blogging, and recently a speech-writer for a Cabinet Minister.
Killer clowns are on the loose across the UK, in the craze that’s sweeping the nation [writes our local news reporter]. But not everyone is amused:
“I heard of a woman in Cumbria holding a small child in her arms who was overcome with fear as two of these idiots appeared with no warning in front of her,” writes [Bibbledy Bob], in popular freesheet The Guardian.
Take the latest appearance by ‘Sir’ Bernard Coco-Whatever, self-styled chief of the radical ‘Metropolitan Clowning Service’, whose antics throughout the capital and beyond have sometimes veered from comedy to tragedy.
Last week a report into the farce of ‘Sir’ Bernard’s Midland operation, which accused innocent men of being child-sex murderers, was produced, but not published.
Sources close to ‘Sir’ Coco said his refusal to publish the full report was a vindication of his leadership of the Metropolitan Clowns:
“Just because we let the media know that entirely blameless men were accused of murdering one, two or – who knows? – a dozen children in a London flat, and lumbered flat-footedly all over the houses of those men, doesn’t mean I did anything wrong,” intoned Sir Whatever, his gaudy and painted-on smile eerily not matching the stone-dead lifelessness of his cold, cold eyes.
“Yes, the wheels may have fallen off the car. But so what? It’s all about the kiddies, innit?” He ended, threateningly: “You’ve gotter larf mate. Or I’ll do yer! Har har har!”
But what of the people your clowning smeared – the lost careers, those who died before their innocence could be
“Look, I have apologised. Credibly, and truly, if privately, and deniably. I regret having to apologise; now let’s ‘ave a larf, right?”
Meanwhile, the clowning of Operation Midland has been so successful that it is studied with care by the producers of the long-running Whitehall farce ‘No credibility please, we’re IICSA.’
“We’re more sophisticated than the killer clowns, of course,“ said a made-up source at IICSA, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. “While Sir Hogg-Whatever was content to allow the condign punishment of various famous people on the basis of demonstrably false claims from a neurotic anonymous witness, our inquiry will go much further.
“Our inspiration is Mr Casaubon from Middlemarch; but while he drove himself insane with an impossible search for the “Key to all Mythologies”, our target is the key to all abuse. Wherever it has occurred, by whomever committed, at any point in the past, present or future, our inquiry aims to ensure that We Are All Found Guilty (apart from various protected categories, subject to equalities legislation).
“While the killer clowns of Midland were basically ‘Gotcha paedo!’, we’re more theatre of the absurd than custard pie.
“For example, we’re already planning an inquiry into the Independent IICSA inquiry; a ‘meta-inquiry’ to ensure lessons are learned and fully implemented…” Here the source tailed off, as though embarrassed by the script he was reading.
(“You might call it An enquiry concerning human incomprehension?” I suggested.)
The IICSA source outlined some of the absurdities already implemented, starting with The Truth Project: “A groundbreaking approach to evidence. Anonymous claims will be gathered [via a website] and treated as the truth. Because it’s called ‘The Truth Project’, you see? It becomes true, because I say it’s true!”
Furthermore, IICSA has dispensed with antiquated notions about ‘authority’. Rather than having the inquiry chairperson sat in a position of importance and respect, the presiding chair has been replaced with a ducking stool.
“At various points in the proceedings – scheduled to last until Armageddon – our truth-telling witnesses can stand up en masse and scream ‘You’re guilty, too!’ at the chair. Then we drown the witch,” said the source, wiping the latest smear from his lips. “Fun for all the family!”
It had been rumoured that Franz Kafka applied to chair the inquiry, but was ruled out as (a) his approach to plotting was insufficiently Kafkaesque for IICSA’s needs, and (b) he was male.
(All inquiry chairpersons must be female, because lazy assertion that all men are basically rapists, lack empathy etc. Since IICSA seeks to establish the truth, it was felt important to build it up from a foundation of hoary cliches. “There’s no smoke without fire, you know!”)
However, Mr Kafka’s gender, and ‘dead’ status, notwithstanding – given the current burn through rate in inquiry leadership – another made-up source in the Home Office admitted that he’s no longer out of the running, and that his corpse may well be dug from its resting place in Prague, transported to London, and pelted with hysterical eggs before being ceremonially burned.
“That’s our back-up plan, anyway,” said the civil servant, nervously avoiding eye contact, while preparing to screw on a big, red nose.
The clowns looked at the inquiry, and the inquiry looked back at the clowns. You know how this ends. We are indeed
all guilty: guilty of suffering clowns madly.