Citizen Cuddis has yet to emerge from his annual detox (Lucozade drip, coconut-water enemas, hourl, hair-of-the-dog tequila slammers) following a New Year he claims he’ll never forget — if only he could remember it.
Cuddis’ protege, Frunkie Fobister, fills in. Frunkie couldn’t be bothered watching the Scottish parliament re-convene so that he might report on a typical First Minister’s Questions, so he made this up instead…
The Presiding Officer leans in to the microphone. ‘And now, First Minister’s Questions. First question, Ruth Davidson.’
‘Presiding Officer, last week the totally independent right-wing looney-tunes think tank, Tories Agin Sturgeon, reported that nobody wants the Scottish Government’s stupid baby boxes, that its new bridge is shite and that, so poor would an independent Scotland be, it would be reduced to selling clothes pegs to passing tinkers to make up for it’s worthless oil.’ She lifts a slender brochure from her desk and waves it about, desperately hoping that everyone will assume that this is the report she has just referenced. Yet, even visitors in the gallery can see this is a Lidl’s flyer for cut price Bratwurst.
Rooth has been unable to speak properly since Derek Mackay’s budget statement to the chamber when her face and her party alike suffered acute rigor mortis. Only now is her jaw unclenching, though she still talks as if an overzealous dentist has injected her with a day’s novocaine in one go. So when she ends saying ‘Presiding Officer, is this not a case of SNP Bad, SNP Badder, SNP Baddest?’ it sounds more like ‘Ethenpee Bad,’ — the ‘Eth’ clearly pronounced as a blown raspberry in the style Sylvester the cat from Tweety and Sylvester.
‘Nicola Sturgeon,’ announces the Presiding Officer. Nicola gets to her feet and demolishes Rooth’s nonsense as effortlessly as a wrecking ball destroying a Wendy house. The Presiding Officer now calls on Richard Leonard. Before sitting down heavily, Rooth bounces her biro off Murdo Fraser’s head in a fit of pique.
Leonard, already shouting like a fairground barker, boings upright like Zebedee, the Jack-in-the-box from the Magic Roundabout. ‘Radical agenda … use the powers …Oh! the powers … defeat austerity … 10 years of mediocrity …’
Leonard’s limbs are as uncoordinated as Stenhousemuir FC’s forward line. His left arm bangs in imaginary nails with an imaginary hammer, while his right arm makes a nostalgic run through various manual hand signals last seen when his grandfather drove a Morris Minor. In a dimly lit room, wearing an afro wig, he’d pass as an impersonator of that bloke from Boney M. By way of punctuation, he bobs down sporadically as if fired at by a sniper from an enemy trench. The overall effect is as syncopated as a jazz guitarist’s improv solo.
The sound bites come thick and fast as he finds his rhythm. ’Triumphant return … glorious Labour government … for as many of the few … heaps of houses, just heaps … ’
Like a mobius strip, Leonard’s chuntering has no end, so the Presiding Officer simply cuts him off.
Although Leonard continues to open his mouth and let his belly rumble, his microphone has been turned off, so Kezia stands. Corks suspended from her broad-brimmed hat dance and twirl. She reads from a sheet of paper. ’Presiding Officer, once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong — no, wait, wrong speech’. She coughs, turns the paper over, starts again. ‘I do not regret seizing the opportunity to discuss Labour values in the rainforest. Granted, any sensible discussion of clause four is hampered by having to communicate while your head is jammed in a flooded goldfish bowl full of Murrumbidgee River Sticklebacks with their stickles sticking in your face.’
A half-chewed chisel-nosed drongo bug larva — escapee from a recent bush tucker trial — wriggles out of Kezia’s hairline and falls with a fat plop onto the lectern. The temperature in the chamber has been steadily rising as the central heating powers up following the Christmas recess. As Kezia gears up to make one last vacuous point the chamber’s thermostats hit 72 degrees — the optimal temperature for the Australian equivalent of the Scottish midgie. A jamboree (collective noun) of these airborne terrors literally springs from Kezia’s hair to swarm about her head, undeterred by the bobbing corks.
‘Willie Rennie,’ the Presiding Officer announces.
Modest penny Rennie has been preoccupied with thoughts that the highpoint of 2017 was, for him, posing for a photoshoot in a pig pen, and is caught unawares. He stands up but cannot think of a question he hasn’t already asked half a dozen times since 2016. He sits down again.
A pest control squad rush in, capture Kezia in a giant butterfly net and cart her off for fumigation.