On Friday I had to appear before the Badfort Inquiry, that has been forced upon the King of the Badgers by dissident Pro-Badfort supporters in Badgertown.
It is investigating the events surrounding a big fight that took place on the outskirts of Badfort last summer. The Badgertown police were attempting to confiscate a giant catapult built by Beaver Hateman and his cronies, with the aid of myself and my followers.
"Sir, can you tell us why you decided, on that fateful summer day, that it was necessary to take violent action to prevent the threat posed by the Badfort Crowd's giant catapult?" asked the Chairman, most politely.
"We had tried sanctions - we had cut off all supplies of Black Tom and Scob Fish. We had made it clear that if you were a regime engaged in WMT (Weapons of Mass Throwing), you had to stop. However, we had intelligence that they were about to engage on catapulting a large Duck Bomb into Badgetown. As you know, Duck Bombs cover you from head to foot in a liquid that looks like lemonade but instantly turns into a tough jelly which is almost impossible to remove. The bomb would have been large enough to cover the whole of Badgertown in this substance." I replied
"The claim is now made that this bomb never existed and that you were, in reality, intending to scare the populace in order that you could take over Badfort. How do you answer this accusation?" asked some upstart bod on the panel.
"It is sheer nonsense!" I exclaimed "I am a law abiding, good citizen - it would have been unlawful to seek regime change at Badfort!"
"You were not in the least tempted by the abundance of nearby Scob fishing grounds?" he asked.
"Can't stand the horrible oily things!" I retorted.
I brushed aside my statement, during a Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation interview, that I thought it would have been right to remove Beaver even if we had known he had no large Duck Bomb.
I told the them: "Obviously, all I was saying was you cannot describe the nature of the threat in the same way if we had known that they only had tin tacks, skewers, and small Duck Bombs - not a giant Duck Bomb. It was in no sense a change of position."
"Is it not true that the King of the Badgers wanted the Badfort Crowd removed from his doorstep? and that you secretly agreed to this?" the questioner continued.
"The only commitment I gave ... was to deal with Beaver Hateman. That was not a private commitment. That was a public commitment." I replied.
"The intelligence at the time indicated that the Badfort Crowd could fire duck bombs from their catapult in 45 minutes!. Where did this intelligence come from?" asked another panel member.
"It came from an impeccable source. Whitebeard's father had overheard Hitmouse and Hootman talking about it at the bus stop. I did believe it. And I did believe it beyond doubt." I countered.
"But these were only small Duck Bombs - not a long range large Duck Bomb. As you know, The Homeward Gazette claimed that the Badfort Crowd could launch a giant Duck Bomb from their catatpult within 45 minutes. Was this not, in fact, a complete misinterpretation of the facts?" wittered another.
"It would have been better to have corrected it in light of the significance it later took on." I admitted.
"Did you consider the alternative theory - which turned out to be true - that Beaver was claiming that he had a weapon he did not possess because he did not want to lose face?" asked the Chairman.
"Beaver is a big boaster, it is true. But one cannot take risks. This isn't about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception. It is a decision. Mine is a huge burden but one has to take responsibility. The Badfort Crowd are still in Badfort - but we have their Giant Catapult. They must be made to realise that if they are naughty and do not behave themselves then they will get a good kicking up!" I declared.
At this point, there were cheers from the badgers and boos from the Badfort Crowd.
Cowgill has just given me a splendid new invention that he has developed.
He calls it a tablet device and has named it the ePad (e for elephant - after me).
It is most ingenious! I can use it to make telephone calls all around the world. It has a digital display with the usual rotary dial that we are all used to. One can enter a telephone number for outgoing calls merely by using one's trunk to turn the numbers 100 on the 'virtual' dial. This puts you through immediately to the Homeward Exchange, run by Miss Strangebody. She can then, almost instantly, connect any international trunk call.
But the device can do even more! By adding a televison aerial accessory one can even watch one's favourite programmes!
It also has word processing software - it has a permanent telephonic link with Lucy the Parrot who is ready at all times to transcribe my dictation!
More snow. The Badfort Crowd are still trapped here at Homeward and abusing my hospitality.
Beaver Hateman and I had another discussion about the past decade as we sat by the fireside in the Great Hall.
“Everyone wanted to stay young, didn’t they!” scoffed Beaver.
“Yes curious really, “ I responded “Best exemplified by the School Disco phenomenon, I suppose.”
The school disco idea had been Noddy Ninety’s. As you know, Noddy is ninety years old and loves to pretend he is a schoolboy of ten. He wears a little grey flannel jacket and a flaxen wig on his bald head. He has been expelled from Dr Augustus Lyre’s Select School for Young Gentlemen time and time again, yet he worms his way in again so cunningly that it’s only after several weeks that he is found out.
“Yeah,” said Beaver “who would have guessed that so many people had the same repressed urge to dress up in school uniform, like him. Got to give it to the old codger – he spotted an untapped marker there!”
“It’s a shame that his other interest did not prove more profitable – I believe his Model Railway Club only lasted a few weeks, perhaps the sound of steam whistles did not have a sufficiently mesmeric beat?” I mused.
“There were some interesting sartorial inventions in the decade – I seem to remember at one point you Badfort Crowd all took to wearing hoods?” I added.
“Yeah, and bloomin’ Cheapman banned us from his store!” shouted Beaver.
“Well, that might have something to do with the fact that Hitmouse was threatening shoppers with his skewers in order to bag the bargains at Cheapman’s many sales!” I rejoindered “I really don’t understand the need to search out bargains at Cheapman’s, it is not as if the non-sale prices are high – one can buy an armchair for a halfpenny”
“That’s becos you are rolling in it you big fat cat! We was making a good profit selling his stuff on ebay till we got banned!” retorted Beaver. “Then you stuck up gits nicknamed us Bavs!”
“When you started wearing lots of gold chains and Burberry, you mean?” I asked innocently.
“Listen mate, that was a subversive act – taking over a bastion of the Homeward elite!” he screamed “You don’t own Homeward as far as I’m concerned mate – you just got it on a long lease until the day of the revolution!”
“That would be the bling revolution, would it?” I laughed.
“You just wait and see, people will get tired of you billionaire playboys – there fed up with you wealthy celebrities meddling in finance and politics just cos you’ve got the money to get the results you want!” screamed Beaver.
I had to respond. “It is true that the last decade has been one in which I have become a world celebrity. That is because it has been a decade of meritocracy and I have personified this – a humble elephant from lowly beginnings now a giant figure on the world stage, my ideas feted…”
“Aww shut up you big windbag…Its your spending and conspicuous consumption (of vast quantities of food, mostly) that’s fascinated the poor folk” he interrupted. “Uncle partying with Kate Moss, Uncle and his fabulous lifestyle, Uncle at the G2 summit blah, blah, blah, the media lap it up and you know it!” he spluttered. “Look a the scandal over those Brits, Mandelson and Osbourne, being entertained on your yacht!”
“That is grossly unfair. I would rather not be seen and not heard, I do not court celebrity. However, one tries to lead by example. I have risen to my position by extolling the virtues of good citizenship and entrepreneurship!” I countered.
“Oh yeah, peddling that idea that we can all get ahead! That bloomin’ Homeward Singing Contest guff…you can have it all…. fifteen minutes of fame and wealth beyond your dreams!” spluttered Beaver.
“The Homeward Singing Contest, as you well know, is the most popular television programme that the Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation transmit. It shows that fame and wealth can be gained by merit, in just the same way as I have achieved my status in the world!” I retorted.
“Huh, what sort of meritocracy is it when we still have the likes of Augustus Lyre’s Select School for Young Gentlemen?” screeched Beaver.
“Listen, Beaver, the class war is over. Look at that nice Mister Cameron, he went to a very similar school and he is a very ordinary man. I am not keen on his musical tastes, I admit. I prefer a nice bit of Schubert. However, he seems a good sort and although I like Gordon I am sure he is a man I can do business with.” I argued.
“Pah!, you think you got it all stitched up don’t you? – with your big smiles and your cosy fireside chats….you wait and see mate…” grumbled Beaver on and on.
Honestly, talk about throwing your generous hospitality back in your face!
I am still stuck with the Badfort Crowd, abusing my hospitality.
It looks like I will have to put up with them for sometime, as the roads to Badfort are still impassable.
However, we have all hunkered down in the Great Hall and to pass the time we have had some interesting discussions by the fireside. We have been debating the momentous changes that have taken place over the past decade here at Homeward.
One of the biggest changes has been that of globalisation, something that I thoroughly approve of. For now, has not Homeward become an example to the world?
“We now live in a wired, interconnected world!” I declared “and my message of caring capitalism and good citizenship can be decimated to all!”
“Your propaganda you mean, Unc!” retorted Beaver. “Still, two can play at that game – Badfort TV is now a world wide information channel - exposing your bullying to all!”
“There is always a cloud to any silver-lining. One has to accept the fact that your anarchic nonsense will be ignored by a larger audience.” I mused.
“Your only jealous because of the money pouring into Badfort TV’s coffers from the rights to show Dwarf Throwing!” smirked Beaver.
Who would ever have guessed that dwarf-throwing would become the International sport that it has? I find it a vile and detestable exhibition but it has proved popular all around the world. I put this down to the Badfort Crowd allowing foreign players to compete on the Badfort teams. Each time a native joins a team their home country is hooked.
“Of course, the other major change of the last decade has been that of economic migration. My prudent handling of the economy of my vast domain has meant that Homeward has become the premier place for those wishing to build a better life!” I remarked.
“Huh, more likely it was your decision to pave the streets with gold wot done it!” countered Beaver.
“Well, something useful had to be done with the surplus!” I argued.
“Yeah, but look wots happened – everywhere you go you here the voices of those Brits! Before long we started getting British shops on the streets. Then the local baker became a British baker. Then you would hear about people having got British nannies or gardeners or Brits painting their houses. Bloomin’ Brit builders! – doing us Baddies out of construction work!” spluttered Beaver.
As you know, Badfort is a ramshackle affair and the Badfort Crowd are well-known for their shabby building methods. They also have a habit for demanding most of the money up front, and then disappearing with it to buy copious amounts of Black Tom.
I thought it probably for the best that they could no longer inflict their ‘skills’ on the citizens of Badgertown – but I forbear to remark on this lest it send Beaver into a temper tantrum.
“Mind you – I like the food they have brought with ‘em. I like the Scob Fish and Chip Shops that have sprung up all over the place.” mused Beaver.
“Globalisation has had another great benefit,” I added “the tourist trade has increased substantially over the last decade with the lowering of air fares to Homeward. It has become the premier destination for the cognoscenti who appreciate the magnificence of my towers. So much so, that Dubai attempted a to emulate its glory – a rather pale imitation of the grandeur of Homeward, I fear.”
“Oh yeah, we made a packet out of Badjet Tours! Until you spoilt it all!” grumbled Beaver.
Beaver was referring to the dodgy airline that he set up offering cheap Stag tours to Badfort. The reason that he was able to run such a low cost service was because his aeroplane was a miserable and rusty affair - a positive death trap. This did not deter the Brits, however. They were too obsessed with the thought of all that cheap Black Tom. Of course, Beaver and his gang completely fleeced them along the way. They charged 2/6d just to use the toilet on the plane – a bucket in the tail plane!
I had to put a stop to it. The Brits were marauding around Badgertown drunk on Black Tom and leaving a trail of destruction and vomit. The plane being made of a sooty black material meant that they left carbon footprints everywhere, as well.
“Still, it was a good scam whilst it lasted!” laughed Beaver taking a surreptitious swig of the Black Tom that he thought that I was unaware was hidden in his sack suit.
I took a snort from my bucket of cocoa and pondered the inevitability of further evenings in his tiresome company.
Winters are always bad, here at Homeward, but this is the worst in at least twenty years.
All one can do is hunker down and have a bit of a hibernation - as nature intends at this time of year. At least, it gives us all a bit of peace and quiet.
Or, at least it would if it were not for the Badfort Crowd.
They have been my enforced guests since the Christmas blizzard made it impossible for them to return to Badfort!
As always, I play the good samaritan but do I recieve any thanks?
Beaver Hateman and his gang just complain all the time. You would think that staying in my palace rather than their ramshackle, draughty old wooden fortress would make them grateful - not one bit of it!
They are up their usual tricks as well.
It has been very tough for Noddy Ninety, who is determined to keep the switchback railways running. Yesterday morning he found himself caught in a snowdrift.
He was most gratified when the Badfort Crowd rushed up to dig his engine out. "Thank you, most profusely Mister Hateman" he declared. "Right that'll be five bob, mate!" came the reply!
Of course, the transport problems have meant that many passengers have been stranded at stations and airports.
Imagine their delight when, it appeared to them, some fellow travellers provided them with some impromptu entertainment.
However, their delight turned to horror when the songs proved to be defamatory ballads on the theme of my governance!
This was followed by an ugly brute in sackcloth demanding payment for the caustic verses!
The Badfort Crowd again, of course.
The terrible weather has also led to a shortage of brandy for the Saint Bernard rescue dogs. So many dwarfs have become trapped in the heavy snow, and they do like a tipple.
It transpires that Sigismund Hateman has been selling 'Black Tom', as a substitute to the dogs. The hospitals are now full of incapacitated dwarfs due to the noxious effects of the infernal brew.
To cap it all the Old Monkey discovered Hitmouse with an axe - in my own forest of exotic trees! Some of them are worth a fortune! He had been cutting them into bundles and selling them for 2/6d!
"Look mate!" he argued "I am just redistributing from the wealthy to the needy! - with a slight mark-up to cover my expenses."
I know one should try and be neighbourly in this inclement weather, but my patience has been stretched beyond the bounds of good citizenship!