Friday 8 November 2019

The List

By James McMillan

Twinings English breakfast tea, milk and two sugars.

Quentin seldom did anything that he considered to be important without making a list. So, when he decided he wanted to marry Miss Conway, he switched on his laptop, typed the heading MARRIAGE PROPOSAL then began the list.

Step 1. Ask Miss Conway to come to the meeting room 30 minutes early to discuss an important item for the agenda. 

Step 2. Before the meeting, try and find out what her first name is. 

Step 3. When she arrives, complement her on something. What? Her hair looks nice? No, you sexist pig. She has the most wonderful blue eyes? No, you sexist pig and anyway they might be coloured contact lenses. Her nice twinset? No! Forget the compliments, much safer to say something about the weather. 

Step 4. Tell her how much you appreciated her support when she canvassed for you during the by-election. To lose by 8 thousand was a better result than many had predicted in a constituency where the other lot can do no wrong. She played a blinder and people like her are the backbone of the party. 

Step 5. Give her the good news and the bad news. The good news is that Head Office said you put up a jolly good show and they are minded to support you as a candidate for that seat where our man, old what’s his name with his huge majority has now sadly got one foot in the grave and the other one on a roller skate. The bad news is that Head Office thought you were married and when they found out you were still single, they said that it might be a problem.

Step 6. Lie through your teeth. For goodness sake, you are a politician! You are not married because you have never got over Melanie your first love who broke your heart. Just hope Miss Conway never finds out Melanie said she would never leave her horses for a little oik like you.

Step 7. Come out with a bit of old waffle. Some of the party faithful still expect to see a candidate with a nice big photo in his election address of him standing next to a wife in her twinset with a small boy in short trousers on one side and a little gap-toothed girl in a pretty gingham frock on the other. The boy and girl are not essential really but there must be a dog in the picture. The dog I already have, he is an old English bulldog, and his name is Winston. He doesn’t like children. In fact, he hates just about everybody. But if he becomes a problem, I will shoot the bugger.

Step 8. Give her a load of old flannel. She has done so well as the Branch Secretary. The minutes are always ready on time. The guest speakers are always sent directions and hardly ever get lost now. She never forgets to bring a pint of milk to meetings and in line with party policy she recycles old meeting papers like a Womble.

Step 9. Be ready for questions!  You have never asked her out on a date. But now you’re suddenly proposing. Why? She smiles at me sometimes and I find myself smiling back at her. Actually, I really do like Miss Conway.  

Step 10. Try to hold her hand when things get critical. The success or failure of that manoeuvre might be a good indicator towards your fate.

Step 11. If proposal successful, have a quick snog before the meeting. If proposal unsuccessful, make a pot of tea and don’t offer her any.

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