Agent Bertram called to Buckingham Palace!
It was a Saturday
It was early morning and someone was knocking on Agent Bertram’s front door. ‘This can’t be good. It has to be bloomin’ Buckingham Palace. If I’m wanted at the Palace, it’s always on a bloody Saturday, in my own time,’ thought Agent Bertram dragging his dressing gown over his crumpled nightshirt and stumping downstairs to the front door. ‘The one day that I get to have a nice lie in and then traipse around the shops with my Beloved… and that’s the day they choose to knock on the front door at eight in the morning just when normal decent folk are settling down to a few more zeds! However, as traipsing around the shops looking for wedding paraphernalia is not quite my idea of heaven, this could be a blessing in disguise…‘
Outside, standing on the front step of Bertram’s Gower Street home in London’s Bloomsbury area, was a middle-aged man dressed in a chauffeur’s outfit. He, being from Buckingham Palace, looked immaculate. Bertram scowled at him and glanced over his shoulder towards a Bentley Mulsanne car that positively oozed the colour black. This black was so deep and the paintwork so scratch-free that if it were not for the colourful Royal Crest on the passenger door, subtly announcing the vehicle’s provenance, it would have been difficult to determine if the car was really there at all.
“Something’s up at The Palace then, eh?” ventured Bertram speculatively.
“I can see why you are Her Majesty’s Special Agent… and I am merely the chauffeur,” drawled the man in the thickest of soupy tones.
“You’d better come in and have a coffee while I get dressed,” offered Agent Bertram, knowing that his offer would be politely refused.
“I’m sorry, sir, but if I were not here to protect the royal motor vehicle from wayward elements, something blunt might remove certain items from my personage. Items that might prevent my chances of parenthood should I wish to continue my family line…”
“They don’t mess about do they… Understood, old chap. I’ll be with you in a few minutes. It doesn’t do to keep Her Royal Eminence waiting.”
“Indeed not, sir…” the soup continued to flow.
Bertram closed the door and turned to see Gertrude standing in the hallway holding a couple of coat hangers suspending a freshly laundered, crease-free supply of his best bib and tucker. “Right Bertie! Into the living room with you my lad and get that nightshirt off. Put this lot on while I brush your hair. Move it! It doesn’t do to keep The Royals waiting. Affairs of State and all that.” Seemingly, Gertrude had been peeping from the bedroom window
On arrival at Buckingham Palace, the Bentley swept through the gates, past the Coldstream Guards sporting their L85A2 rifles and through the archway into the inner courtyard. The only noise that Bertram could hear was the scrunching of the Bentley’s extra wide tyres on gravel. The car stopped at the visitors entrance where an aide waited. Bertram had met this chap before and had neither learned his name nor found anything in his character to like. He thought of him as Mr Ooze, remembering that as far as soupy tones go, this chap had oozed beyond the realms of soupy and into those of a slow moving lava flow.
“Good morning Mr Mainwaring. If you would remove your inappropriate hat and follow me…” Under normal circumstances Bertram would have felt some pique at this comment but knew that it was merely the start of a belittlement process that all civil servants were subjected to before meeting The Queen. He’d suffered it before and knew that it was designed to remind him of just who the boss was.
“Prince Harry has one of these Tilley hats and considers them to be very smart, don’t you know?…” The aide’s eyebrows raised and Bertram swore that they’d crawled right over the top of his bald pate before sprinting back into place again.
“Ah yes, indeed sir. The young folk of today…”
“Well, at least I’m not the bloody doorman…”
He was ushered into an ante room to The Queen’s private office where he could hear her voice raised in angst. Bertram coughed to let her know that he had arrived, as the connecting door was ajar. It was then that a buzzer sounded somewhere in the office.
The Queen’s rather squeaky voice called out, “Is that you Mainwaring? Come forth into one’s Royal Majestic presence.” Bertram poked his head around the door and ventured forth. “Oh how delightful, you still have the hat. Harry has one too. One wonders where he acquired the poor taste. Enough said…”
“It looks like I need to get a new hat, Ma’am… Perhaps your aide may advise. I’m sure that he would enjoy the opportunity to humiliate me still further.”
“Less of the lip, Mainwaring. One’s lions need their mid-morning snack and if one were you, one would be more careful unless you want to be it! Now kneel down and grovel… obsequiously!”
Agent Bertram got to his knees ready to kiss The Royal Ring if it were presented. “Sorry Ma’am. I was labouring under the misapprehension that we had freedom of speech in your realm.”
“You do Mainwaring but not within one’s earshot. Now, one doesn’t believe that you have met one’s other two guests.”
Bertram had noticed two men in Army uniforms sitting on a Louis XIV couch. One of them was attired in a British Army uniform and the other in an American. They were both Generals. The Brit had a sniffy, supercilious air about him and the American, who was built as though he had been constructed from steel girders and filled two thirds of the couch, looked vaguely friendly. Bertram nodded respectfully in their direction whilst attempting to make out if they outranked him following his recent promotion by Her Majesty at The Ministry. On running out of fingers, he decided to play it cool and behave as an equal, Malapropping as he went. “Good morning, Generalmen. Pleased to meet you. I am Mainwaring. Agent Bertram Mainwaring, at your service.”
“Mainwaring…” said the British General, looking Bertram up and down with some distaste, “I am General Ponsonby-Pigby-Smythe. You may call me General…”
“In that case, you may call me Senior-Special-Agent-To-Her-Majesty-Queen-Elizabeth II, Mainwaring.”
The Queen interjected. “You people and your titles! Just remember who’s the boss around here and do as you are told. I’m The Queen and I’ve got top trumps over everyone… at least for now. The other gentleman, Special Agent Mainwaring, is General Dwight Eisenhower.”
“Hey there Bertie! Pleased to meet you. As you can guess, my folks back home weren’t too imaginative when it came to naming me. They even gave me David as a middle name. You wouldn’t believe the embarrassment over the years. It’s not a bad handle for an army guy, though… as things turned out.”
“A pleasure to meet you, General Eisenhower. Erm… Do I get to call you Ike?”
“You can if you like, Bertie. I’m not precious, like this bozo.” He nodded his head sideways at Ponsonby-Pigby-Smythe. Bertram smiled warmly and opted to sit in a matching Louis XIV chair, instead of trying to squeeze between the two army brass.
The Royal Angst
The Queen started proceedings. “Right, you lot. To business! One has grave concerns. You remember my parting words on your last visit, Mainwaring?”
“They are etched into my mind Ma’am. Your words were, Now get out you great twit.”
“Not those last words, you steaming great pleb! The sentence before that one!”
“Ah, now that would have been, There are sinister forces at work in Europe today. Do I take it, Ma’am, that those forces have become a threat?”
“Too blooming right they have, Mainwaring! Haven’t you been watching the telly? Didn’t you see what went on in Paris?”
“Indeed I have and I did, Ma’am. There are many issues that I keep pondering. The main one at the moment is: how did the terrorists get past the French Security Services with all those guns, evading detection? It is being reported that there were twenty or more people in the terror cell, so why were they not under close surveillance? And why on earth did the Belgium Secret Service not warn France? At least two cars were hired there and taken to Paris. I’ve heard reports of a vehicle containing weapons being seized there the day before the attack. Why did they not stop the terrorist Salah Abdeslam, whose brother Ibrahim was a bomber, from fleeing over the border after the attack? I hope to goodness that MI5 and the SIS have their socks pulled up or we are in deep trouble. However, if you could be more specific?…”
“It’s Johnny Bloody Foreigner! They’re flooding across Europe in the guise of refugees! Refugees my left foot! Economic migrants that harbour terrorists more like! What’s more they’re economic migrants that have their eyes on my hard-won Royal Jewels!”
“Ah yes, that threat… I hear from the idiots in the TV news media that they are definitely not heading here, so we can expect them fairly soon. The news media always has its own agenda and we must look to the newspaper and commercial TV owners to see what that is. I wouldn’t trust the BBC either – we tell them what to broadcast. I sense that MI5 is attempting to assuage public concern… and making a hash of it as usual.”
“Stop blithering Mainwaring! MI5 is there to look after one, as in me, not the bloody hoi polloi. What one wants to know is, what is one’s Government getting up to? The bloody lefties will just welcome these invaders and let them in!… And the true blue right wing are so terrified of being politically incorrect that they are now hoist with their own petard!”
“Yes, the politicians are a problem as they are cutting each other’s throats trying to look compassionate. Even the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding us taking in 20,000 hand picked refugee families over a period of five years, will still cause us problems. Unlike wind farms, you can’t just stick them on a Scottish hillside. But that’s what he’s trying to do. Look at the isle of Bute.”
“20,000 is the lowest number that one could get one’s buffoon Prime Minister Cameron to agree to. He insisted on showing willing but his nose is so far up Angela Merkel’s bottom that the 20,000 will be the thin end of a very fat wedge!”
“Yes Ma’am, I hear the statisticians say that every one we let in can attract, by means of marriage and other such alien subterfuge, up to 16 others from their family group. Over time the face of Britain may change. Well, to be blunt, it will certainly turn brown…”
“One had a trip to Harrods last week and driving through one’s Capital one could barely see a pale face! One is even thinking of shipping out and living at Balmoral, in amongst the heathen Scots! One doesn’t mind spending summer there but in winter it’s a ruddy nightmare! It’s the bloody draughts! After all, one might well be a superior form of humanity but one is still getting on a bit…”
“My friend and author, William Frederick, lives in Argyll. It’s a lovely place and the indigenous heathens are a fine people. The downside is, of course, the weather and the summer midges.”
“Stop blithering, man! Let me put it this way, Mainwaring: there are less and less monarchies around nowadays. Just look at France and Germany. In fact, take a look at this blooming map…” Her majesty thrust a map in front of Agent Bertram and continued ranting.
“…One spoke to Georg Friedrich only yesterday and he’s asked to come and live here! He says that Germany is knee deep in so-called refugees and there are thousands more every day.”
“Ah yes, Ma’am, I’m sure that His Imperial and Royal Highness is only too familiar with this issue. After all, the refugees are headed in his direction for now but when Germany’s full, we know that they will head for the UK. Even Sweden has closed its borders. I hear that IKEA are fresh out of beds.”
“Stuff bloody IKEA! One’s accounts people neglected to take shares in them. This rag-tag bunch of migrants will definitely head for one’s shores. They all want to live in the wealthy Welfare State countries. If you don’t act, Mainwaring, Europe will fall. Have you seen that video that’s gone viral all over the place? The one about the tidal wave of Johnny Foreigner migrants?”
“If I don’t act, Your Majesty?…
“Yes YOU Mainwaring! It’s a spot of delegating and as your Monarch, one is quite adept at it.”
“Yes Ma’am. However, I am surprised that they have shown *That Video* to Your Royal Eminence as it really is quite alarmist but I have corroborated its content with colleagues in Greece, Germany, France, Italy and Austria and it seems to be the real McCoy, as The Cousins would say.”
“One is advised that our own Welfare State and our National Health Service, whatever they are, can’t hope to cope with a tidal wave of Johnny Foreigner alien types.”
“I see. I am aware of the ‘We are all immigrants’ argument put forward by the naive left-wing bleeding-hearts and out-of-touch pseudo-intellectuals and those right wingers who are savvy enough to feign a measure of human compassion. They say that our health service would crumble without migrant workers, which to some extent may be true, but the NHS simply can’t cope with a huge influx of migrant patients. That would be the end of the NHS as we know it.”
“The NHS, Mainwaring? Remind one. Just what is that?”
“Ah, my apologies Your Majesty. It’s what we have just been talking about, the National Health Service. It’s where the poor people go to receive medical attention. Hospitals and so forth… Not the hospitals that you attend, though, as they are Private, but the ones that you open, or send one of the younger royals so to do.”
“Oh, so that’s what they are for…”
“They are very important as I’m sure that General Ponsy here would attest, as many of his ex-servicemen are treated by the NHS when they are invalided out of the armed forces.” The General bridled visibly but before he could object he was interrupted by General Eisenhower who had leaned across the couch and was examining the Brit’s shoulder epaulettes. “Say Ponsy! I thought that your shoulder pips were stars but look… they’re little puckering assholes. How appropriate!”
The Queen stepped in before punches were thrown, “Mainwaring! Is one beginning to detect a touch of Leon Lefty in yourself…?”
“Not at all, Your Majesty. The left wing and I have at best, a nodding acquaintanceship only. I am a loyal royalist through and through. I am fully aware that both my livelihood and social standing are tied up with the monarchy and I can assure you that you have my full and unwavering support. Remember that my grandfather fought in two world wars to keep this country what it is today and I’m not about to give it away to some fuzzy-wuzzy. I do not subscribe to the argument put out by halfwits that says, “Look at how their take-away food benefits our culture”. Our culture is reflected in our laws, music, art, drama, dance, literature, architecture, education and religion and it is European, not Foreign like the migrants are.”
“One is glad to hear it, Mainwaring. Remember, that if the Monarchy falls, so do you!”
“Exactly so, Your Majesty. We therefore need a way to look compassionate whilst keeping Johnny Foreigner from our shores. Hmm…”
General Eisenhower chipped in. “Er, Ma’am, Your Queenly Majesty…ness. If I might interject?” The Queen signalled that he was free to speak. “Why don’t we just herd them onto a great big boat, one that we don’t want any more, get them out to sea under the guise of a trip to dear old Blighty?… And bomb the bastards!”
The British General made his presence known. “That would be murder! There’re women and children amongst them! You can’t do that! It would be inhuman!”
“Just ’cause you didn’t think of it first, asshole… You were in Iraq, too, remember?”
The Queen picked up a sheet of paper from her desk. “Look you lot. Here are the figures. The exodus consists of 90% men, 75-80% of whom are young men. Only 10% are women and there are very few children with them. Does that say anything to you Ponsonby-Pigby-Smythe?”
Bertram interjected, “Well, Ma’am, it rather confirms that this is an economic migration or exodus, as you rightly refer to it. People fleeing a war zone don’t usually leave their women folk and children behind them.”
“One likes the cut of your jib on this, Mainwaring. Do carry on.”
Bertram continued. “So, as we have established that this is an economic exodus that we are dealing with, we would do well to find who is manipulating the news media to claim otherwise… and the pressure groups… and terrorist factions, and we have to come up with a strategy to keep the migrants on mainland Europe and not crossing The Channel.”
“Like I said, we should bomb the bastards!”
“It may yet come to that, General Dwight. But for now we need to find plausible reasons to prevent them from coming.”
“OK Bertie, I can see which way this is going… So how about we stick them in a flotilla of small boats, get them out to sea and strafe them with mini-guns from a few helicopter gunships!” The General slapped his thigh, beaming.
“Sadly, and as I think that your British counterpart might agree, there are simply too many of them and we don’t have enough small boats.”
“Then we could get them with the mini-guns when they are walking along that railway track from Budapest to Germany. A few Black Hawk or Apache gunships should do the trick. We just shoot ’em up a bit… and then we could bomb the bastards!”
General Ponsonby-Smythe finally found his voice. “So your strategy is based around airborne ordnance and…”
“And bombing the bastards! Yes General! We’re Army, remember? That’s what we do! Jeez, what a freakin’ wimp!”
Agent Bertram interjected with his own recommendation. “General Eisenhower, your strategy has a lot to commend it but I will recommend it only as Phase5 of a multi-stage strategy. There’s a reason that there is a body of water and big white cliffs between us and the rest of Europe and it’s not just a geological reason. It gives us certain parameters of control.”
“A five stage strategy, eh? Sounds like some sort of plan… What are the stages, Bertie?”
Agent Bertram’s Five Stage Strategy
“By and large, we try to make it look as though we are trying to help. Phase1 is Masterly Inactivity. We vacillate, then we prevaricate, then we do nothing and hope they all go away.”
“And when they don’t go away?”
“Then we slip into Phase2, Inept Bumbling. We tell them that aid is on its way to their homelands, do nothing and hope that they all go away.”
“And when they persist?”
“Then we slip into Phase3, Cry Corruption and tell them that the aid we have sent has been pocketed by their own officials and that they will jolly well have to go back home and sort them out as there’s now nothing further that we can do.”
“And when that doesn’t work?”
“Well, then we adopt Phase4 and stick up Foot & Mouth, Rabies and Nuclear Disaster posters at all points of entry to the UK, slap on a quarantine order, point guns at them and tell them to go home.”
“And what would Phase5 be, Bertie?”
“Ah… That’s when we send in your helicopter gunships.”
“Mainwaring. Go straight to Phase4. Get those posters ordered immediately and look around for some expendable boats.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”