It’s Been a Year of Pantomime in The Lords

By Ray Wilson

Christmas Chronicles

It’s been a morning of dull grey skies and long, persistent rain. I got back soaking wet with a soggy dog, having walked the hills above my dad’s village. I parked the motorcycle combination and quickly changed into dry and somewhat more respectable garb. My missus, having picked up Trev en route, was on her way back to pick me up.

“Looks a bit brighter,” I say, looking at the scudding grey clouds breaking to reveal patches of blue.

“Don’t jinx it,” Trev says as we get parked up outside the venue.

We meet up with the family—my son and his partner. The new baby suddenly awoke, looked around, and yawned. His sister was already in the queue, holding my son’s hand.

The pantomime—the inaugural production of Snow White—started promptly at one o’clock.

There is no mention of the seven dwarves in the title. The bells ring out, and a winter wonderland plays majestically—the musicians concealed in the orchestra pit with the drummer and keyboard player under the stage. My son’s partner had the tickets; she was a trained singer and dancer and had performed in such productions in the past. As the curtains rose, the stage transformed into a magical forest, with vibrant sets and costumes. We are captivated by the incredible clarity of the music and vocals. Trev and Missus clap along as my son’s partner unexpectedly bursts into song with her vocal accompaniment, “Let the bells ring out for Christmas.”

The backdrop scene is peppered with curled manuscripts. Plague-free wine; a box of frogs; a load of cobblers as fine snow blows across the stage. The royal goat herdsman calls for Greta, his goat, who, it turns out, is behind him.

The audience is asked for a volunteer—a volunteer entrusted to operate the gigantic red button of fun—”but only when instructed—sometime in the second act—so don’t worry, just be ready,” a slightly perplexed gentleman is told.

Our granddaughter looks on, also perplexed, as nurse Dumpling waltzes on with her red cross beacon flashing. Our 6-month-old grandson looks out unperturbed from the safety of my son’s arms. The atmosphere in the theatre is filled with anticipation and curiosity.

Nurse Dumpling announces that it’s genes that make you fat—especially that Gene that works in Gregg’s.

The evil queen, Evelyn, makes her appearance as thunder cracks and pyrotechnic lightning sears the stage. A large black mirror lowered from on high

“Magic mirror on the stand, who is the fairest in the land?”

The virtual reality AI mirror—the mirror that never lies—answers, “That over the seven jewelled hills past devils peak—higher than the peak—emphasised by a chorus of very high, squeaky voices.

High in the seventh fall, in the cottage of the seven dwarves, dwells Snow White, the fairest of all.”

Prince Frederick was unconvinced by the testimony of Queen Evelyn, as she told him that she knew nothing of the girl, Snow White. He is besotted with the girl with skin as fair as the driven snow and hair as dark as the raven black night. After Muddles, mesmerised by Queen Evelyn, fails in his allotted task to assassinate Snow White, the queen decides she has no choice but to do the deed herself.

The Queen is furiously envious of Snow White, the only one whose beauty exceeds her own. In a final attempt to eliminate her sole, unaware competitor, she disguises herself as an old woman and tempts Snow White to eat a poisoned apple.

Booing and jeering echo around the auditorium as the wicked queen reveals her plan.

I accompany my son to get ice cream for everyone during the interval. I want to pay; the venue doesn’t take cash. I explain my disappointment. I hand cash to my son, and he pays with his phone. We talk about pantomime and the years of pantomime that our taxes have funded—not, I might add, a pantomime that I ever wanted to participate in, fund, or be a part of.

It’s been a year of pantomime in The Lords, and now it’s the grand finale:

“The Christmas Chronicles.”

“How would that production look?” I muse, looking at my son as we make our way back to the circle, laden with tubs of vanilla ice cream.

“Dad, what were you scribbling in that book of yours?”

“You know me; just a few ideas,” I reply.

Many of our political actors were initiated by an ancient right of passage.

One such was recently described as the F**k Pig Club:

Despicable acts of cruelty involving animals and children—well, only God knows. The players—one minute, the goodie, the next, the baddie—all trained in the dark arts of flipping the bird.

Who is waiting in the wings in readiness to perform in the allegorical pantomime? Let’s see, it could be an international cast, although there is home-grown talent aplenty. Matt Dazzolam—Telfon Tone—Rishi Washi—Dodgy Dave—May Bot—Bojo—Insta Liz—all under the close direction of Anal Swab.

Act 1: The Online Safety Adventure.

Lord CyberGuard and Lady DigitalWisdom are tasked with protecting the digital realm from Baron BotBlocker, who spreads chaos with AI-generated content. They face challenges like age verification puzzles and uncover secrets to protect children online. Lord CyberGuard’s real motive, however, is to silence dissenting voices. Lady DigitalWisdom, lured into supporting him by means of convoluted deceit, uncovers a web of Satanic corruption and power plays within the online protection movement, which could potentially give him excessive control over internet freedom, posing a threat to free speech and democracy in the Kingdom. Even the town crier would walk around muzzled. And yet, with all the overt AI scrutiny, so many Clap Chat messages are mysteriously lost. A cunning ploy using the Brigades sly manipulation of mis and disinformation. Free speech or no speech?

Act 2: Financial Frolics

Sir Savings fights Count Carbon Footprint to achieve net zero targets, while ULEZ scams are rolled out and local councils go bankrupt. They face challenges in banking reform and financial inclusion, including enchanted forest-risk commodities. Huddled masses throughout the kingdom cower in fear of plague and pestilence. Given money to watch black mirrors while their land is grabbed and animals stolen, they are told they are surplus to requirements and cannot leave town. Together with Lady InclusiveBanker, they find a compromise to contribute to a greener, more inclusive future, ensuring a more sustainable financial system where they own nothing but are really, really happy.

Act 3: National Security Nonsense

Captain CyberSpy and Professor ElectoralInsight fight against Duke Democracy Defender, a deceptive scheme attempting to interfere in elections. They expose foreign interference schemes, ensure political parties publish policy statements, and expose proxy war zones used for cash laundering. The kingdom is overrun with dingy divers, a cunning scheme designed as a ruse to fool the citizens into demanding digital ID. To defeat this plan, citizens use proportional representation at the ballot box to exert their will. A revised version of parliament brings harmony to the kingdom.

Act 4: The Illegal Migration Magic

Inspector Immigration fights Queen Justice Seeker’s harsh policies in the Illegal Migration Kingdom, securing changes to protect children and pregnant women. They uncover Inspector Immigration’s plan to incentivize military-aged males to form a private army that would operate at his behest to subdue rebellious citizens in the Kingdom, and with Oracle AsylumAdvisor’s guidance, they ensure fair retrospective application of the law, bringing justice to immigration and asylum cases.

Act 5: Ballot Secrecy Ballet

Lord Wayward and Sir InfluenceShield protect voting booths from BallotWatcher’s interference by enacting the Ballot Secrecy Act, banning postal voting, and denying dead people voting rights while celebrating fair elections in a whimsical ballet. BallotWatcher sniggers, as the citizens now believe that the system is transparent and fair, but really the choice is between the many brightly coloured heads of the same beast.

Act 6: Levelling Up Luminescence

Lady Green Guardian and Merlin Woodland Protector work together to protect ancient woodlands and combat climate change in the Levelling-up Kingdom. They use smoke, mirrors, and ingenious pyrotechnics to distract their audience. It’s behind you; it’s not; it is in front of us. They make over 1,200 changes, ensuring national development policies contribute to a sustainable realm through referendum, and use log burners and gas fires for warmth. Penalties are levied on all citizens of the Kingdom who wish to travel, burn logs, and use gas to heat their hovels. Lady Green Guardian wants to ensure that no roads are left unblocked—the smalling of a once great kingdom.

Grand Finale: Committee Chronicles

The Committee Champions and Wisdom Keepers highlight the importance of House of Lords committees in public policy examination. They celebrate successful sessions and their dedication to a prosperous kingdom. They demonstrate open dialogue and emphasise the importance of engaging the public in decision-making processes. By involving citizens, they ensure every citizen has a voice in creating a sustainable and thriving realm for all. Mass hypnosis was concealed due to years of intensive programming, manipulation, and conditioning. The covert operation exploited public trust in leaders and a lack of awareness about their true intentions, allowing it to go unnoticed. It’s all behind you.

Curtain Call: As the curtains close, the characters gather for a festive feast, symbolising unity and collaboration in the House of Lords.

It is the curtain call—the very first Snow White production of the year—and one of the best that I have seen. Muddles even managed to extract himself from the entanglement of a poorly secured backdrop that fell on him mid-scene; he got up and shook himself. Helpers dragged the offending article into the wings to massive applause and riotous cheering from the audience and carried on regardless. My young granddaughter knew exactly who the baddies were and who the goodies were, and even when the foolish Muddles was hypnotised, cajoled, and programmed to murder Snow White, she knew he had a good heart and would never succumb to evil. As the sparkling glitter-ball descends and Snow White lies dead in her casket, there is a blinding flash and an ear-splitting loud explosion.

“You’re too early,'” shouts Muddles, stamping his feet and stomping over the edge of the stage.

The gentleman in the audience looked abashed; his face turned as red as the button of fun he was holding.

In the end, love always wins, and as Prince Frederick embraces his beloved Snow White, his single kiss undoes all the vitriol, and the poison in the apple has no dominion.

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