The Fifth Column

25th February 1996

Johnny Come Late

My dear John Major,

I am writing to you because I thought we had something in common when I heard that a bomb exploded in a bus in central London this Monday. If I remember correct, it was only a few days ago that we heard of another bomb exploding in the financial district of London.

I am sure you must now be wondering how to protect your capital from this menace. And you must also be a worried man, knowing that No. 10, Downing Street is also a potential target. It is in this aspect that we can help you, Johnny we are experts on the subject! Johnny, does traffic flow smoothly on the streets of London? That is a security risk. You should set up road blocks wherever possible and leave it to the London bobbies to harass the public. That is the price the masses have to pay to keep their rulers alive. They will soon learn to live with it though they will curse you liberally at the beginning...

And the golden rule to beat the terrorist threat is to never ever be punctual. Remember the old saying, it's better to be late than to be the late? That has stood the test of time, Johnny.

Then, every now and then you must close all the schools in London except the international schools of course. That gives the parents a sense of well being and makes them think that the government cares for their kids which, as you know is good when the next election comes along.

I hope Johnny, you have by now closed off both ends of Downing Street. This serves two purposes. It ensures your security and at the same time you can avoid meeting all those MPs in the ruling party and their cohorts who are a real bother at times.

Johnny. I know that apart from the security threat. you are also worried about your job, lagging behind the Labour Party in the opinion polls. Can't you get some one, your foreign secretary perhaps to go to northern Ireland and hoist a flag somewhere there? That's a sure way to boost your image.

If that too fails the next best strategy is to hope that Mike Atherton and his men will do well at the World cup. But cricketers don't perform well when we want them to and this might cause some problems.

Even then, you can claim credit by inviting the Aussies to play at Lords just after a bomb explosion. Given their recent utterances, they will be forced to stay away. Then you get two other teams to play in London, proclaim to the world that "London is safe" and that "the Kangaroos are cowards" and wait till the next bomb goes off....

There are other methods that will contribute to your popularity, Johnny: you can try. Promoting a Cabinet member to the rank of General, introduce a "Package" for Northern Ireland and may be get the Scotland Yard to grill the editor of the Tabloid Sun for writing about what you had for dinner....

Try these, Johnny and let us know what the results are. Even if you are not totally successful, your lean and hungry look will disappear.

Good luck in your efforts.

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha.

PS - By the way don't forget to blame Margaret Thatcher if anything goes wrong. Blaming your predecessors for your mistakes is a good tactic because a clever politician is one who fools most of the people most of the time - that is enough to get re-elected!

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