Rising plucky from our seats before the gathered throng
We addressed the noble 56 who governed true and strong
Mike articulated gamely, his speech was just sublime
The Leader of the Council barked, “Now is not the time.”
“I questioned you in writing, please let me have the floor…”
Before Mike Franks could finish, we were marched right out the door
“Do not be disheartened,” the beeman grinned at me
“For this bunch have got nothing on my darling old MP.”
So we hit the office of the local Tory blue
And although she nodded sweetly, the Member had no clue
Mike appealed with feeling: “You can’t allow this crime.”
“My bees are in grave danger from this fracking pantomime…”
“I’m sorry,” said the lady, “But we’ve run right out of time.”
“Told you so,” said Mr Franks, “Nobody’s for the bee.”
“Come come,” I ventured, “That’s not true, they’ve got you and me.”
“And more than that I’ll wager,” I said, warming to my theme
“This is England’s garden, who wouldn’t want to keep it green?”
“So instead of moaning… and singing this lament
Let me be your agent for a tilt at Parliament!”
Mike Franks’ eyes blazed brightly, “Do you think that we can win?”
“Of course,” I told the beeman… he replied, simply: “I’m in!”
“Hold steady!” cried the bosun, “she’s listing”
The tightening of ropes around the magnificent black and yellow body made my stomach wince. In my head the low buzzing grew louder and louder as ropes were secured and the crew prepared for launch. Soothingly, I stroked the long gossamer wings and headed to the front of the boat. Slowly, the diesel engines roared into life and the captain gave the order to cast off. With a quick backwards glance at my prize, I steadied myself for the voyage ahead.
40 short minutes later and the sea had turned from dazzling blue to an ominous dark grey, whilst a phalanx of black clouds enveloped us. The waves pounded the hull of our tiny vessel, the screech of the wind reached a dizzying crescendo and the rain lashed down with evil abandon. The giant bee was no longer placid. Fully objecting to his ropey swaddling, he buzzed violently from side to side until the bonds gave way enough for him to rise vertically up from the deck in harried protest.
“Secure that bee!” cried the bosun.
Swinging harder to port than was advisable, the captain gunned the engine and sped inland. Driven on by the wind, the barge’s bow lifted out of the water knocking me backwards across the decking. Gripping onto the rail I desperately struggled my way to the bridge and fell inside. Clambering to my feet, the captain slammed the door behind me whilst violently wrestling with the controls. Then, in an instant, the boat steadied, the waves died and the giant bee relaxed and calmly settled itself back down onto the deck with a gentle buzz.
“Welcome to the Port of Ramsgate, Mr Goode,” said the captain, “We made it…”
Dear partisans, I’ve never been a great fan of the sea. Even less so now after this latest adventure… but as usual, I think I’m getting a tad ahead of myself. Bear with me, and I’ll explain what’s been going on since last we spoke.
After making our general election pact, there was a lot to organise. Mike Franks and I may have received short shrift from every single elected official in the district, but that still left another 70,000 people to reach out to. Now we just needed a plan… and of course a campaign headquarters.
Having an obvious home field advantage, Mike took to the road on the hunt for the perfect premises, whilst I sat back in my room at Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour Hotel and worked on our first move. We had a lot going for us. Nobody else was going to be entering into the political fray for a good few months. We had the perfect opportunity to steal a march on the competition and make our presence known. Unfortunately, no brilliant wheezes were jumping out at me.
I was flummoxed. What had I been thinking? I’d come down to Kent, made all these rash promises to a thoroughly lovely chap in need of help… and as soon as he takes me up on them, I’m at a loss. All this time that I’ve been hunting high and low for a worthy cause to be a part of, and I hadn’t even considered what on earth I was going to do when I found one. It was at this moment that the first wave of panic set in.
Suddenly, finding it rather claustrophobic in my room, I made for the street. By the time I got out on to the main drag I was practically running. What had I done? What was I going to do? Powering through the streets, I was soon ridiculously lost and out of breath. Pausing for a much needed rest on the bench of an old church, I gathered my thoughts. Feeling calmer, I experienced a large pang of guilt at having succumbed to a silly moment of blind panic. I was steeled. This had not been a mistake. There were bees at stake.
With thoughts of bees rushing through my head, I got to my feet and prepared to leave. And that’s when I saw it – the ginormous sign for the coming Harvest Festival. That was it… the answer. It was so simple. We’d throw a spectacular Harvest Festival and the bees could be front and centre. There would be extensive marquees, the finest local produce, dancing, entertainment… and plenty of mead. Of course, it would all be free. A Free Bee End of Summer Ball.
Thanet South’s newest political operator was all for the idea. The plan was so simple. Our only real problem was the timing. After all the false starts and wrong avenues we had chased, we barely had two weeks to organise the thing. Partisans – that time has sped by in a blur. We have been securing the permits, conducting marketing, sourcing equipment, finding catering and organising the entertainers. In fact, now we have a full event team stationed down here in Ramsgate, which allows me to travel more freely back home to London.
Yet even as our preparations were going swimmingly, one thing kept stumping us. Like all good Harvest Festivals, we needed a centrepiece. And Mike, the team and I, couldn’t fail to agree that using a real beehive in an enclosed marquee would not be a good idea. So finally, after much soul-searching we settled on the idea of using a giant bee sculpture. Yet it was imperative we found the right one for our cause.
I don’t imagine that any of you have ever tried to source anything like this at short notice, but let me tell you, it’s not easy. What is more, this bee would be our mascot, the symbol of our movement, so it was crucial that we found the right personality for the job. I scoured the internet for sculptors, artists and honest bee lovers, I pored over niche forums and I spent a lot of time on the telephone, until I eventually tracked down a master craftsman on the Isle of Wight who had exactly the kind of friend I was looking for.
We crossed the sea together and now he is proudly sitting at the entrance to our grand marquee, right on the seafront, in the acre of public grassland on the Westcliffe Prom. He is eight foot high and an absolute beauty. Bzzzzzzzzz. The first of the guests will be arriving shortly, and soon Mike Franks and I will unveil one of the worthiest causes the local community has ever seen.
If you’re in the area please do pop along. This is a party of inclusion and we’ve got more than enough for everyone. We’ll welcome you with flutes of fine mead. Yours truly will do a short speech introducing Mike, and he will tell you more about the bees. And once this important business is complete, you’ll be treated to a stunning buffet – it’s all laid out inside and there are cheeses aplenty. I’m hoping this will be a rip-roaring evening to remember – the most perfect political coming out party you’ve ever seen.