The Scion, the Wheat and the Cabinet – Chapter I

Nearly eight years ago, the first of the late Malcolm B Duncan’s satires (based on The Narnia Chronicles) was published on Margo Kingston’s Webdiary. Some time ago – I can’t remember whether it was at The Pub or elsewhere – someone mentioned Mr Duncan’s work, and expressed a desire to read it again. So, ladies and gents, here’s Chapter I for your entertainment. We need a little frivolity in these dire times.

(Image Credit: Rocco)

The Chronicles of Nadir
As told from the grave by Tom Lewis

Tale the First

The Scion, the Wheat and the Cabinet

Chapter I

The country had been plunged into war and, to keep the children safe, Peter, Amanda, Alexander and little Lucy had been sent as far from the reality of conflict as possible: Canberra.

When, weighed down with all the usual baggage those going to Canberra carry, they arrived after their wearisome journey on the Sydney-Melbourne XPT having endured the usual 36 hour trip including lay-bys, unscheduled freight trains, track-work and giving way to slow-moving insects (a new Federal Policy to appease the Greens), they were met by STAFFERS who bundled them into Commonwealth Cars and driven to the House on the Hill (well, in it, actually).

The House on the Hill had many rooms (some with ensuite), a vast number of toilets for the disabled and a rehabilitation wing which was filled with journalists. When they arrived, the STAFFERS (none of whom was much older than little Lucy) introduced the children to the CLERKS.

One was a slight man with a slow stammer and wore a black outfit with bands at his collar reminding Peter of the only time he had seen the Moderator-General of the Uniting Church back in the days before it had united and it was still allright for men to wear silk stockings and buckled shoes. Peter, of course had always been brought up to be a good Uniting man (and had once sued for it but, naturally, given his age, by his next friend, a pugnacious boy called Tony.) The other CLERK was a bearded, dishevelled man who gave the impression of knowing all there was to know about knowing everything but not taking any direct responsibility for the Knowledge.

The CLERKS took the children to meet the SPEAKER, a nervous, elderly man who spent most of his time trying to watch his back.

“Welcome Children,” he said in a reedy voice apparently coming form the back of his head, “the CLERKS will show you to your rooms and, once you have put your things away, you will be free to explore but you, Amanda, and you little Lucy, especially you, little Lucy,” he said looking directly at her with his back turned “must never go down to the end of the town to Tilley’s without Alice.”

“Can’t they go down with me?” said Alexander.

The SPEAKER turned a full circle and said “I cannot imagine how that would be necessary, let alone, in your case young man, possible.”

The children were duly shown to a suite of rooms opening off a central study where, after carefully packing away their clothes and necessities (in Alexander’s case, including a Pooh bear) they started to inspect the maps and menus that the CLERKS had left them. Peter and Alexander had green rooms (as boys do) and Amanda had a red room (as Amandas do) while Lucy had a beige room because no-one had ever elected her to anything in her own right and it was no more than she expected.

Contemplating their new lives away from the dangers of war, the children started to speculate on what might happen to them in their new home.

“We might find treasure,” said Peter.

“Or a pedigree,” said Alexander.

“An adventure perhaps,” said little Lucy.

“Immigrants,” said Amanda.

“I know”, said Peter, who thought he was a natural leader, “Let’s explore.”

“Spiffing,” said Alexander. “I’ve got string.” Alexander had read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and had a particular soft spot for Jim.

“OK,” said Amanda. “I think I saw some dogs on the way in, I might be able to pick up some illegals.”

Alexander divided the string into four equal parts keeping the longest for himself and the children began to explore.

Little Lucy came into a room that was empty except for a Cabinet. She opened the door and saw a coat-rack filled with furs. Little Lucy loved the smell and feel of fur, especially when it was wet but we probably don’t need to go into detail in a children’s story essentially designed to be an allegory.

As she moved through the furs, salivating, she went deeper and deeper. There seemed to be no end to this cabinet. As she pressed harder inward, suddenly, she emerged under a smart pole advertising the latest attraction at the National Gallery – a Paul Keating retrospective. As she was dazzled by the colours, constantly changing from black to brown to deep olive and back to black again, she failed to notice the presence of another creature just on the other side. She heard a voice (little Lucy often heard voices but this one was different) and looked up. “Hello” the creature said. She noticed that it had horns growing out of the side of its head. “Er, hello,” she replied. “I don’t want to be rude but I’ve been told not to talk to strangers and Peter particularly has a thing about horned creatures.” “Oh, it’s perfectly allright,” explained the creature, “I’m the Cabinet Secretary.” “Oh,” said little Lucy, “you look after that Cabinet then.”

“I do,” replied the Cabinet Secretary. “And you must be a daughter of Eve?”

“NO. I’m a Roman Catholic, actually,” little Lucy volunteered. “And, if you don’t mind me asking horny Cabinet Secretary, what do you do apart from looking after the Cabinet?”

Suddenly, the Cabinet Secretary adopted a more stentorian tone.

“It’s better you don’t know – plausible deniability and all that. Now, how is it that you have come into the Cabinet in the Land of Nadir?”

“What’s nadir?” asked little Lucy.

Even more severely, the Cabinet Secretary declared: “It is the land at the end of the earth where nothing can sink lower. Now,” even more severely still, “how did you get into the Cabinet without me knowing?”

“I came through that door” little Lucy said pointing behind her.

“But that’s the Outer Cabinet. You can’t come into the Inner Cabinet unless the Dwarf gives his personal permission.”

“Well, I’m sorry but I just walked through. My husband works here you know,” little Lucy added, a touch of desperation tingeing her voice.

“Well,” the Cabinet Secretary said, even more severely than before, “Nobody told me. Then again, that’s as it should be in the land of Nadir.”

“It’s very cold,” said little Lucy.

“As it should be,” said the Cabinet Secretary. “It has been winter in the land of Nadir for these 10 years ever since the Dwarf took control of the sleigh. Come with me little Lucy and I shall give you to eat of the fruit of the land and to sit by a warm fire.”

So they went to the Cabinet Secretary’s private office (with its own ensuite) and he fed her and told her stories of the land of Nadir and the Cabinet and life in the House on the Hill: the midnight dances at Tilley’s; the deflowering of backbenchers; the Ministerial meat parades; the cocaine parties; the health farm where tired and emotional members of the coalition were sent to dry out for a while; the junkets; and the all-night shredding parties before estimates committee hearings or as soon as Royal Commissions were appointed.

Finally, he said: “What do you know about wheat?”

[To be continued]

643 thoughts on “The Scion, the Wheat and the Cabinet – Chapter I

  1. Off topic, but….
    Peter Slipper considers taking James Ashby fight to High Court

    In the Federal Court on Thursday, Mr Slipper’s lawyer Simon Berry said Mr Slipper’s legal team is considering seeking special leave to appeal against last week’s decision by the full bench of the Federal Court to uphold Mr Ashby’s appeal–fight-to-high-court-20140306-348rf.html

  2. I love watching Nobull in action in Question Time with the sound turned muted.

    The way he waves his hands around in such a dramatic manner for the whole answer [sic] reminds me of somebody trying to shake a blob of sticky snot off their fingers.

  3. Turnbull trying his hand at comedy again..he is always fiddling with something when he does…I suppose it stops him adjusting his quoits as a mark of manhood when he thinks he tells a “funny one”.

  4. On Turnbull….worth reposting…

    …and I wonder if Malcolm will be there, the “hero of passive resistance”..
    selling HIS FTTN. fraudband…now that having been “promoted” within The Party
    to the unauthorised position of “leader of the compliant majority”..useful on
    account of his lawyer’s talent of finding reasons, or at least excuses, for
    everything!…there is irony in the Abbortions using the man who once taunted
    The Party Obtuse of not seeing reason on climate change, to be now the
    mouthpiece of servility!….a “hero” of the republican movement, bereft of a
    script befitting Aristophanes!…but playing the part of Basil Fawlty….”as
    moral a man as full his purse” “flexible as an earflap”..and used as such as
    frequently as he can make himself available..obliged to defend his bitterest
    foes in the hope of a futile future placement more favourable.
    “There is no more pitiable spectacle than when cowardly men have the misfortune to make a
    bold resolution”.

  5. Abbott asked another question he can’t answer, about cutting funds for trade schools. Wants to talk about something else.

    Robb now trying to work out where he is and what all these people are doing here. Sleeptalking.

  6. In other news, Samantha Maiden (of all people)) has noticed that the Abbott government have nothing to offer and are just wasting time:

    samantha maiden ‏@samanthamaiden 10m

    This is a government with nothing to say at the moment. Question time chugged up with feel good sprays on Conroy, red underpants, HSU. #qt

  7. I am hopeless at knitting, but can crochet quite well, so the lovely lady at the Penguin Foundation is sending me a crochet pattern!

  8. Had a look, and noticed people over the road, like a few on twitter, are starting to re-hash dodgy arguments last used by right-wingers about Roy Morgan as the “real” unemployent figures rather than the ABS. I don’t post over there, at least on the main thread where people hate each other so much, but you guys may be interested. The 2012 article is especially relevant.

  9. leonetwo
    March 6, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Pyne should be permanently muted

    Phoneme, I think. The word you’re looking for is “neutered”.

  10. gigilene
    If Slipper gets his case to the High Court we might all hear that word used in testimony. We can hope….

  11. Surely, the poverty of human intellect lies blatantly displayed in all it’s foolishness with this govt’…..Is this parliament a parody of history, or is history a time-warp parody of today’s tomfoolery?
    In a nation that had the almost perfect government…a Labor government, led by a capable woman, triple “A” credit rating..low unemployment..minimal govt’ debt owing, good neighbourly relations and a stable economy in a healing environment….to be wasted, wrecked, wracked and ruined by utter, utter infantilism.
    In a govt’ headed by a delusional Svengalian mimic, overseeing a rabble of putresent idiocy, in whom no description of the basest depths of sheol could better…we have the epitome of all that is grossly regressive in human genetics.
    It goes to prove that there is no God, for if there were, HE would have the capacity to decry with the perfect adjective ; ‘le mot just’, such beasts where we, mere humans, struggle in weeping despair.

  12. Problem fixed, eh, TILBM?

    The contractor charged with the provision of physical and mental health care to asylum seekers on Manus Island has issued staff with a two-page guide on dealing with questions about their fears for their personal safety, living conditions and human rights.

    The document is clearly designed to help soothe concerns the asylum seekers are expressing in the aftermath of the bloody attacks last month that left one man dead and many others seriously injured.

    Health workers have been told to urge the asylum seekers not to give up hope.

  13. Gee, and I thought Free Speech included the right to be gratuitously insulting, crass and downright offensive.

    Now Chris Kenny’s gone to jelly over something that nasty ABC said about him, as a joke.

    I doubt, I really do, that anyone would have thought Chris Kenny actually was a “dog f**ker” based on anything they saw on a Hamster-produced show.

    He’s just upset, which according to his ilk, like Andrew Bolt, is all part of the rich tapestry of being on the wrong end of someone else’s right to say what they feel like saying, accurate or not.

    That was Bolt’s excuse, and as recently as today on 2GB he was still whingeing about the rough deal he got from the (clearly) Labor supporting judge. Bolt also had something to say recently concerning the horrible things people were saying about Tony Abbott.

    Something like “It’s OK, if tacky, for us to say what we like about Labor politicians, but not OK for others to say what they like about Tony Abbott.” Then some finger-wagging with, “Two wrongs don’t make a right… especially if the second wrong is from a Labor supporter’s mouth,” thrown in as a QED. Apparently what Libs and their supporters say, while not nice, is said, and can’t be unsaid. Labor should have learned their lesson and just clammed up. Except Bolt never learned his lesson, judging from the interminable martyr act the bungs on whenever he has the chance.

    Amazing how they squeal as soon as someone hurts their feelings, isn’t it?

    I wonder whether they ever considered having Julia Gillard f**king underneath an Australian flag, or dressing up Kevin Rudd as a Nazi, or a Commissar, or Conroy as Stalin was hurtful? Perhaps they’re sorry for putting rat’s ears, a tail and whiskers on Peter Slipper, not once but three times on the front page of the Daily Telegraph? Or that punters would take these things seriously?

    I seem to remember the arguments in favour of such depictions were that they were humourous and that any offence taken should not be an issue worth considering.

    Poor diddums, Chris. $1 damages at the most wouldn’t surprise me.

  14. Bushfire Bill,

    … just found the local freebie rag out the front. Still dry after being wrapped in plastic.

    Conscience now clear.

    Especially as it’s a Murdoch rag, if my research is correct.

  15. The government is considering boycotting the Sochi paralympic games -.

    They say it’s because of the Ukraine crisis, but I think it’s a cunning plot. At the 2012 London summer paralympics our paralympians won stacks of medals. Australia came 5th in the medal tally, winning 32 gold, 23 silver and 30 bronze medals. Our allegedly able-bodied Olympians were not so great, they managed to scrape into 10th place with only 7 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze medals. The Winter Olympics results were much worse – much, much worse.Our team was only able to win1 silver and 2 bronze medals. Australia came 25th in the medal tally – second last. Our Paralympics team for Sochi includes three medalists from previous Winter Paralympics. Team members have also competing in Europe, the USand Austrlaia ahead of the games with great success. It looks as if Sochi will see quite a swag of medals won by the Australian paralympians.

    It’s clear that this government cannot allow a bunch of people with disabilities make our pampered, over-hyped Olympic ‘athletes’ look like a bunch of under-achieving layabout party animals. Hence the talk of a boycott.

  16. I hope they don’t do anything as wrong as boycott the Paralympics for diplomatic/political reasons without asking the athletes, given the work, pain and sweat they go through and all the fund-raising that it takes.

  17. I hope they don’t do anything as wrong as boycott the Paralympics for diplomatic/political reasons without asking the athletes, given the work, pain and sweat they go through and all the fund-raising that it takes.

    He will “liberate” them from the risk of not winning!

  18. Peter Greste is calling for the prime idiot to ‘speak up’ for him – as Clarke & Dawe say, he only has two words….carbon tax. Besides if he is counting on the prime idiot and his foreign idiot, he is on a loser.

  19. You is coming to a head, this caricature of a govt’…I can feel it in my waters…the idiot and his gang of four dozen can’t keep pouring out the blinding stupidities without drawing the wrath of laughable comedy and satire being heaped upon them…the ludicrous claims by all and sundry in the LNP. has reached stratospheric heights…:
    Abbott…”I’m a feminist !”….cue ; ROFL… “We liberate Qantas from Aust”…cue…: more ROFL…” Foresters are conservationists, not vandals”…cue..; ROFLMAO !…and so it goes…and then take Truss…PLEASE!?
    Can there be ONE MSM. journo who is not by now trembling and quivering with frustration at not being permitted to make a laughing stock of the idiot / s ?…the MSM. journos must be rattling with Zoloft and Mogadon pills trying to suppress the “urge to purge”, knowing that NEVER in the history of Aust’ politics…NEVER!.. has such a gift for comedy-column yards come along…and the harrowing fear, the etching anguish that with the passing of this govt’, the like may never be seen again!!!

  20. Excuses, excuses. That obnoxious little git Alan Joyce wants us to believe he never said the carbon tax was not a reason for Qantas being in strife. He never, ever said nuffin like that. It was all a mistake by an underling who, we can be sure, will be the first of those 5000 sackings – er – voluntary redundancies.

    A “low-level person” at Qantas had put out the statement that was not consistent with earlier comments from the company, the treasurer said he was told by Mr Joyce.

    Funny how Joyce didn’t come out with this garbage unbtil after he had had a chat with Hockey.

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