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  • David Mathews

Fork Handles


‘You used to be a researcher, didn’t you, Dave?’

Sidney had come round at the end of last week to settle our bet from Christmas re the month in which David Davis would resign. I had thought early in the year most likely, but if not, then just before the summer hols, as the whole business was getting tiresome for the lad. Sid had plumped for around Easter, a good time for a martyr, and he even had a side flutter with Ladbrokes that he would go on Ascension Day. A proud man, Davis. We’d made the bet in Euros, so I was well in, the way the pound is going.

I have another bet running, with my friend Jorge. Should we leave the EU, I will have 1.14 € with which to drown my sorrows. It was all Jorge had on him at the time he was insisting we would not leave.

But back to Sidney’s interest in research. Yes, I had been a researcher some of the time, I told him, and taken an enquiry-led approach to much of my practice over the years.

Well, wasn’t research meant to be scientific, or at least – and here Sid consulted a scrap of paper – ‘follow some investigative paradigm’? I agreed; that was pretty much the essence of the thing.

‘Well then, Dave, how can this Moggite crew call themselves the European Research Group? They haven’t got a paradigm thing among the lot of them. They know the answer to nearly everything without any research at all, and the other bits, they ask that Bannon geezer.’

I suggested to Sid that he was being a touch naïve. Okay, the ERG had never taken the idea of research seriously, but, to be fair, neither did they expect anyone to be taken in by their title. They chose the one they did because it was more respectable than ‘Europhobia’, the only other suggestion back then.

‘So it’s just dressing it up a bit, for effect,’ said Sid. When I nodded, he added, ‘Like wearing a waistcoat in hot weather.’

Sid’s other news was that he had been to a jumble sale. He collects old postcards, for their messages as much as the scenic views. He is particularly taken with scribbles that are tart or sarky. His latest find was nicely ambiguous. The picture was a sepia photo of a lighthouse on a rocky outcrop beset by high waves. ‘Dear Mother,’ the scrawl on the back read, ‘wish you were here.’

‘Corbyn was there, funnily enough. Just passing apparently, and popped in when he saw a big display of gardening tools.’

Did he buy anything?

‘Told him not to, but yes. Two replacement fork handles.’

Innocent enough. Why not?

‘Well, Dave, when you’re in as much trouble as he is, I think you should stop digging.’


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