Spectator competition winners: political manifestos inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll

12 March 2022

9:00 AM

12 March 2022

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3239, you were invited to submit political manifestos inspired by literary heroes.

Sajid Javid loves Ayn Rand: twice a year, he reads the courtroom scene in The Fountainhead. Justin Trudeau is a Stephen King super-fan, Boris Johnson reckons Flashman is ‘the greatest’ and Macron is mad for Molière (he can recite chunks of the French dramatist’s plays from memory).

Honourable mentions, in what was a terrific entry, go to Frank McDonald, Bill Greenwell, Max Ross, Richard Spencer, Frank Upton and Nick MacKinnon (‘John McDonnell reclaiming The Tiger Who Came to Tea for the hard left’).

The winners, printed below, are rewarded with £30 each.

To begin at the beginning: you can hear the houses sleeping blind as moles – in time there will be no homeless; all will be soft-bedded in their muffled comfort: tradesmen and pensioners, school-teacher, postman, and the tidy wives. We will listen. ‘Nothing grows in our garden, only washing and babies’: single parents, with their snuggeries of babies, will find a tender, mollycoddling helping hand. Prosperity will strip the Welfare Hall of its widows’ weeds and give hope to our discontented boys, no longer dreaming wicked or up to no good in the wash-house.
Alone and proudly independent, from verging grassgreen borders to the fishing boat bobbing sea, our parliament will work for Wales, cold-shouldering the three-seated shack called the House of Commons, as the lilting music of our own language fires the Welsh people’s land-loving pride hidden in the surf-filled seas of their dreams.
Sylvia Fairley/Mark Drakeford and Dylan Thomas

I don’t have a dream. Dreams are for lefties, veggies and Guardianistas. And being ‘woke’ – what’s that about?
Never mind. Let’s focus on the great British values, namely a go-ahead, get-things-done attitude, rejection of iffy foreign ideas (and people, don’t forget that), deregulation to expand the realm of individual freedom and brilliant home-grown espionage. Not to mention a fast way out of a tight corner.
Was Richard Hannay defeated by the mystery of the 39 steps? Never. He pulled strings, leaned on people, told a few whoppers. You can’t be a Boy Scout when you’re facing a deadly enemy. Fact of life, and here’s another.
The present balls-up cries out for a strong, experienced man at the wheel.
They can call me a cut-price Cromwell all they want. I’ve walked the walk. Politician, broadcaster, patriot, leader, trust me. I’ve done it all. Cheers!
Basil Ransome-Davies/Nigel Farage and John Buchan

This Manifesto takes inspiration from the technocratically authoritative if largely unread novels of C.P. Snow. Like Snow’s Strangers and Brothers sequence, this Manifesto tracks the career of a dully diligent lawyer and man of affairs – think Snow’s Lewis Eliot without the problematic wife – as he peevishly paces the corridors of power, or, at least, corridors adjacent thereto. It itemises at every stage what is wrong with Britain, suggesting proportionate remedies. It argues for a politics less about passion than the careful adumbration of public policy objectives through reasoned argument by properly qualified intellectuals conversant with both of the Two Cultures and with reference to all apposite data, outlining punctiliously and in extremely small print policies – judge-led inquiries here, precautionary tightening of red tape there – achievable by just those means of administrational pettifoggery and Hampstead drawing-room conversation that put C.P. Snow where he is today.
Adrian Fry/Keir Starmer and C.P. Snow

It is time for a change. Britain has tired of dull politicians who get nothing done. Give me the key to the door and I, like a lovable knave, promise you magical mayhem and popular poppycock, different but never dull. You will see me grow in stature, or possibly shrink when it suits, levelling up or levelling down. I shall let my cabinet run where they will in a race to the finish and all shall be winners or else risk losing their heads. Encouraging camaraderie, my team will enjoy garden tea parties, though should anyone present accept my offer of wine I shall tell them, ‘There isn’t any.’ When captaining games, I promise always to play by the rules but with some flexibility knowing that rules, like flamingos’ necks, can sometimes be bent. So realise your dreams and elect a leader determined to transform Britain into a wonderland.
Alan Millard/Boris Johnson and Lewis Carroll

Xi Jinping’s Manifesto exists without precedent, a 100 per cent correct 0 per cent incorrect Three Age Plan incorporating and infinitely improving upon sympathetic elements in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, favoured childhood instructional manual of Xi Jinping. Sauron’s Mordor is the inferior template for modern China, a surveillance monoculture committed to perpetual economic and military expansion. Future Chinese citizens will, henceforward, exhibit the longevity of Ents, the educational attainment of Elves, the interchangeability of orcs. Xi Jinping, while cognisant of the symbolic resonances of Middle Earth’s ring-based governance system, has identified and overcome inherent security flaws relating to transferability and portability of Power, rightly insisting on the compulsory re-education through expungement of all non-compliant elements cleaving to weaknesses – political plurality of man, halfling eccentricity – which concluded Tolkien’s work in the triumph of the weak. Olympic rings only will be welcome in China; the One Ring binding all having been forever superseded by Xinping.
Russell Chamberlain/Xi Xinping and J.R.R. Tolkien

No. 3242: cli-fi plus

You are invited to submit a short story that is a mash-up of cli-fi with a genre of your choice (please specify). Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 23 March.

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