“If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through” General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett KCB VC DSO
Editors Note: Network Wapping are supposed to have a meeting on the second Wednesday of every month so they can engage with local residents and answer your questions. For some strange reason we were told that there would be no meeting tonight. Or was there? We discovered a dugout just north of The Highway and listened through the entrance…
General Melchett: Well Blackadder I see we have an excellent turn out for our Network Wapping meeting tonight! Well done!
Captain Blackadder: If by ‘excellent’ you mean ‘less people here than in a trench just after Baldrick has broken wind with such fervour that it was mistaken for a German artillery barrage and caused a general retreat’ then you are quite correct General. Excellent.
Captain Darling: Stop quibbling Blackadder. You always nit pick. Toe the line for once.
General Melchett: Now now Darling, let’s not have a falling out amongst chums! It is a jolly good show all round! None one is here but us, the members of Network Wapping. Which was the plan!
[Baldrick enters the dugout]
Baldrick: Captain Darling sir, was this the cunning plan that I came up with last week?
Captain Darling: Yes Baldrick, the cunning plan from last week. THAT plan!
General Melchett: Oh tish tosh Blackadder! Surely a young thruster like you can understand what we are up to! It’s a master stroke! And dreamed up by a young tommy only too eager to serve his country and do his bit!
Captain Blackadder: Of course General. Silly me. But at the risk of being accused of nitpicking by Captain Darling may I query one teeny weeny detail?
General Melchett: Go on Blackadder! Out with it.
Captain Blackadder: Well General, as a ‘neighbourhood forum’ that wishes to become recognised as a ‘Neighbourhood Planning Forum’ we are required to consult with local residents and businesses. Correct?
Captain Darling: I can see where you are going with this Blackadder and I don’t like it. Nitpicking again. It’s bad for morale you know!
General Melchett: Now then Darling, let him have his say. Then take him outside and have him shot. Pray continue Blackadder.
Captain Blackadder: Sir, surely if we are to succeed with this Neighbourhood Planning Submission we should be talking to residents and answering any questions they may have. But there is no one here apart from us. So how can people ask us questions?
Captain Darling: [Sneering] Is that it Blackadder? Is that all you have to say? Is that the extent of your intellect? That because no one is here they cannot ask questions?
Baldrick: ‘Scuse me Captain Darling sir I think Captain Blackadder may be on to something…
Captain Blackadder: Of course I am on to something Baldrick! [He turns and surveys the empty room] There is no one here but us! Three of His Majesty’s commissioned officers and one batman whose sole claim to fame is that his longest emotional relationship is with a turnip.
General Melchett: Oh Blackadder! Woe, woe! You have not grasped the nettle of our cunning plan!
Captain Blackadder: Obviously not General.
General Melchett: If we do not hold a meeting the riff raff who live round here can’t attend can they? Baaah!
Captain Blackadder: No General but…
General Melchett: And if the hoi polloi and every scruffy toe rag from St Katharine Docks to Wapping to Shadwell Basin can’t come to the meeting we aren’t having they can’t ask any awkward questions!
Captain Darling: So you see Blackadder, as usual you fail to grasp both the strategy and the tactics of our plans! No meeting – no riff raff – no questions. With ideas such as these the outcome of the war is a forgone conclusion!
Captain Blackadder: Yes indeed, a foregone conclusion. But you may have missed the point of this whole ‘consultation’ requirement, in much the same way as the French Architects Association missed the point when they awarded the designers of the Maginot Line the Gold Medal for Impregnable Defence Works That No Enemy Would Ever Think of Going Round the Back Of.
General Melchett: I don’t think we have missed the point Blackadder! And be careful what you say! Darling and I spent a whole seven course lunch working on our plans for a Neighbourhood Planning Forum only the other week. We had two helpings of Spotted Dick to make sure we had the details correct!
Captain Blackadder: A two Spotted Dick plan? By George it must be good then. Air tight. Baldrick, did you have anything to do with this by any chance?
Baldrick: [Coyly] I might have Captain.
General Melchett: Of course he had something to do with it Blackadder! Baldrick is our Communications Chap!
Baldrick: And PR sir!
General Melchett: And PR! Baaah!
Captain Darling: And administration. And consultation. Questionnaire design. Membership.
Captain Blackadder: Baldrick, are you telling me that you are running the whole of the Neighbourhood Planning Forum application? From, as the Americans would say if they ever decide to get off their Spam and doughnut filled arses and join this bloody war, ‘soup to nuts’?
Baldrick: Yes sir!
Captain Blackadder: You haven’t understood a word I have said have you Baldrick?
Baldrick: No sir!
Captain Blackadder: And you don’t know what ‘PR’ stands for, do you?
Baldrick: Not a clue sir! I was hoping it was something to do with turnips sir!
Captain Blackadder: Speaking of turnips Baldrick how many of the required people who have put their name on the application form are in fact, turnips?
Baldrick: Do you mean turnips as in not being people with arm and legs and things but turnips that grow in the ground sir?
Captain Blackadder: Yes Baldrick that is exactly what I mean. The reason I ask this is that I have the application form here and picking a name at random I find “Mr Turnip of Watts Street, Wapping”. And then there is Mrs Turnip of Vaughan Way, Ms Turnip of Reardon House, another Mr Turnip who resides in Dundee Court… You’ve packed the application form with root vegetables, haven’t you?
Baldrick: Yes Captain Blackadder, I have!
Captain Blackadder: Well done Baldrick, you are without doubt the best person to be in charge of this most cunning of plans. [Sighs, exits dug out]
(With apologies to the writers and cast of Blackadder.)