The lights came on, and the current buzzing through the bulbs equalled that of the studio audience. This was the final hustlings, the last question and answer session before the vote. The two leadership candidates sat as the host walked onto the stage from the right. They stood like cardboard cutouts, although, if truth be told, actual cutouts would have had more imagination and personality. The challenge was to appeal to the intellectually stunted that joined the party memberships. The type of people who believe whatever is written in their paper of choice and won’t be convinced otherwise. They would not just be appealing to the bottom of the barrel; this was the scum that infected the wooden cracks and splits in the base. “Good evening,” the host said first to the audience and then to the candidates.
“Good evening, and thank you for hosting us,” the female candidate, Ms Lisa Jagger, said. She sat and looked briefly at her hands, maybe trying to remember something or possibly trying to work out her IQ by counting fingers; we can never know for sure.
“Yes, I thank the PBC for hosting this event,” the male candidate, Mr Jonathan Richards, added. He was slicker than Ms Jagger, but with the slipperiness came trust issues. Neither candidate could be trusted, but it shines through when you have the frictionless smarm of a KY-jellied banana and a smile that could tame an overaggressive lion. Richards smiled, and the crowd groaned; he knew he was there to make up the numbers. He had known that the party membership would never elect him from the start. But, you have to give the illusion of choice. You can’t have a democratic election without choice. It was not always about winning this time; he was trying to enhance his chances for the next election.
“So, Ms Jagger, let’s start with you,” the host asked. The host, Shiela Sprawl, knew this was all political theatre; how could she not? The whole farce was set up and powered into motion to promote the party; she would do her part, and with it would come an easy ride in the future. That was just how these things worked; she liked to think of this as a job interview. If she asked straightforward questions and did as was planned, then she would have a chance of getting a job in government, and that was what Shiela really wanted. “What are your plans to deal with the economic crisis?” Sprawl asked.
“I think we need to raise some taxes,” Richards answered quickly, interrupting Ms Jagger. Sprawl looked at him, “yes, I understand that is your policy,” she said dismissively, “I think we have all seen your social media feeds and press releases. I was not asking you.” Sprawl had now placed her bet and thought it was safe. She had seen a roulette wheel with only one black and green space in her mind and then placed it all on red. “I ask again, Ms Jagger, what are your plans?”
“My team and I have a plan to deal with the problems,” Ms Jagger replied with all the emotion of a stunted dim brick. Sprawl, having placed her bet, now asked her to follow up question, “can you share any details?”
“Of course, Shiela,” Ms Jagger said, “when I leave here, I will be heading straight to my team, where we will begin to plan our next course of action.”
“So, when you leave, you are heading to finalise the plans?” Ms Sprawl tried to confirm. “I think it is important not to rush,” Ms Jagger replied quickly and for once with a bit of confidence. “We have been in power for nearly a decade now, and had we rushed, things would be much worse,” she finished by stating the three final words with increased volume. “Much worse?” Mr Richards said in shock, “we are about to enter a recession the likes of which we have not had in a hundred years, and all you can do is promote tax cuts!”
“It is the way of the party,” Ms Jagger replied as if answering the most obvious of questions before continuing. “I am planning to have this meeting, and at that meeting, we will be planning to decide exactly what our plan to deal with the problems facing the country will be.”
“So you are planning to plan what your plan will entail. You do not really have a plan, do you?” Richards said, exasperated.
“Jonathan, please. You are misrepresenting what I have said,” Ms Jagger said firmly. “We have a plan; we just have not yet worked out exactly what that plan will actually be.” Richards sat and shook his head, almost letting it drop into his hands, but he stopped this involuntary action just in time. “Everyone knows I favour tax cuts,” he said. “So why are you raising them?” Shiela Sprawl asked.
“Sometimes, you must travel in one direction before heading the way you want!” Richards replied. “The Laffer curve is all well and good, and it is something I firmly believe in, but you also have to consider things like the Kansas experiment. They quickly cut hundreds of millions in taxes, and the state almost failed.”
“So you are saying we are a failed state?” Ms Jagger interjected. “You should try looking at how great a country we are and not talking us down all the time. It is your type of words that have landed us in this mess.”
“My type of words?” Richards replied with a gasp, “you are the one who has been running the country’s finances! Your hair-brained ideas are what have led us here.” The audience gasped at the frank and unexpected turn of events. Here was a previous cabinet member admitting that they have ballsed things up. “Jonathan, I think we all know things would have been worse had the WUP been elected. Yes, others made mistakes, but I plan to correct those,” Ms Jagger said with a final pause. The audience clapped at her absolutely pointless reply. Like seals at a zoo, they slapped their hands together without even knowing why.
“Ms Jagger, do you think your plans can solve all these problems?”
“Of course, they can,” Jagger replied. “When I leave here, we shall start planning the plans. We shall be drawing up possible solutions to the problems that are faced, and once those plans are constructed, I will put them into action. I promise everyone here and now that I have a plan to plan the plan that will solve every problem we as a country face.” The audience exploded into applause and clapped at this final sentence. Their collective brain struggled to understand the nonsense that had just been spouted. “So you have a plan?” Shiela asked finally.
“When I make it to the conference with my team, we shall have the plan completely finalised before you know it,” Ms Jagger replied.
“Where is the conference taking place?”
“That is still in the planning stage,” Ms Jagger said before being thanked for her appearance and leaving to a round of applause.