Echoes of A New Tomorrow: Life after Revolution in the Commonwealth of Britain

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DensleyBlair

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Well that is excellent news, a small chink of light in the relentless grim darkness that is the revolution.
DYAEiOu.gif

You have impeccable timing, Pip. I’ve just got the email to say the machine is ready for collection.

Which is great, because it means I can do some photoshopping to go along with Redadder’s Christmas Carol. No more relying on our of context pictures of Prunella Scales and Ian Richardson… (There won’t be any Benn on Dimbleby’s body, though, which @LordTempest will be relieved to hear.)
 

DensleyBlair

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I have some astoundingly good news. Not only is my laptop now fine and well once more, but absolutely everything is as it was. All my files are in place; Echoes and everything else survives intact. Merry Christmas indeed.

Redadder will be up at some point before the AARland cocktail hour.
 
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I have some astoundingly good news. Not only is my laptop now fine and well once more, but absolutely everything is as it was. All my files are in place; Echoes and everything else survives intact. Merry Christmas indeed.

Redadder will be up at some point before the AARland cocktail hour.

As we used to say in the olden days:

HUZZAH!
 
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DensleyBlair

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As we used to say in the olden days:

HUZZAH!

Huzzah! indeed

I actually went back and re-read all of the Sher the other week. Good times they were. I’ve half a mind to do a redux if I ever get around to picking up CK3…
 
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Huh. That doesn't usually happen.

Christmas miracle then.
 
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Huh. That doesn't usually happen.

Christmas miracle then.

I was, to put it mildly, pleasantly surprised.

--
Redadder incoming within the hour. It's a big one, so have your sherry and mince pie at the ready beforehand.
 
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I was, to put it mildly, pleasantly surprised.

--
Redadder incoming within the hour. It's a big one, so have your sherry and mince pie at the ready beforehand.

Maybe we should get some people to act it out in the cocktail hour.
 

DensleyBlair

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Maybe we should get some people to act it out in the cocktail hour.

Certainly a sketch or two perhaps if people are up for it, yeah. Good idea.

Here it comes in any case.
 
Redadder's Christmas Carol

DensleyBlair

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XMAS ECHOES HEADER.png

REDADDER'S CHRISTMAS CAROL
CBC 2, 1973

BY
PETER COOK AND DUDLEY MOORE

WITH
IAN CARMICHAEL (HANNINGTON)
PRUNELLA SCALES (AUNT BARBARA)
PETER SELLERS (TRICKY DICK / BENITO MUSSOLINI)

AND INTRODUCING
BILLY CONNOLLY
AS
“OLD MACDONALD”

AND
THE BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND
AS THEMSELVES



A voice over begins over a black screen.

Britain, 1968: a country beset by turmoil on all fronts.

Stock footage of striking miners and youth protestors; politicians shuffling about in important meetings.

After a decade of crisis and upheaval, the Commonwealth cries out for a firm guiding hand. Up and down the land, kids have taken to the streets and their parents have taken to the picket lines. Politicians have lost control, and some are giving up on life altogether.

Dai Pevan clutches his chest melodramatically and keels over.

Only one man alive has the courage, the intellect and the diabolical good looks necessary to wrest salvation from the jaws of oblivion; to lead Britain out of the darkness and into the light.

Stock footage of hysterical crowds. We see a figure silhouetted against a dark screen.

Years ago, the people spurned this hero, this paragon among men. The world was not ready for his genius then, but now millions across the country cry out for the return of their champion.
His name?–

BALDWIN: Comrade Redadder, sir!

The video freezes. The camera pans away to reveal a screen and projector. REDADDER is sat alone in a dark room, staring intently at the footage.

REDADDER: Oh for Pete's sake, it was just getting to the good bit! What the bloody hell do you want?

BALDWIN: Sorry to bother you, Comrade Redadder, sir, only Signore Mussolini wants to know if you fancy getting some practice in ahead of the Mixed Dictators Doubles tennis match this evening? I tried to tell him you weren't to be disturbed, but you know how he gets.

REDADDER: Yes, well, you'll know how I get if you aren't out of my sight in the next five seconds. Just remind him what happened last time we went head to head.

BALDWIN: What, you mean when he lost control of half of Libya?

REDADDER: No, I mean last week when he nearly put his shoulder out going for a smash shot return. You'd've thought he'd've had more practice at it really, what with all the saluting.

BALDWIN: He's really not going to be happy if you keep him waiting, sir.

REDADDER: Yes, well, you know what they say, of course.

BALDWIN: What's that then?

REDADDER: Always trains on time. Real stickler for it.

BALDWIN: What?

REDADDER: What?

BALDWIN: Well… if you say so, sir. All I know is that there's a red-faced fascist outside who made the throat-cutting gesture at me when I asked him what would happen if I came back without you.

REDADDER: Oh, I wouldn't worry, Baldwin. That's just Italian for goodbye. Besides, if you are scared of him it's a simple solution.

BALDWIN: Oh yeah, what's that then?

REDADDER: Don't go back. That's how I survived at the top for so long, you see. Never put myself in danger when it wasn't necessary.

BALDWIN: I thought it was by brutally suppressing all dissent and forcing political opponents underground?

REDADDER: Yes, well, mine was a preventative anti-danger strategy. Can never be too well prepared when you've got enemies on all sides.

BALDWIN: So that's why you ran away, then?

REDADDER: Quite so. When I left Britain seven years ago I was merely executing a judicious manoeuvre in the art of pre-emptive hostility avoidance.

BALDWIN: Oh, I see. I always thought you left because you're just a weaselly little shit who crumbles in the face of anything greater than a token opposition.

REDADDER: How bloody dare you talk to me like that! Don't think you can start taking liberties just because we're not in England anymore. Bermuda can be a very unfriendly place, you know. Disappearing acts are something of a local pastime round here, and if you don't start showing me the respect I deserve then I'll let them have their bloody way with you! Now be a good boy and piss off like I told you five minutes ago.

BALDWIN: Very good, sir. Although, if you don't mind me asking–

REDADDER: I assure you, Baldwin, I do.

BALDWIN: It's just, this is no way to spend Christmas Eve, is it, sir? All cooped up in the dark obsessively watching old footage of your glory days. Why not go outside for a bit?

REDADDER: Because, Baldwin, here at the Hotel Tyrannico, the western hemisphere's premier holiday destination for the perfidiously betrayed and prematurely deposed, Christmas Eve involves such seasonal delights as playing Mr. and Mrs. Edward Windsor at mixed doubles volleyball, followed by barbecued bratwurst on the beach with half a dozen members of the Nazi Party, and all capped off by General MacArthur's festive cracker pull with live ammunition. The only way it could get less cheery would be if Stalin showed up and announced that Father Christmas had been shot for crimes against the Motherland.

BALDWIN: Still, always nice to stretch your legs, get a bit of fresh air.

REDADDER: Look Baldwin, if I were the kind of person who appreciated being lectured about the merits of the great outdoors, I would hardly have gone to such extraordinary trouble to suppress the Socialist Youth.

BALDWIN: Well alright then, your loss. But before I go, there was one more thing.

REDADDER: This better be exceptionally good. What is it?

BALDWIN: Well sir, the thing is, when I was on my way over here from the tennis courts, I came to a point in the road where I suddenly felt a great chill in the air. At first I thought I must just've got lost and wondered into Comrade Stalin's all-inclusive Siberia-themed camping experience by mistake, but as it would turn out I was on completely the other side of the resort.

REDADDER: So? What was it then?

BALDWIN: You see, that's the funny thing. Out of nowhere there was this great crash of thunder, and all of a sudden there before me stood a towering figure of a man, with a bushy white beard and a face as old as time. He called out to me in a voice like nothing from this mortal realm, echoing through the air as if imbued with the energy of a million billion lost souls. Beware! said he, for I come from the spirit realm with a terrible message to impart to Chairman Redadder! And then just like that, he was gone.

REDADDER: Well if it's Karl Marx I'll just tell him I'm not interested. Now shove off and leave me in peace!

Exit BALDWIN. Fade to black.



1973 RCC PETE N DUD.jpg

Redadder (right) and Baldwin (left). Promotional shot, 1973.

When the picture returns, REDADDER is fast asleep in front of the projector screen, still running footage from the good old days. Suddenly, enshrouded in smoke and a blinding white light, an unearthly figure materialises at the front of the room.

THE FIGURE: Woooooo! Reeed-adder… Reeeeed-adder! Beware, for I have returned!

Redadder does not wake up. He snores loudly.

FIGURE: Reeeed-adder! Ignore at your peril this grave message I bring!

The FIGURE waves his fingers and sends a cold breeze in REDADDER's direction. He wakes with a start.

REDADDER: Ah! Wha–! Baldwin? Is that you? What the bloody hell do you think you're playing at?

FIGURE: Wooooo! Baldwin sleeps soundly, Redadder. He has no hand in this affair!

REDADDER: Well then who in God's name are you? And just what do you think you're doing coming into my room, waking me up at this hour?

FIGURE: You do not recognise me then, Redadder? Why, we have met before! Wooooo!

REDADDER: My God! Yes, how stupid of me: of course I recognise you!

FIGURE: Ah, good. That always makes it easier.

REDADDER: Yes, seeing as you're obviously not Father Christmas, that can only mean that you are the winner of this year's least convincing ghost award. Now who put you up to this? This has got Kaiser Wilhelm's fingers all over it…

FIGURE: Mock me at your peril, Redadder, for I bring ill tidings of the world to come!

REDADDER: Oh that's what it is, is it? For a minute I was worried Baldwin had left his underwear in here.

FIGURE: Look, do you really not recognise me?

REDADDER: Why, should I?

FIGURE: I think if I had stabbed someone in the back and ruined their political career, I'd remember the person the next time I saw them.

REDADDER: Well, I can hardly keep track of everyone… Look, if you could just cut to the chase a bit, you're really going to have to start being a bit more specific…

FIGURE: 1928? The General Strike? Five-time winner of the 'Britain's Cuddliest Socialist' award…

REDADDER: Good Lord, could it be–!

FIGURE: Yes, Redadder, it is I: Ramsay MacDonald!



1973 RCC BILLY.jpg

"Yes, it is I: Ramsay MacDonald!"


REDADDER: Old MacDonald! What in the name of Christ happened to you?

MACDONALD: You did, Redadder. And it was hardly in the name of Christ. After you ruined my political career, I simply faded into oblivion. Now I've been resurrected, cursed to wander the earth as the Spirit of Ignominious Ends, burdened with the task of showing people the error of their ways before they too meet with a pitiable fate.

REDADDER: Well you're a bit late, matey. My pitiable fate came and went all of seven years ago.

MACDONALD: What? You mean this isn't 1958?

REDADDER: No it's not, it's 1968. And you're not in England, either.

MACDONALD: No? Where am I, then?

REDADDER: Bermuda.

MACDONALD: Bugger.

REDADDER: Trust a Labour prime minister to balls up the numbers.

MACDONALD: What can I say, I wasn't perfect. I see that now; spending an eternity wandering the spirit world does give one ample time to reflect on these sorts of things. But I will always have one thing, at least: I was the first ever socialist prime minister of the United Kingdom. Who else can say that?

REDADDER: No one, that's true. And granted, it is a commendable achievement, but there is one thing you're overlooking.

MACDONALD: What's that then?

REDADDER: Well, being the first somehow counts for a whole lot less if you are also the last. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that there is little you could have got more badly wrong than presiding over the breakdown of a thousand-year-old political system in the space of, what, eight months? To be honest I'm beginning to question why anyone in their right mind would charge you with anywhere nearly as important a task as potentially altering the course of history itself, omniscient spirit or otherwise.

MACDONALD: Now now, Redadder. I told you. I've had a lot of time to work things out in my life. Well, afterlife. And I've had my share of success in my new enterprise.

REDADDER: Oh yeah? Like what?

MACDONALD: Well, let's see… There was a man in Penrith who fancied himself a keen survivalist: if I hadn't've intervened he'd've come a cropper trying to catch brown trout with his John Thomas out on the shores of Lake Windemere! And then there was one lady from Inverness who thought she could get rich quick selling sculptures of Tom Wintringham made from nothing but cottage cheese… That was a close call, I'm sure I don't need to tell you! My greatest triumph of course has to be George Formby.

REDADDER: What, the bloke with the ukulele? But he's harmless!

MACDONALD: Exactly. Job well done if you ask me.

REDADDER: Well how do you do it then, get people to change their ways?

MACDONALD: Oh, visions mostly. Much easier nowadays, of course. Under the old system we had to wait five to seven working days before every visitation to check that what we were going to show adhered close enough to the party line, which was very counterproductive.Usually we'd just get a telegram back from the Domestic Bureau saying that the old ways were fine as they were, thank you very much. Now that the censorship has gone we can be much more liberal with our craft.

REDADDER: And this is how you were going to get me to change, was it, a few visions? They must have been quite something.

MACDONALD: Oh yes! Tell you what: seeing as I'm here, why don't I show you? No point letting good work go to waste now, is there?

REDADDER: Ah well, seeing as I'm awake… If you insist.

MADONALD wiggles his fingers and the vision soon materialises. On screen we see people gathered around a piano in a village hall, decked out in traditional Christmas attire. Music begins.

REDADDER: What's this then, musical theatre?

MACDONALD: Shh! It's starting.



Musical accompaniment.


We're listening for the sleigh bells.
We're looking for the sleigh.
We hope this special person comes in time for Christmas Day.

Let's all join in the magic of Christmas make believe.
Who do we all want to see on Christ-mas Eve?

Wal Hannington, Wal Hannington, that's who we want to see. (We agree.)
Not Kosygin, not Nye Bevan, not Chairman Faure.
He's quite a bore. (Oh zut alors!)

Who's our favourite Communist?
Eyes that you could not resist.
Drives the girls around the twist.
(Oo-oo.)

Give me W-A-L.
H-A and double N.
I-N-G-T-O-N spells Hannington.

By day, I'm the Commonwealth's president.
But hey, that's just the first of my many talents.

(Wal Hannington, Wal Hannington) I sing, I dance, I lean to the left.
I'm militant, resilient, I'm better than all the rest. (Yes he's the best, there's no contest.)

We'll gather round to the festive sound of the carols of a distant choir.
As we raise a toast, what will we roast on the embers of an open fire?

(Wal Hannington, Wal Hannington) An experienced pair of hands.
I've had to wait to be head of state.
I'll learn new tricks
At sixty-six. (He won't be nixed.)

As the children dream of a festive scene and a figure in a coat of red,
Who, dare we ask, has been given the task of ruling us in Bevan's stead?

(Wal Hannington, Wal Hannington.) You won't notice I'm here, never fear.
I'm not a scrooge, nor Russian stooge.
I'll be just fine
On the party line. (Keeping Moscow time?)

As the snow comes down over London town like the Christmases in days of Yore,
Dare we suggest what is that mess in a heap on the Assembly floor?

(It's Hannington, Wal Hannington.) Revolutionary through and through. (This is true)
From General Strike to inflation spike
I've seen the lot
Won't be forgot. (Is he a Trot? Not by a long shot!)

We'll start the food and we'll serve a brew to the singers in the snowy street.
And who'll be merry with a glass of sherry when it's time for something sweet?

(Wal Hannington, the people's chum) the bells of Christmas ring. (Ding-a-ding)
Unbeatable, defeatable
Won't be denied–
(My god, he's died!)



1973 RCC HANNINGTON.jpg

Ian Carmichael as President Wal Hannington.


REDADDER: Good Lord. So not only have they let the Communists back in, but once they're in power they start dying left, right and centre!

MACDONALD: Not quite, actually Redadder. It's more 'left, left and left.' Besides, if you hadn't so badly eroded the British democratic instinct then things would be going much more smoothly. Instead of waiting for their leaders to die, the people could just vote them out.

REDADDER: Vote? Nonsense. Ridiculous idea. Voting never changes anything. Not if I have anything to do with it, anyway.

MACDONALD: Well, you know what they say: the first step towards change is accepting the problem.

REDADDER: Problem? Frankly the only problem I see around here is about 5’ 9”, well-built and has just suffered a massive fatal heart attack. If, of course, you choose to ignore the geriatric Scottish ghost who's just conjured up the most underwhelming Christmas panto since the Rutland chapter of the CPGB staged Jack and the Beanstalk on a collective farm.

MACDONALD: This hostility won't get you very far, Redadder. You have to learn to resolve your issues amicably and with grace.

REDADDER: Cobblers! I'm me, for God's sake. Why should I have to grin and bear my issues when I can just have them removed? Much cleaner.

MACDONALD: Ah, unfortunately it's not nearly so simple anymore, Redadder. For one thing, the old policy of indiscriminately bundling dissidents into black vans here, there and everywhere really just isn't economical anymore, the price of petrol being what it is. And then there's the opposition, they'd get all up in arms about it…

REDADDER: Good Lord, it gets worse and worse. You don't mean to tell me that the British government are actually scared of a little bit of opposition?

MACDONALD: Bit rich coming from you isn't it, Redadder?

REDADDER: Nonsense. Takes a strong stomach, all that purging. Very strong indeed.

MACDONALD: Well this new lot might make you think twice. They fight back, you see.

REDADDER: Oh yeah? What's their secret weapon?

MACDONALD: Oh, it's devastating!

REDADDER: Go on, then, what is it?

MACDONALD: Oh, terrible it is, Redadder. Left many a glittering career in shreds.

REDADDER: I'll leave you in shreds if you don't get to the point.

MACDONALD: Alright, alright. Keep your wig on. The secret weapon–

REDADDER: Yes?

MACDONALD: Satire.

REDADDER: Satire? Is that some kind of bad joke?

MACDONALD: Only if you're not any good. Look, underestimate it at your peril. I'll show you what I mean.

MACDONALD wiggles his fingers and conjures up another vision. On screen we see a very familiar looking room

REDADDER: Wait a minute, that's my old office! And who's that sat at my old desk?

MACDONALD: Shh! Patience, man, patience!

Behind the desk sits a woman with elaborately permed hair. This is AUNT BARBARA, the Director of the Office for Economic Planning.



1973 RCC BARBARA.jpg

Aunt Barbara.


BARBARA is working away busily with some papers. There's a knock at the door.

BARBARA: Come in!

In walk a gaggle of young men wearing very obvious disguises, fake moustaches and shades and so on. They are dressed in the garb of tradespeople, carrying bags and cases.

VISITOR 1: Alright, ma'am. Here about the statue.

BARBARA: Statue? What statue?

VISITOR 2: We were told to come about… let me see, I've got it here somewhere…

VISITOR 3: Oh don't tell me you've lost the brief, you nitwit!

VISITOR 4: Like you'd've kept onto it any better!

VISITOR 2: Oi, shush you lot! Here it is look: "By the order of the British government, you are hereby tasked with producing a grand monument to the beloved memory of our dearly departed leader, the Lord High Comrade Chairman for Life, His Socialist Excellency Dai Pevan, Hero of the Commonwealth, Commander First Class of the Order of the Golden Lump of Coal."

BARBARA: Oh, that statue. Yes, I remember now. Bloody bureaucracy – never know what's going on around here… And you're the sculptors, are you? You don't look like artists.

VISITOR 3: Well, we're from the agency you see…

VISITOR 4: Shut it, birdbrain. She doesn't have to know that!

VISITOR 1: What my esteemed colleagues meant to say, ma'am, is that looks can be deceiving. Never judge a book by it's cover.

VISITOR 3: Or a Bonzo!

VISITOR 4: Quiet!

VISITOR 2: Please, miss. We're very good. We've got three A's in art between us.

BARBARA: But there are four of you.

VISITOR 3: I went to secretarial college, ma'am. Dropped out to follow my dreams.

BARBARA: What, becoming an agency worker?

VISITOR 3: Oh, I'm not fussed about that part. I just like wearing the outfits.

VISITOR 1: You do pull off the janitorial look smashingly well, if I do say so.

BARBARA: Well… alright then. You've got everything you need?

VISITOR 2: Oh yes, all in here.

They indicate their bags.

BARBARA: Good. Now, I'm not to be disturbed again, understand? I'm a very busy woman!

VISITOR 1: You leave it with us, ma'am. We have everything under control.

Cut to an exterior shot.

VISITOR 1: Okay, everyone ready?

They answer “Yes” in unison.

VISITOR 1: Good, then you know what to do.

VISITOR 4 exits around the corner. A beat later, he comes back dressed in a very amateurish horse costume. The rest of the group strip off out of their work clothes to reveal gaudy and eccentric outfits. They are not tradespeople at all: they are THE BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND!



Audio/visual accompaniment


There once was a very famous man
On his famous horse he'd ride through the land
The people used to see him everywhere
When he died, they put a statue in the square
(Hooray!)

Here comes the Equestrian Statue
Prancing up and down the square
Little old ladies stop and say
“Well, I declare!”

Once a month on a Friday there's a man
With a mop and bucket in his hand
To him it's just another working day
So he whistles as he rubs and scrubs away
(Hooray!)

Here comes the Equestrian Statue
Prancing up and down the square
Little old ladies stop and say
“Well, I declare!”

It's a sight to bring you joy, you feel so gay
And it's guaranteed to brighten up your day
If it's grey
(Hooray!)

Here comes the Equestrian Statue
Prancing up and down the square
Little old ladies stop and say
"Well, I declare!”

It's a sight to bring you joy, you feel so gay
And it's guaranteed to brighten up your day
If it's grey
Feel so gay (x5)


OFFCAMERA: Oi!

The music stops abruptly. A figure is coming towards the BONZOS from across the Heath. It's BARBARA! She has rumbled the BONZOS in their tomfoolery!



Screenshot 2020-12-19 at 17.11.47.png

Rumbled!


BARBARA: What the bloody hell do you lot suppose you're doing?

VISITOR 1 (VIV): I should jolly well ask you the same question! Why aren't you running the country?

VISITOR 2 (NEIL): Yeah, if you're here, who's planning the economy?

VISITOR 3 (LEGS): What, can't it plan itself?

VISITOR 4 (RHINO): No, you idiot, the world would implode!

BARBARA: Look, as much as I'm positively riveted by this high level discourse about the intricacies of economic theory, I haven't got all day. If you'd all just be good enough to explain to me how any of this–

She gestures towards the horse costume.

BARBARA: –is at all related to the work of making a statue, then I should be quite grateful. Because at the moment all I'm seeing is a toddler's idea of a glue factory.

LEGS: Oh, thank you very much, ma'am.

RHINO: It's not a compliment, you cretin.

VIV: Now now, Bonzos, we all know art is subjective. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

LEGS: Oh, I've heard that one. Marx, isn't it?

NEIL: What my colleagues mean to say, ma'am, is that our work is open to interpretation.

BARBARA: Open to interpretation? You mean to tell me that you consider the heroic efforts of the great Dai Pevan to be open to interpretation?

VIV: Only in the sense, ma'am, that such an enormous figure as Chairman Pevan could not be captured in full by so measly a medium as sculpture.

LEGS: I know he was on the larger side, but sur– Ow!

NEIL: Indeed, ma'am: a more… traditional representation would have been counterproductive in this case. Riddled with shortcomings.

LEGS: Sounds about right to m– Ow!

BARBARA: So let me get this straight; what you're telling me is that the reason your statue looks like a drunken doodle on a public toilet door is because no other form known to man could have possibly captured the immense genius of Chairman Pevan?

VIV: I could not have put it better myself, ma'am.

BARBARA: Hmm. I'm still not convinced that the punters will get it. The free play of signs and signifiers is all very good, but what if they play a little too freely? What if, for argument's sake, the man on the Clapham omnibus sees your statue and thinks, My God, that is utter crap, whoever it is a statue of must have been utter crap, too?

LEGS: Oh, I wouldn't worry.

BARBARA: No?

LEGS: Nah. We're not in Clapham, are we? Your fella on the omnibus will never even see the thing.

RHINO: Give me strength…

VIV: If I may say so, ma'am, I really don't think you give the man on the street enough credit.

BARBARA: Well how else do you expect me to keep inflation under control? Anyway, my point stands: what if people get the wrong idea?

NEIL: You mean to say, ma'am, that in this enlightened, post-censorship age there even is such a thing as the wrong idea?

BARBARA: Oh, give me a break… It's very simple: if the last lot did it, fire away; if it was us… well… it wasn't. Got it?

LEGS: Yeah. The last lot did the bad stuff, and you lot did nothing.

VIV: I think, ma'am, I have a solution to our impasse which might keep all parties satisfied.

BARBARA: All parties? I don't know if I like the sound of that… Will it satisfy me?

VIV: I believe so, ma'am. Neil?

NEIL: Yes, Vivian?

VIV: Would you be a dearie and fetch the red paint bucket?

Realisation creeps up on NEIL.

NEIL: Oh, Vivian, you've done it again!

NEIL heads off for the paint. Cut to black. When the picture returns, the equestrian statue has been daubed in red. A plinth below reads: "IN ETERNAL MEMORY OF CHAIRMAN REDADDER".

BARBARA: Now that's what I call a statue!

The BONZOS and BARBARA stand admiring their handiwork. The picture fades to black.



1973 RCC STATUE.jpg

"Would you be a dearie and fetch the red paint bucket?"


We re-emerge once more with REDADDER and MACDONALD.

REDADDER: I can't bloody believe it.

MACDONALD: Aye, not often you see genius of that calibre at work.

REDADDER: Ha! That, genius? I've had sneezes more aesthetically pleasing than that rubbish. You don't possibly mean to tell me that this is what has become of the Commonwealth?

MACDONALD: What can I say, things have softened out since your day.

REDADDER: Yes, I can see that. Mostly in the brains department, by the looks of it. Anyway, have you not got anything better to show me? If I actually enjoyed watching men with bad haircuts prancing about the parks of London, chucking off risqué innuendos and calling it political commentary, I'd save myself the effort of conjuring a spirit from the nether-realm and just take up dogging. And it's not very Christmassy, is it?

MACDONALD: Well, Christmas is a time for love, for charity, for goodwill to all men. Hardly the stuff of nightmares, is it?

REDADDER: Hmm, I don't know about that.

MACDONALD: If you're not satisfied with your haunting experience, you can always take it up with my boss. He'll get back to you in three to five working years.

REDADDER: Oh yeah? Who's your boss, then? Beelzebub?

MACDONALD: If you like. I just call him Winston.

REDADDER: Hang on a minute, you told me earlier you could see into people's futures. Well, I want to see mine. Show me what would happen if I made my return to Britain, took back control over the government and sorted out all of those wet fish posing as an intellectual class.

MACDONALD: Well, I suppose I could… But no, it's nothing. Very dull, I promise you. Forget I said anything. Actually, I really must be going. So many hauntings, so little time!

REDADDER: Oh, come on: how hard could it be? The gratitude of the people, the salvation of a pitiful little country; the complementary mince pies from Mrs Miggins' Parliamentary canteen. Yes, I can see it now…

We cut between scenes as if entering a vision, which MACDONALD frantically tries to stop materialising. The picture settles back in REDADDER's old office, which is decked out in Christmas apparel. REDADDER is sitting behind his desk. There is a knock on the door and BALDWIN enters presently.

BALDWIN: You called, Comrade Chairman?

REDADDER: Oh really, Baldwin, what did I tell you about using that title? Things have changed, remember?

BALDWIN: Ah yes, sorry Sir. You called, Comrade Supreme Eternal Chairman for Life?

REDADDER: Much better. And yes, I did. Do we have those opinion polls for the end of the year?

BALDWIN: Yes we do, Comrade Supreme Eternal Chairman for Life.

REDADDER: Good. And what do they say?

BALDWIN: Whatever you want them to, Sir.

REDADDER: Excellent. And what of the economy?

BALDWIN: Production is up ten thousand per-cent on last quarter, Sir. The new Father Christmas novelty beard-making industry has really taken off.

REDADDER: Wonderful! Anything else?

BALDWIN: Yes, Sir. In fact, the American President has just been on the phone. He says that as a special Christmas gift to the world's most glorious and intelligent statesman, he has officially revoked the declaration of independence.

REDADDER: Well, baste my bare bottom and roast me on gas mark five! This really will be a merry Christmas. All that's left to do now is tuck in to our massive Christmas dinner.

BALDWIN: Hooray!

REDADDER: Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say 'our'? I should have said 'my'. Now sod off and leave me in pea– Hang on a minute: Baldwin, my Aunt Barbara has just arrived. And– well, I'll be damned, she's brought Old Wal Hannington with her, back from the dead! Now Baldwin, I told you to sod off. And who gave you permission to turn into a turkey?

AUNT BARBARA comes in, arm in arm with HANNINGTON. The duo link arms with BALDWIN, now with a Christmas turkey on his head, and together they all perform a cheerful dance.

REDADDER: Oh God, it's a dream, isn't it? A bloody dream…

Fade to black. We rejoin the action once again in REDADDER's room, MACDONALD, now sat next to REDADDER admiring the vision.

MACDONALD: Yes, that's the problem with amateur work: no sense of realism. You mortals think it's easy, this job; just wiggle my fingers and hey presto! But no, this is serious work, Redadder. Not just anyone can do what I do.

REDADDER: Well why don't you bloody get on and do it then, if I'm so hopeless?

MACDONALD: Oh, no, really, I think you've seen quite enough for one night. And I really do have to go–

REDADDER: Oh, come on: you're a bleeding spirit: you've got all the bleeding time in the bleeding world! Besides, what could possibly be worse than Baldwin as a Christmas turkey?

MACDONALD: Well… Oh, alright then. But I'm warning you: you asked for this!

MACDONALD wiggles his fingers and conjures up a vision of REDADDER's future. The screen settles back in REDADDER's old office, decked out pathetically in a few old strands of tinsel. REDADDER is sitting behind his desk. There is a knock on the door, and BALDWIN enters presently.

BALDWIN: You called, Comrade Chairman?

REDADDER: Oh really, Baldwin, what did I tell you about using that title? Things have changed, remember?

BALDWIN: Ah yes, sorry Sir. You called, Comrade Supreme Eternal Chairman for Life?

REDADDER: Much better. And yes, I did. Do we have the latest opinion polls for the end of the year?

BALDWIN: Yes we do, Comrade Supreme Eternal Chairman for Life.

REDADDER: Good. And what do they say?

BALDWIN: Uh, it's not good news, Sir. Your approval ratings have never been lower.

REDADDER: What?! No, that can't be right. I specifically requested good ratings. But the latest economic figures, they must be better? Our Yuletide Father Christmas beard-making industry will have surely taken off.

BALDWIN: In a sense, Sir.

REDADDER: In a sense? What does that mean?

BALDWIN: Well, Sir, if I tell you that the Department of Economic Graphs and Charts spent all of its budget for the year on a piece of paper big enough to accommodate the size of the down arrow it had to draw this quarter–

REDADDER: So you're telling me that our new festive industries have in fact taken off downwards?

BALDWIN: If you look on the bright side, it is another impressive feat of technical innovation for British engineering.

REDADDER: Yes, and very handy it will be too next time I'm taken by the urge to holiday in Australia. Speaking of which, how are foreign affairs? There must be some good news?

BALDWIN: Oh yes, Sir.

REDADDER: At last–

BALDWIN: If you're an American. They've invaded, Sir.

REDADDER: Invaded? How the hell can they have just invaded?

BALDWIN: The President did call, Sir.

REDADDER: What?! What did he say?

BALDWIN: That he has your Christmas present, and that he's coming to give it to you personally.

REDADDER: Christmas present? Did he say what it was?

BALDWIN: Yeah, it's a kick up the backside. Oh hang on, I think that was meant to be a surprise…

REDADDER: Sod surprises, this is terrible! But still, we mustn't panic. There must still be some time before he gets here, surely? How long did he say he'd be?

BALDWIN: About fifteen minutes.

REDADDER: And how long ago did he call?

BALDWIN: About fifteen minutes ago.

REDADDER: So you mean to tell me that the President of the United States is going to be here any minute to deliver me the least appreciated Christmas gift since God gave Mary an unexpected pregnancy? We've got to do something! Here, take the desk.

The two men barricade the door.

REDADDER: Good, that should buy us some time at least. It'll take a man much stronger than the President of the United States to get through there!

Suddenly there is an almighty rumbling. The room begins to shake. REDADDER and BALDWIN cower for cover in the corner of the room. Bits of ceiling start falling to the ground, and then, all at once, a suited figure crashes into the office, a star-spangled parachute on his shoulders and a Father Christmas hat on his head. He is recognisable at once: it is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.



1973 RCC TRICKY DICK.jpg

The President of the United States (Peter Sellers).


THE PRESIDENT: Ho, ho ho! Which one of you punks is Chairman Redadder.

REDADDER: He is!

THE PRESIDENT: Ha! Good try, pal. You think I don't know a liar when I see one? I wrote the book on it! The name's Tricky Dick: Tricky to those who like me, Dick to those who don't. Now, Redadder, I've got something for you.

REDADDER: You'll never get your hands on my bottom!

DICK: What are you, stupid? I don't need hands to kick your ass!

REDADDER: Ah, well, um… Baldwin?

BALDWIN: Yes, Comrade Supreme Eternal Chairman for Life?

REDADDER: How quickly can you unbarricade a door?

DICK: Not fast enough to stop Tricky Dick! Face it, Redadder: your goose is cooked! Come on in, boys: it's kicking time!

As American soldiers in seasonal red hats storm the office through the windows, the camera zooms in tight on DICK, giving a winning grin.

DICK: God, I love the Holidays!

The gaggle chase each other around the office, the Americans trying to land kicks and REDADDER trying to avoid them. The vision fades and we rejoin a traumatised-looking REDADDER sat up in his bed, MACDONALD by his side.

REDADDER: That's it, then? That's what happens if I ever return?

MACDONALD: Hey, don't blame me. What did you expect when the Spirit of Ignominious Ends materialised in your room?

REDADDER: Well then, happy Christmas to me…

MACDONALD: Oh, aye. A very merry Christmas to you, Redadder!

REDADDER: You really do go from one extreme to the other, don't you? I'm beginning to see why the voters never trusted you. More flip flops than, well… than this place in a heatwave. Now there's a scary sight. I promise you, MacDonald: conjure up whatever foul visions you like, nothing you can imagine will ever hold a candle to the sight of Comrade Stalin wearing open-toed shoes.

MACDONALD: What can I say, Redadder. You've seen the alternative. Maybe it's time to count your blessings?

REDADDER: Well that won't take long… No, no. I suppose you're right. Say what you like about the Hotel Tyrannico, but at least it's better than having your dangly bits end up mounted on the wall of the Oval Office.

MACDONALD: Quite right. Anyway, must be off now. Places to haunt, people to spook. You know how it goes?

REDADDER: Yes, I suppose so.

MACDONALD: Before I go… Don't suppose you could spare a wee dram of something for the road? Awfully cold night, wouldn't like to think of what would happen to a poor old spirit like me…

REDADDER: Yes, yes, go on then. Drinks cupboard is over there, help yourself.

MACDONALD: You wouldn't happen to have anything a wee bit more… medicinal?

REDADDER: Well, there is a bit of Dr Errol von Strassenburger's Turbulent Tummy Tonic on the bedside table, but I was saving to go with my turkey à la Baldwin–

MACDONALD: Oh, nothing but the best in this place, I see! You deposed autocrats really do live in style, don't you? Anyway, time to be off. Cheerio!

MACDONALD wiggles his fingers and the room goes up in a bright white light. When it fades, the spirit is gone. REDADDER is sleeping soundly in his bed. It is morning. There is a knock on the door and BALDWIN enters.

BALDWIN: Good morning, Sir. And a very merry Christmas to you!

REDADDER stirs.

REDADDER: Wha– what time is it?

BALDWIN: Nine o' clock, Sir.

REDADDER: Nine o' clock? God, I feel exhausted. You know, last night I had the strangest dream…

BALDWIN: Oh yeah?

REDADDER: Yeah, really queer. I dreamt that Ramsay MacDonald came back as a ghost and showed me a series of visions to try and get me to change my ways.

BALDWIN: Sounds to me like someone fell asleep in front of their old newsreels again…

REDADDER: That wasn't even the strangest part. Before he left, MacDonald, he insisted on taking the bottle of Dr Errol von Strassenburger's Turbulent Tummy Tonic from my bedside ta–

BALDWIN: What is it, Sir?

REDADDER: Why! The Tummy Tonic… It's gone!

BALDWIN: What, you don't think you were actually visited by the ghost of Ramsay MacDonald do you?

REDADDER: Well, I don't know… Maybe?

BALDWIN: Tell you what, what did he look like? Surely you've got a picture of the old fella knocking about here somewhere?

REDADDER: Yes! Excellent thinking, Baldwin. Here, put this on.

REDADDER digs out a reel of film and passes it to BALDWIN, who puts it in the projector and sets it going.

REDADDER: Oh my God, look! That's him!

BALDWIN: What, that fella with the grey hair and the moustache?

REDADDER: Yes, well, he's obviously let himself go a bit. His hair was a lot longer, and he's grown a big, bushy beard, but it's definitely him.

BALDWIN: But, Sir: that's the fella I saw yesterday on my way back from the tennis courts!

REDADDER: No! Then it was all true? Wal Hannington's panto act; the farcical equine statue… Tricky Dick crashing through the ceiling to put his boots up my bum?

BALDWIN: I certainly can't see any other explanation.

REDADDER: Alas, Balders, in your case that is not always the surest indication that something is true. Nevertheless, you can't deny the evidence does point towards me having been haunted last night. Well, paint my trousers and call me Milicent, I met an actual ghost!

BALDWIN: Good for you, Sir. Never too late to get acquainted with the Christmas spirit.

REDADDER: But what does it all mean? Who could have sent him? What could they have possibly wanted?

BALDWIN: I guess we'll never know.

REDADDER: No, I suppose not. There's only one thing for it, then: from now on, it's goodbye Chairman Scrooge, hello milk of human kindness. From this moment on, I will be… good!

BALDWIN: Hooray!

Cut to black. Roll end credits.


Musical accompaniment.


When things weren't going quite his way,
And enemies were getting ruder,
Redadder took a holiday,
And now it's Christmas in Bermuda.

Redadder, Redadder,
A Christmas miracle.
Redadder, Redadder,
He's not bad after all!





Slowly, the picture fades up again. What is this? MACDONALD is lying on the beachfront, pina colada in one hand and a turkey drumstick in the other. Next to him is the unmistakable figure of BENITO MUSSOLINI!


1973 RCC BENNY.jpg

"Benny" (Sellers again)


BENITO: Do you think he's woken up yet?

MACDONALD: Oh, aye. I only gave him a wee draft. Should be right as rain this morning.

BENITO: And you're sure it worked?

MACDONALD: No question, Benny, no question! He even sent me off with a bottle of the good stuff.

BENITO: You don't mean–?

MACDONALD: Aye: Dr Errol von Strassenburger's Turbulent Tummy Tonic.

BENITO: Mamma Mia, it's going to be a good Christmas after all!

MACDONALD pours out a couple of shots and hands one to BENITO. The clink glasses and drink up.

BENITO: Well, that little shit Redadder will have learnt his lesson, anyway. If you're going to skip tennis practice with Benito Mussolini, you better prepare for a nasty surprise! Mwahahahaha!

MACDONALD: Aye, a cunning plan indeed, Benny. And a pleasure to be able to help, I must say. Call on me any time you want to get one over on that pompous arse Redadder. Deserves another drink, I'd say.

BENITO: Buono, good idea. I don't want to still be sober in time for Herr Hitler's annual rendition of Stille Nacht. All that saluting whenever the word heilige comes up… Dio Mio, it's like being back in Nuremberg.

MACDONALD: I'll drink to that! Cheers! And may God bless us, every one!

Cut to end titles.


Enlisting spirits in his scheme,
Benito thought he'd found a winner.
We hope the visions that you've seen
Won't put you off your Christmas dinner.

Il Duce, Il Duce,
He really loves his sport.
Il Duce, Il Duce,
He's quite a horrid sort!

MacDonald, MacDonald,
He'll play for any side.
MacDonald, MacDonald,

The spirit of Yuletide!
 
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Wraith11B

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I kinda want to see the original version now to have the baseline of what's going on here!
 

DensleyBlair

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I kinda want to see the original version now to have the baseline of what's going on here!

It may not help much as I’m flying pretty far from the mark, but Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is an exemplary bit of seasonal fun and would make an excellent addition to any festivities. You can watch it here.
 
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It may not help much as I’m flying pretty far from the mark, but Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is an exemplary bit of seasonal fun and would make an excellent addition to any festivities. You can watch it here.

Amongst other things, it directly inspired/was nicked by JK and the Bros at Warner when it came time for Hagrid to bust down Harry's door and say he's a wizard. Exact same scene, exact same actor, in begining of Blackadder.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Amongst other things, it directly inspired/was nicked by JK and the Bros at Warner when it came time for Hagrid to bust down Harry's door and say he's a wizard. Exact same scene, exact same actor, in begining of Blackadder.

Somehow I’d never put the two together… Makes an awful lot of sense now you mention it
 
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Wraith11B

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Returning briefly to the discussion about the pickle that we find the Commonwealth in with regards to her Defence arrangements, an article popped up on one of the defense blogs I follow, which succinctly captures what I imagine the issues are with what @El Pip heralds as how the CAF will defend Britain: The Shackleton.

In short, a OTL World War II strategic bomber, redesigned (slightly) to contain a radar which was ancient as well, which could barely see and which never had the numbers to be a real dedicated AWACs. I can only imagine that the "Pointy Nose Mafia" (ie, the fighter jocks) of the CAF pushing for more and more money for their airframes and thus woefully underrating their own support which would help them win.... because "Budget Cuts."
 

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Returning briefly to the discussion about the pickle that we find the Commonwealth in with regards to her Defence arrangements, an article popped up on one of the defense blogs I follow, which succinctly captures what I imagine the issues are with what @El Pip heralds as how the CAF will defend Britain: The Shackleton.

In short, a OTL World War II strategic bomber, redesigned (slightly) to contain a radar which was ancient as well, which could barely see and which never had the numbers to be a real dedicated AWACs. I can only imagine that the "Pointy Nose Mafia" (ie, the fighter jocks) of the CAF pushing for more and more money for their airframes and thus woefully underrating their own support which would help them win.... because "Budget Cuts."

Thank you for this illuminating article. My own reaction was of course something along the lines of "what a fun looking plane", soon met by confusion over how exactly an aircraft could resemble a Rube Goldberg machine.

It might be worth pointing out the fact that, now Mosley's out the picture, defence policy is likely almost singlehandedly decided by the Defence Secretary, who is the irl Labour moderate Kenneth Younger. So actually quite a technocratic pair of hands, if not strictly a military man. Interestingly. coming up within the ranks of the Left opposition we also have Ernest Millington, an actual fighter pilot who (again irl) won the DFC. (I think, on the basis of the Guardian article linked above, that he was not only a distinguished pilot but also a squadron leader in bomber command. So even in the case that the fighters remain entrenched for now, there is at least scope for change around the corner.)

--

I hope everyone celebrating this week had a good Christmas in the circumstances. Moving into the New Year, regular programming will resume here. (Thank you to those game enough to love react to Redadder. I hope it was able to bring a small slice of festive silliness and absurdity into the period.) First up is of course the resolution of the ongoing world crisis, which will continue once @99KingHigh is back in action and able to give us the Cuban situation. After that we have a tour through the world tying up some diplomatic loose ends before the situation explodes on the home front. Will Nye Bevan survive the Sixties? Find out soon on… Echoes of a New Tomorrow!

Having had a bit of time away from the upcoming updates through the laptop debacle, there are a few things I'm going to change plot-wise. This shouldn't delay things at all, but I hope it will result in a more interesting alt-universe. (The alt-Beatles are going to be revised again, so you'll see I'm hardly dealing with life or death stuff.) By the New Year, I may even be able to begin writing work on Volume 2, but we'll see. Tying up this one might take a little more work yet.

Anyway, this is just to check in. More soon.
 
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It has not been the best of Christmases in Pip Mansions for obvious reasons, so the Red Adder update was just the tonic I needed. A wonderful reminder that, no matter how bad things seem, at least I don't live in the unmitigated hellhole that is the Commonwealth. So thank you for that.
DYAEiOu.gif
 
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It has not been the best of Christmases in Pip Mansions for obvious reasons, so the Red Adder update was just the tonic I needed. A wonderful reminder that, no matter how bad things seem, at least I don't live in the unmitigated hellhole that is the Commonwealth. So thank you for that.
DYAEiOu.gif

The Butterfly Manor was alright, considering. Then again, we are much more used to locking down during winter flu seasons anyway, and the only things under the age of ten in the place are some well-behaved guide dogs.

Then again...again, taking a break from our employments is nothing but good, considering one of us runs a school, one of us heads the Irish and UK branch of a multinational, my brother and I are about to be examined on public and eu law despite continual breakage of both in the news, and my partner is on the most at risk list.

I suppose it could be worse and one of us could be a fisherman...
 

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It has not been the best of Christmases in Pip Mansions for obvious reasons, so the Red Adder update was just the tonic I needed. A wonderful reminder that, no matter how bad things seem, at least I don't live in the unmitigated hellhole that is the Commonwealth. So thank you for that.
DYAEiOu.gif

Very welcome indeed. I'm glad Messers Cook and Moore were able to impart the comforting knowledge that it always could be worse. :)

The Butterfly Manor was alright, considering. Then again, we are much more used to locking down during winter flu seasons anyway, and the only things under the age of ten in the place are some well-behaved guide dogs.

The DB rural commune, being in the middle of nowhere, has been more or less a hermitage since September, so the various changes in lockdown regulations sort of ebb and flow around us. In this respect the festive season was sort of same old same old, but the downside of this was, well… Christmas was more of the same old same old. Peculiar time and not one I'd be in a hurry to repeat, but we all have our health so it could have been much worse. And my brother was just about able to get home, so that was nice, even if the initial covid scare had us all sort of dancing around each other at first.

Then again...again, taking a break from our employments is nothing but good, considering one of us runs a school, one of us heads the Irish and UK branch of a multinational, my brother and I are about to be examined on public and eu law despite continual breakage of both in the news, and my partner is on the most at risk list.

There is something blackly comic in a Brezhnev-era-Soviet sort of way about the idea that being examined on EU law is in any way a good thing to make people do at the moment. I'll look forward to your take on the Eurosyn in Vol 2 when people inevitably start spatting over what it should do and what Britain's relationship with its organs should be.

I suppose it could be worse and one of us could be a fisherman...

As they say, worse things do indeed happen at sea.
 

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The House of Wraith got through okay. The parents and siblings visited from the beach (we've been around each other a lot), bringing my presents and food in the form of carnitas and leftover Beef Wellington. Overall, I'm a bit burnt out, one more shift tonight and I'm off for a few days.
 

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There is something blackly comic in a Brezhnev-era-Soviet sort of way about the idea that being examined on EU law is in any way a good thing to make people do at the moment. I'll look forward to your take on the Eurosyn in Vol 2 when people inevitably start spatting over what it should do and what Britain's relationship with its organs should be.

Standard practice, as I discussed with Le Jones on their aar Royal Prerogative, is to just ignore everything at the moment and examine us purely on uk-eu law as of 31st December 2020 and prior.

What the ever flying fuck they're going to do in the next academic year (so September 2021) is anyone's guess.
 
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