Tuesday, 20 January 2015
The Ghost of Christmas Future
24 December 2014, 11 pm
’Tis the night before Christmas. I am visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future. To be fair, I may also have been visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Present, but I might have missed them on account of being busy metabolising the mulled wine.
The Ghost of Christmas Future takes me on a guided tour of CIPA HQ. Instead of the pipe cleaner Christmas tree, there is a monstrosity of a fake tree, festooned with garlands and blingy things, with flashing LED lights at the ends of its branches and an electronic angel harking the herald from on high. In the kitchen, there are many, many chocolates, and a fridge full of Red Bull®. In the library, there is a mini-bar (although actually it is not quite that mini) containing fifty different varieties of gin and a manglewurzel. On the ceremonial dais, where the ceremonial sideboard once stood, there is a bank of footlights and a massive inflatable snow globe.
And I say to the Ghost of Christmas Future: How on earth did CIPA go downhill so fast? Where is the dignity? The professional good standing? The decorum?
And he shakes his head and points to the wall where the photograph of The Queen used to be. And I see there is now a large picture of me, standing next to a tractor, in my best scarecrow clothes, and it is labelled “This Year’s Ruthless Dictator”. It is framed with tinsel.
How can I prevent these atrocities? I cry. The Ghost of Christmas Future says Don’t worry; there’s no way on earth Council will let it happen. They have already ordered a new ceremonial sideboard and they are rewriting the Bye-Laws as we speak to make sure no-one becomes a ruthless dictator. Especially not you. Happy Christmas.