Monday 13 October 2008

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Pre-emptive Funeral

© John Sawyer – February 2008/October 2008 

What Churchill had called "Operation Hopenot" went into action. The Queen directed that he should lie in State in Westminster Hall and that the state funeral service be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The state funeral was the first accorded a commoner since the Duke of Wellington. Over 320,000 people passed by the catafalque at Westminster.

The Funeral of Sir Winston S. Churchill by John G. Plumpton

Janette has persuaded me to take a leaf out of my namesake, Winston Churchill’s book and plan my own funeral. “I know that the people of Australia have a great affection for their past leaders. I know that they have a particular fondness for you and will want to celebrate your legacy.”

The main problem with organising a funeral service is that I won’t actually be around to hear what people have to say in their eulogies. It’s also of some concern that Her Royal Highness is getting on and that she might not actually be present as chief mourner. I know Charlie would come but I’m not sure that he can be trusted not to criticise the 20th Century architecture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or to promote some of his loony tree-hugging ideas.

Perhaps I can have a pre-emptive or living funeral service. It would have all the elements of a funeral, solemn, deferential and dignified but I would still be alive to enjoy it. It would be just like a Liberal Party Fundraiser “Roast” with me as guest of honour. Of course we would have to adjust things a bit. As Janette said: “No John! While the vision of Alexander prancing around the rostrum in a tutu, high-heels and fishnet stockings is something that party members have got used to and actually expect, I suspect it’s not something the average citizen is ready for just yet.”

I would like to lie in state for a couple of days while we await the arrival of the overseas mourners, but I fear a coffin would be a little uncomfortable and frankly more boring than listening to my former deputy reading the monthly treasury statistics. Perhaps I could persuade Kevin 07 to lend me Kirribilli House for a couple of days and the good people of Sydney could slowly walk past me while I sit on a lounge chair on the front lawn overlooking the harbour. It would surely be a magnificent and fitting tribute and signify my ongoing attachment to my battlers. Ricky and the boys might come along and do some batting practice on the lawn next to me.

As well as Her Majesty, George and Tony, I would expect that most democracies would send their Prime Minister or Head of State to say thank you. My replacement would obviously be there as well as those other four former Prime Ministers that are dragged out whenever Kevin 07 wants to distract attention from his own very ordinary performance.

The speaker list is a bit of a problem. Obviously Her Majesty can be relied upon to speak on behalf of the Commonwealth, but even when tightly scripted, George can get confused. I wonder what people would think if we could get the PR bloke from the Washington Speakers Bureau to read out the Biography he wrote about me for their WEB site. [] Very good it is. I memorised it. John Howard's leadership, determination and vision are hallmarks of a career navigated during an era of unprecedented prosperity and change... Very perceptive he is. I wonder if there’ll be many new engagements since those irresponsible lefties who stole my election stuffed up the global economy.

Tony can obviously make a point well and keep the audience awake but if Kevin 07 also speaks, I fear that the whole thing could degrade into some sort of fundamentalist Christian revival meeting. I don’t think the world’s ready for George jumping up, waving his arms in time with those other 2 at the pulpit err... rostrum and yelling “Yes! I can hear the Voices again. Hallelujah Brother.”

“Well John, I suppose you’ll have to have someone from the Party speak. I’m disappointed with Malcolm… No not that squatter twit who can’t keep his trousers on. He’s been no friend of yours or the Party.

“No I mean the merchant banker chappie. I did have high hopes for him, a poor battler who actually lived in a rented apartment for a while and then dragged himself up by his bootstraps. But you know John; he was pretty quick to align himself with the Black Armband brigade after you ahem … left. He even wanted a full unconditional apology for the so-called stolen generation. It’s almost as if he chose to ignore the facts that Keith Windschuttle put about in ‘The Fabrication of Aboriginal History’

I wonder if Andrew Bolt might be available, he seems to be able to press on with his points even when everything seems to be going against him.

“That young ‘Half’ Nelson fellow might be the best option. He’s certainly proved that he can prevaricate his way through things by making half an apology and then insulting all and sundry for allowing themselves to become separated from their families. Why John, at one stage on Wednesday I actually thought you were back in your rightful place in the House – the wrong side of the chamber of course.”

Janette persists with her silly wrestling joke. ‘7% Nelson’ might be more accurate, huh huh huh.

I suppose we need some of those religious types. Christian probably, but some of their younger ministers really do have some very leftist ideas from time to time. The Mufti might be good. At least you know where you are with him and he's been very loyal to me. I could always rely on him to say something and drive a wedge just when I needed it. George, err the Cardinal bloke might be OK. He reckons that God's banned global warming ... or something.  But he just seems too close to that shifty Abbott bloke. A bit monkish for my liking, huh huh huh. I’ve never really trusted him since he tried to shaft me during APEC.

“I don’t know what was worse, John. Those so called ABC comedians spoiling the entrance parade, or that Abbott fellow leaning over you and earnestly telling you that you should resign and pass the reigns to that…that… twit with the Cheshire-cat grin and calculator from Melb… Melb… Melbourne. Just when you and I were at the centre, the very centre of the World stage. With the squatters hats and coats and all. It was just not cricket John, not cricket.”

No we don’t need anyone to give a blessing, it's not as if I'll be dead. I wonder if I need to be some sort of moderator. I’ll sit there to one side of the rostrum during the eulogies; taking notes. Then at the end I’ll just sum up, correct any inconsistencies and put a positive spin on proceedings.

Yes, I’ll ring up Kevin 07 now and organise the laying in. Yes that was a good idea Janette, I can always rely on your advice luvy. Orrh come here; huh huh huh.


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