The next publication was scheduled for 4th or 5th of July. However the discovery of the documents below at this time of crisis in the world economy (a.k.a. the house of cards or, more formally, the house of promissory notes) justifies the issuing of a special edition. It is proposed to put out the next issue in early July as scheduled.
It is well known that when states encounter unmanageable internal problems there is a high risk that they will seek to escape from their difficulties by means of foreign adventures. That fact appears relevant here. The Editor left last Sunday for, he said, a week’s scuba-diving holiday in Angel City but rang last night in a state of great anxiety and told Isabelita to find a brown paper envelope in his office labelled ‘Kana Ria, wir fahren gegen’ and to make sure it was shredded with its contents. She found it without difficulty tucked inside an old copy of Penthouse, and did indeed shred it, but only after she had taken copies of the two documents inside, both of which were themselves photocopies. She then called us together (except of course for Simon) to discuss next action, given that they appeared to be documents which should rightly be put in the public domain. The result is this posting.
Kana Ria is an archipelago between the Cook and the Solomon Islands nominally controlled by Britain but lacking any significant resources and so running in practice as an autonomous republic. Despite its tiny land area it is one of the more populous territories in Oceania; in particular its lax approach to residence controls and the ‘entertainment’ facilities originally established during the Vietnam war (and still flourishing) have attracted many male settlers of a certain age from western countries in recent years. We have no idea who the correspondents are or what our Editor might have hoped to do with the documents. The first was typewritten, the second in an untidy hand, and with many spelling errors (corrected in the process of typing it out).
(I) My friend Helmut has consulted me about a message he received from you. Despite my best efforts he did not grasp what you meant completely (he’s German, you know, but quite a helpful and pliable fellow normally) so I have taken it on myself to respond on his behalf.
The principal point is that it is very likely that the EU will respond favourably to your proposal for them to purchase Kana Ria. They are, as you will know, eager to expand their lebensraum, as is evident from their remarkable campaign to incorporate Turkey, a country of altogether different customs, muzak, and cuisine, with disturbing demographic habits and which stretches further to the east outside Europe, than Timbuktu does to the south. (In fact the Commission has plans afoot with regard to the latter also, but these are not yet ready to be exposed to the light of public knowledge.) Your client cannot, however, count on generous terms. Quite apart from the current unhelpful economic climate, brought about largely by American incompetence, they are more cautious now before undertaking significant expenditure, not least because of their experience with Ireland. As you will be aware, they had poured vast sums into that country in a bid to stop it drifting politically to the west, and how were they repaid? A bungling government allowed a popular referendum on the new constitution, designed to cement executive power for the next stage of central control, whereupon the electorate emerged damp from the bog and turned the constitution down (which decision was of course nullified, but only by a series of tiresome and somewhat embarrassing manoeuvres). The Commission has had its accounting staff run a thorough investigation of the probable costs and likely revenues from the purchase, and briefly the result is that they would make an offer of € 0.00. They would like to point out, however, that there is every chance the mayor will become an ex-officio member of the European parliament, and while his earlier enquiries about an annual salary, with expenses, amounting to approximately €1,400,000, were overoptimistic, the rewards will still be substantial, and he would be allowed to nominate up to three of his colleagues as special advisors, with remuneration amounting to about half that figure, so that there will through this channel be a substantial enhancement of the Kana Ria local economy. The Commission is also, at the present time, able to make a special offer of 300 tons of roquefort cheese, available at a considerable reduction of the normal price if a positive response is received within 30 days. There is one additional condition which should be noted: the Commission’s foreign policy is of course tightly integrated with the foreign policy requirements of Washington. It will be necessary to install a missile defence system in Kana Ria to provide protection against the possible emergence in the region of rogue states or failed states, in, for example, Timor or Australia.
Good luck with the butt reduction! Max
(II) My commiserations to your friend on his ethnicity. Please do try to explain to him that there are worse things — if only slightly worse — than being German. Being Australian, for instance, it might be argued, could be one such thing. In relation to the emolument (is that how you spell it? The rats in the library et through the dictionaries last winter), the citizens think the proposal rather attractive, though they haven’t heard about it yet, and are unlikely to on the principle they’ve got more than enough on their plate trying to steer a course through the current choppy global waters. It would be a kindness, one feels, to leave them in the state of relatively blissful ignorance which is their current lot, and to which they at most times and under most conditions aspire. I have, however, had a word with some of the lads at the Old Spot, down the street and around the corner (do you know it?) ,and they are quite willing to speak on everyone else’s behalf, including the mayor’s, especially since that gentleman has not been seen now for several months, a disappearance which seems to have coincided with the closing of the current account under the council’s control earmarked for the maintenance of goods and services. These are practical-minded people, not without ability in the arts of persuasion, so I — we — can assure you that any agreement entered into with your goodself (and even, at a pinch, with your German friend), could be relied upon to deliver rock-solid dividends. They are not averse to the missile shield suggestion. Indeed, they welcome it, since none of them has ever seen a missile, and each of them would, to a man, very much like to. There has even been talk, at this early stage, in turning the missile emplacement (or emplacements) into a tourist attraction — perhaps opening up the facility several times a month to school excursions, and coach tours of ageing cold war warriors with little else to occupy their declining days but fond dreams of past glories. Indeed, the suggestion was mooted that a regular parade of missiles on the backs of vegetable trucks, along the lines of the May Day parades in Moscow, be scheduled — perhaps monthly, if that would bring in the cash; others, though, did think that holding such a parade so often might rob the occasion of novelty, and have a deleterious effect on revenues. But these are obviously details which could be settled at a later time.
The boys would like to know more about the location of Washington. Is this Washington, Serbia ,we’re talking about? That would work in quite well, since some of the most persuasive of the Old Spot people are either immigrants from that part of the world, or the sons of immigrants, and have kept their connections with certain organizations renowned for their combination of entrepeneurial skill and gifts of persuasion. As a token of goodwill, we wondered whether you would mind making out the first cheque in advance — let’s say for the first quarter of the year subsequent to an agreement being struck? Kindly send by courier to my address. No need to tell anyone else, including the lads in the Old Spot. Perhaps especially not them. We — or shall I say, I — look forward to doing business with you. It is rare in these troubled times to deal with a man of such understanding of the way wheels turn within wheels; even when they seem not to be turning at all.
May the sun shine out of yours! R.L
Late news. Constitutional experts are considering whether Mr Antony Blair should be held guilty of contempt of Parliament, having suggested that Parliament might be willing to accept him again as prime minister
criticism and objections politely welcomed, especially if ill-founded
honor honestique floreant