Oxford and its university have been called such diverse names from the city of beautiful waste to an organised waste of time. A characteristic of the city is that the harsher names have usually been invented by the university’s very own undergraduates. Not least is the humorous tradition of Oxford verbosity, the Oxford Union Society, which holds a political debate every week as a platform for the varied political clubs that exist within the university. The Union is one of the world’s most prestigious debating societies and gives its members the unique opportunity of meeting, listening to and questioning some of the world’s most famous people. During the renowned Public Business Meetings, known as speaker meetings in the debating chamber, it has attracted many of the most well known political and celebrity speakers from all walks of life. Previous guests have included many American presidents and British prime ministers, a tradition that had been planned to be continued this evening in the chamber.
The sleek black Jaguar pulled into the drive and stopped outside the entrance to the Oxford Union. The minister sitting in comfort in the back looked out through the bulletproof window and noted the heavy police presence controlling the crowd outside. He grinned on hearing the loud cheers of the supporters of his party and those supporting Brexit and ignored some shouted obscenities from a small group of Remainers, demonstrating against the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. A large black SUV screeched to a halt behind and protection officers quickly got out and surrounded the Jaguar. Satisfied that the area was secure, one officer stepped forward and opened the rear door of the limo. Out stepped a tall, handsome man in evening dress, brushed a stray lock of golden hair back from his fore head and shook the proffered hand of the young man standing in front of him.
‘Welcome to the Oxford Union, sir. I’m Marcus Tolby, the President of the Union.’
‘Good evening Marcus. It’s a pleasure to meet you.’ replied Michael Dodds, the deputy prime minister of the newly elected People First in Britain party, and right hand man of Prime Minister Carol Dowding.
‘If you would follow me.’ asked Tolby and gestured with his hand towards the grand entrance of the building.
‘The debate will be in the chamber, but first I will introduce you to the committee members waiting for us in The Old Library.’
Dodds walked towards the door and waved at the large, milling crowd behind the barriers. ‘I expect I will receive a grilling from some of your members during the debate!’ joked the deputy pm.
‘Yes sir, I think you probably will. Brexit is a highly topical subject, although we’ve had some lively debates over the years with many interesting speakers, including our first amphibian to address the Union, Kermit the Frog, in 1994. I understand the Muppet Show star wore a mortarboard and gown and explained to the chamber why he had never gone to college. Apparently, he said in his speech that when he was a tadpole, he had over four thousand brothers and sisters so his parents couldn’t afford to send him to university.’
Michael Dodds chuckled and retorted, ‘Of course, like most frogs he could always have gone into biology and majored in dissection, but he probably thought he wasn’t cut out for it.’
‘Very good, sir.’ laughed Tolby.
As they entered the Union, a corner of a curtain moved in an upstairs window of a room above them overlooking the drive. A thickset man hidden from view inside began making the final preparations for the evening ahead. At the same time in a Gentlemen’s club forty miles away in London, a telephone conversation was nearing its end.
‘I do not want the slightest mistake. Are you sure you have your best operative on it?’
’Yes, of course. Stop worrying. It all depends on whether or not Dodds decides to spill the beans.
Tolby and the deputy prime minister walked to the end of a corridor and entered the library, which many years ago had been the original debating chamber before the present one had been built in 1879. Michael Dodds looked around, admiring the Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Rossetti, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones adorning the walls of the room. Tolby introduced him to the committee who welcomed him. After a short, polite conversation over drinks, they all adjourned to the debating chamber, only a short walk through the garden. On entering the chamber, they took their seats and the Union’s president introduced the speaker to the assembled members.
Dodds stood up and went to the speaker’s position behind the lectern, waited until the murmur of voices had stopped and began his opening address.
‘Thank you very much, Mr President, for your kind introduction and let me say that it is a very great honour to be here tonight to address this chamber alone, instead of within the framework and confines of a normal political debate. An honour, I understand that puts me in the same company of celebrities as Sir Winston Churchill and Kermit the Frog!’
Laughter rippled around the chamber, accompanied by some clapping of hands.
‘Please allow me to apologise on behalf of Carol Dowding, our prime minister, who should have had the honour to address you tonight and for whom I have stepped in. As you probably already know, she is in Washington for urgent meetings with the newly elected president of the United States. The PM trusts that you will forgive her absence and the importance of her accepting the president’s invitation at short notice to discuss forging strong links once again between our two countries, considering Britain’s forthcoming withdrawal from the European Union and the rapidly changing situation in Europe involving Germany.’
A loud buzz of voices from those seated in the gallery above filled the chamber, as the American president’s election, and the meteoric rise of Carol Dowding and her PFB party, had been as surprising to many as the vote for Britain to leave the European Union.
‘Now, without further ado, let me address the motion before the House of “Why should the UK leave the European Union?“’
‘Here, here.’ came a voice from the audience.
‘I will begin by giving you the reasons our new government will negotiate a satisfactory exit and more importantly, why we should never again associate with the European Union in its present form. The ordinary, hardworking people of this country of whom many make up the ranks of our party elected us…’
Groans loudly filled the chamber and a wit in the front of the audience growled in a low voice,
‘We didn’t come here to listen to another party political broadcast!’
Dodds caught the muttered criticism and retorted. ‘I appreciate that, sir. However, with the freedom we are about to experience by casting off the shackles of this ego-riddled, fascist European Union….’
Loud jeers and heckling interrupted his speech from EU Remainers, including a sprinkling of young fascists in the audience.
‘I cannot stress more the importance of our prime minister’s prompt visit to meet US President Donald Trump. We are confident these talks will lead to renewed and stronger economic trade and security links with our American cousins.’ shouted Dodds over the protests growing louder in the chamber.
‘I think that the future we are about to step into will be the most exciting for many, many years.’
A handful of fascist students stood up in the gallery overhead, leaning over the rails and shouting abuse as one lobbed a tomato that splattered on the floor in front of the deputy pm.
Marcus Tolby, the union president quickly rose to his feet.
‘Order, I must insist on order.’ He asked in a loud voice and waited until the noise of the protesters had died away.
‘Those honourable members who abuse the forms of this House must understand that I will not tolerate them. Any members still standing will resume their seats, now!’ he insisted, glaring up at those above and waiting until they had all sat down.
‘I must remind members it is a grave and pointless discourtesy to heckle speakers, who are very busy people and visit the Union as a favour. Hence, they are entitled to the courtesy which one would normally extend to a guest in one’s own home!’
‘Here, here!’ shouted those in favour of the motion or who agreed with Tolby.
With order restored, Michael Dodds glanced at the president with a newfound respect and continued.
‘Let me put this to you. All of you in this historic chamber may think we won the Second World War, but I am sorry to have to inform you we actually lost it. The single European currency, together with the free market, was the vision of Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis. In fact, Walther Funk, the president of the Reich bank and Adolf Hitler’s economics minister during the Second World War planned the economic integration of a European Union on a federal basis.’
The silence in the Chamber was deafening as the audience focused on what Dodds was saying, and he realised he now held a captive audience and carried on forcefully.
‘The Treaty of Rome in 1957 instigated the creation of the European Economic Community. The person who signed the treaty in March of that year with Konrad Adenauer was a Professor Walter Hallstein, a member of several Nazi organisations during the war. Hallstein became the first president of EEC commission. It should come as no surprise that we are, as members of the European Union, living in the Third Reich. Yes, it exists under the name of the NNP, the National Peoples Party in Germany, and a direct descendent of Hitler’s Nazi party. It is of no happenstance that every country in the European Union is getting poorer while Germany is getting richer. The EU is nothing more than a huge German plot to take over Europe and the United Kingdom.’ shouted Dodds as uproar again erupted in the chamber.
Renewed shouts from the audience only made Dodds raise his voice,
‘Knowingly or not, those who support and defend the European Union are supporting a Nazi legacy.’
Shouts of protest from the EU remainers and the jeers from the fascist supporters competed with loud cheers from the Brexiters.
‘The only country which benefits from the EU is Germany, just as Adolf Hitler planned all those years ago.’ Michael Dodd’s words sliced through the commotion like a hot knife through butter.
‘Ridiculous! The war was over seventy years ago.’ protested someone in the audience.′
‘But they are patient and full of cunning.’ countered Dodds.
‘Hitler planned for The Third Reich to last for a thousand years. What is seventy odd years to such people? The European Union is nothing more than a German conspiracy to take over the whole of Europe. Unless we take drastic action to prevent this happening, we will lose our sovereignty. Let me give you a comparison. It would be as bad as if we had thrown in the towel to Hitler and his Nazi fascists in 1940. Hitler failed to invade Britain then. We must act now to prevent the same fascist bullies taking over our country by stealth.’ He paused and looked around the chamber,
‘It must never, never happen!’ Dodds thundered, banging his fist for effect on the lectern in front of him and looking around at the audience.
‘Do you seriously expect us to believe that the EU is nothing more than a fascist state controlling our governments?’ someone spat from the audience.
‘I do. Look at what happened in Barcelona recently when the fascist Spanish Stormtroopers broke up the peaceful demonstration of people who wanted to vote for an independent Catalonia. That is how the EU does democracy. Fascism is rising in Portugal, Spain and Italy and we intend to stop those individuals responsible for it here.’
‘Rubbish!’ shouted someone from the gallery.
Dodds looked up. ‘Here in the United Kingdom, we have an evil society in our midst that has spread a camouflaged net over their activities by operating under deep cover. Anonymity and secrecy is paramount to their operations, as is deception and ruthlessness, not to mention spying and the most sordid blackmail. The United Kingdom should always be a free culture, as is showed by this very chamber, which is one of the few bastions still advocating free speech. We are determined to remove this cancerous growth from our society, which has always been historically opposed to secret societies and proceedings.’
The heavyset man eyeing Dodds through a gap in the door of a small anteroom of the main chamber realised he had gone far enough.
‘Prove it.’ shouted a member who had risen from his seat in the audience’s front.
‘I will!’ replied Dodds, looking down at him from the lectern. ‘This odious society supports the German takeover of the EU and our own country.’
Loud shouts and boos started up again from the gallery, reaching a crescendo in an effort to drown out Dodds, who raised his voice, angrier now at the continual interruptions.
‘This government will destroy these fascists…whose aim…’
As louder shouts interrupted him, he continued.
‘We have damning evidence to prove our accusations. This evil, abhorrent society called The Link ….and run by a despicable individual, Lord . . .’
The audience saw Michael Dodds gasp and lurch to one side with a hand outstretched. The union president heard him utter the words, ‘Just one moment,’ as his other hand grabbed for the lectern, missed, and he fell to the floor flat on his face. A doctor in the audience pronounced him dead shortly afterwards.