ALL our competitors recognised the Prime Minister and the occasion, which was a good start.
Some took the opportunity to get a bit political: “So, after cutting refugee children’s centres, NHS bursaries, and ignoring climate change — onwards with building a better Britain!” (David Sims); “After supper, St Theresa and her disciples had to make do with a mug of tea or glass of water owing to the nationwide shortage of wine caused by Brexit” (Mervyn Cox); “In the carefully staged post-Brexit Conservative photo op, the minority-ethnicity woman was at the far end of the table, out of focus” (John Swanson); and “A table, rather more than twelve, no bread, no wine, no hope, no joke” (David Hill).
And then there were those who got personal: “Never mind Article 50. Articles 1 and 2 are a brush and comb for Boris” (Margaret Wallis); “As this is our first meeting, perhaps each of you would like to tell us something about yourselves and what you hope to gain from being here today. Boris, why don’t you begin?” (A. Brignall); “I made Boris Foreign Secretary to keep him out of the country as often as possible” (Tom Page); “Yes, I know, but he’ll make the rest of us look good!” (John Saxbee); and “Jeremy was looking uncharacteristically unsmiling” (Bridget Swan).
Great minds thought alike: “Here we come gathering, nuts and May” (Michael Doe) and “Here we go gathering nuts round May” (Eric Lishman). The latter also offered “And I want you all to deport anyone who writes an unsuitable caption about me in the Church Times” and “You know, I’m sure I appointed more women than this.” And to absent friends: “And when George Osborne is off the naughty step, nobody refers to what he called Philip Hammond again” (Vicky Lundberg).
Given Mrs May’s vicarage upbringing, there were parochial resonances to be detected: “As my father used to say. . . but how long have I got?” (Marion Simpson); “Co-opting the trouble-makers to the PCC usually works in the C of E” (Richard Barnes); and, for the Prayer Book types, “We have done those things we ought not to have done” (Keith Adlam).
We also liked: “A chair had also been set for Larry the cat” and “The PM was quite surprised at some of the appointments she appeared to have made” (Richard Hough); “. . . and my right hand needs to know exactly what my left hand is doing” (John Appleby); “Hands on buzzers; the first question in Cabinet Family Fortunes is; ‘In a recent survey of over 46 million people. . .” (Chris Coupe); “Have I got it, then? Two Chicken Madras, three Lamb Buna, Prawn Saag, poppadums , Pilau rice and Naan. Philip will collect the money” (Stephen Disley).
Also: “Having spent good money on the craftsman-made pencil rests, the Cabinet decided to save money on the labels” and “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a perfectly normal family” (Bridget Swan); and some quickfire ones: “. . . and you’ll find that Theresa may do things her own way” (Michael Foster); “Display Cabinet” (Peter Walker): and “‘May’ the Force be with you!” (Sandra Tracey).
A close runner-up was “As an ice-breaker we’ll have a game of scissors-paper-stone” (Ray Morris); but we have two winners to receive Fairtrade chocolate from Divine (www.divinechocolate.com).