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Parish Council Meeting







An anonymous correspondent has sent me an account of the latest parish council meeting of the quaint Wiltshire village of Courtney Pine, where he or she lives. It is a quaint village on two counts, partly because it still has a flourishing shop and partly because it is the only village in Britain with a member of the Taliban serving as a parish councillor. This leads to spirited debates on village policy, as we can sense from the meeting of October 18 last, with Mr Beeton in the chair.

Chair: We move on to the visit of the mobile library, which as you know is scheduled once a month for the forecourt of the Old Garage. . . .

Mrs Wylton: Why does everything have to be Old in this village? Why do people live in the Old School House? The Old Post Office? The Old Brewery? Why can’t they live in new things?

Mr Sylvester: They do, Mrs Wylton, they do. They live in the new bungalow and the new houses by the river, and you object to them as well. You object to everything that is new and everything that is Old.

Mrs Wylton: Not entirely. I see that there is now a house in the village called The Old Second Home. I approve of that.

Chair: Thank you, Mrs Wylton . . . But the monthly visit of the mobile library will be cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Miss Dimple: Why?

Chair: Because it was blown up.

Miss Dimple: Blown up? What do you mean, blown up?

Chair: On its last visit to our neighbouring village, Lower Ensign, the mobile library was blown up by an explosive device and destroyed.

Miss Dimple: Good Lord.

Chair: I wonder if Mr Ayoub Khan knows anything about this . . . ? Coming as he does from Afghanistan, and being a member of The Taliban . .

Khan: Of course.

Chair: Of course?

Khan: Had you ever been inside the mobile library?

Chair: Well, much though I intended to avail myself of its services . .

Khan: . . . you had been nowhere near it. It is typical of the British. You take everything for granted. Well, let me tell you, I have been in that library, and it contained many, many evil works.

Chair: Evil?

Khan: A Life of Saint Theresa. A work on Buddhism. A guide to mysticism. The AA Guide to British Hotels. Many novels . . .

Mr Sylvester: And which of these novels were evil, as a matter of interest, Mr Khan?

Khan: All of them. All novels are evil. They are lies. They tell stories which are not true. About people who never existed. They fill our young people’s minds with filth. Especially “1984”.

Sylvester: Why especially “1984”?

Khan: Because the year 1984 came to pass, and it was not like that at all. Mr Orwell was a false prophet. We must burn his book.

Sylvester: And the AA Guide to British Hotels?

Khan: The same. It gives lists of many places where men and women can be together overnight in the same room, even if not married. Yet goats and sheep are not allowed . . .

Sylvester: It is just a hotel guide, Mr Khan.

Khan: It is filth! It must be destroyed! . . . Well, now it has been destroyed.

Chair: For which you admit responsibility?

Khan: I admit nothing. I say only that the armies of righteousness will strike in the night, wherever they are needed.

Chair: I see. . . . Do you have any idea where the armies of righteousness will strike next?

Khan: I have no idea. I suspect it might be the Cricket Field.

Chair: Why the Cricket Field?
Khan: Because of the continued refusal to let it be replanted.

Chair: Oh, yes, you’re right - that is the next item on the agenda, a proposal to have the Cricket Field dug up and replanted with poppies . . .

More from Courtney Pine in due course, I hope.

The Independant Nov 14 2007