Thursday, 31 January 2008

The heat is off

I host meeting of Liberali Euro Enforcers in Little Sicily tonight. It not warm but I want to show off new garden grill, so we hosting outside on terrazzino, using patio heaters to keep out the chill. To help out, my friend Capo 'Supertram' Mulholland, serving the drinks. It task we occasionally give to junior Capos as it important they learn to show respect before being allowed to rise up the ranks in the Inner Circle.

Guests arrive one by one. There's Signora Lynne of the Rochdale Cyrils, the Baroness, 'Glasgow Slasher' Attwooll, Badboy Billy, Signora 'Cheery' Bowles, the other Baroness, 'Mumbles' Duff, 'Wildchild' Wallis, 'Junky' Davies, and 'Euronut' Watson who currently leader of group.

This group of hardened killers responsible for massacre of many of our opponents. Although no danger to me, I still feel shiver of terror down spine in presence of so much murderous talent. For instance, last man to cross Junky Davies end up fleeing to Conservatoris for protection after a ruthless massacre of his caporegime across the North West territories. I careful to greet each with care and attitude of humble respect, as they gather in garden.

"Alwight a*******s, any you old t*****s want a drink" say Supertram.

The Baroness not look amused

"A vino would be delightful" she say

"F****** choice" he say pouring a small glass "Get your gnashers round that grandma, and flop your a*** on a cushion."


Euronut is looking at me in way he usually reserve for Signor 'Little Sicilian' Hannan of the Conservatori enforcers. Enforcers take a very dim view of bad language. Very traditional world they live in.

"Shall I load the c****** steaks on the barbie Don?" yell Supertram

"Er thank-you yes" I say as Enforcers, ignoring further offers of beverages, get down to business of discussing Reform covenant between the Euro families.

Not something I understand much about, but Don Clegg careful to explain to us all last week that it covenant not contract, although all the words the same, and this why best to let Enforcers get on with it rather than troubling wider Family. I no understand why this important either, but Don Clegg very clever man, so assume it for best.

Suddenly there knock at door and I remember we misssing 'Nanny' Hall, perhaps the most dangerous Enforcer of all. Only woman alive who can silence Don Clegg and Signor Huhne with a single look.

"Give it a f****** push, it's open" shout Supertram

An icy blast blow through house as Nanny make her way to garden.

"Hello Fiona" say Euronut "do take a seat, we were just discussing the key matter of the qualified subsidiarity proportionality test to the allocation of turf-rights in the distribution of cross-border sub-prime transaction swindles, and Signor Liberali was flipping burgers."

"I will not seat myself in proximity to the devil heaters" she say

"Um... what?" say Euronut

Nanny lift accusing finger towards patio heaters. "The devil heaters" she wail "the symbol of Hades that burns the vapours of the emtombed trees of ages past, polluting our skies with prehistoric carbon. It must not burn!... It must not burn!..."

"Burger?" I say

"Aieeeeieieieiei" she scream "animal charred on the griddle of Satan, take me away from this place of evil."

"c*******-hellfire" contribute Supertram

"Perhaps it would be prudent to turn off the garden equipment?" suggest Euronut

This I do and Nanny appear to calm down.

"I will chew an organic carrot while I compose myself" she say.

So we return to meeting. Everyone soon wretched with cold, and less than satisfied by salad with ice-crystals forming on tomatoes.

But no-one appear to have heart to move inside after I indicate might have 100W halogen light-bulbs in every room and 1970s chest freezer in kitchen likely to set Nanny off again.

Still least Supertram go quiet, so maybe some benefit to this simpler-way after all.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Signor Paddick win over taxi thugs

I increasingly impressed with Signor Paddick's plans to assassinate and replace the Magisterium. Turn out today he win over support of Licensed Taxi Drivers mob, one of London's most vicious and privileged cartels.

The LTD first established their control over London's drive and hire racket when their predecessor the Coachmob received licence to beat up their rivals in the hired sedan chair trade in 1639. They doing the same today with their assault on the rickshaw trade, and unlicensed private-hire cars who LTD claim are all rapists or foreigners or both.

They just about tolerate the licenced private-hire car gangs (just foreign, probably not rapists), but ensure that they not allowed to pick up people from street since due to being bit foreign they don't have 'The Knowledge', an obscure qualification that mean you know slightly less about London streets than average TomTom.

Brian wisely assess that several thousand angry men who don't like foreigners, memorise AtoZ for fun, and have roomy boots, more important to his mission than bunch of students on unfashionable third-world bicycles - you ever seen rickshaw involved in drive-by hit?

Signor Livingstone going to be very nervous man crossing road.

Conservatori Family Values

Although I life-long Liberali I do try keep up good relations with other Families where possible. Only this weekend for example I down in Eastbourne visiting old friend Signor Waterstone the Conservatori buttonman for retiring the elderly.

Signor Waterstone is traditional Conservatori who believe in Family values. He bewailing to me state of cugine.

"It's ghastly Liberali, I don't know what to make of young people today."

"What you mean Nigel?" I say

"Well look at the teenagers running around at the moment, no discipline at all. Sure they steal, they rob, they mug, didn't we all, but there's no elegance to it. They have no respect for the old ways."

"Sure Nigel, but what can we do about it, different world these days."

"It's about example Liberali." he say rising angrily from his leatherbound club chair "Samantha! Crispin! downstairs now!"

Two rather dishellved young people enter the room. I rather concerned to see Crispin has a black-eye.

"These are my children Liberali. When they misbehave or break the Family's rules I subject them to reasonable chastisement."

I detecting look in Samatha's eyes that suggest some debate about how 'resaonable'. Crispin appear to wince when Nigel walk past him swinging his arms in his military way.

"Now some parents might believe that a stern word is sufficient. Perhaps they believe in the naughty step... or the hoodie recruiting step as we call it in this household... Not I sir... oh no... we do not spare the rod in this house... nor the baseball bat... nor quite often a set of bicycle chains... or spell in the Family dungeon learning the error of our ways next to the rotting corpses of those that cross Don Cameron."

I beginning to think my friend Nigel not all there up top as he get increasingly wild-eyed and starey. Samatha is anxiously looking towards front door.

"And what is the result Sir... you may well ask... fine upstanding decent children... young people who uphold our ways... no wide-boy gang members here... no Sir... no granny-bashing young thugs... oh no... happy-slapping you say... they'd rather spend a night at the opera with their grandparents... these are young adults who respect the Family"

"Actually Dad," say Crispin "We've just reported you to the Untouchables for sadistic abuse. They should be here imminently with the team from the child witness protection service."

I quietly make way toward back door and leg it over fence, leaving Signor Waterstone opening and shutting mouth like guppy. Suspect next time I see him might be visiting hours. Hope he get better soon.

Back in Westminster find time to drop into office of other Conservatori pal Derek "conman" Conway.

"Ghastly man that Waterstone." say Derek "You can't treat children that way and expect them to grow up respecting the Family. Me I treat my children with love and kindness. Isn't that right Freddie?"

"Fuck off dad I'm revising."

"Ha ha, what a wit my boy can be. Seriously Freddie it would be awfully sweet if you'd get your daddy and guest some tea and biscuits. You are technically working for me today."

There is sound of grumbling next door as kettle plugged in. A surly teenager eventually come in and put two mugs of hot water in front of us with selection of used teabags and broken biscuits.

"Er I think I not thirsty" I say

Freddie scowl and hold out hand.

I look blankly at him.

He scowl at Derek

Derek shift around uncomfortably

"Um thank-you Freddie you may go now"

Freddie looks like he's holding his breath

"Daddy and his guest don't want a display Freddiekins"

Freddie is turning blue

"Oh for goodness sake" say Derek reaching into pocket and thrusting a tenner at him. On taking the money, Freddie skulk off to resume studies next door. That is if studies involve on-line poker and large supply of Pringles.

Derek look very miserable, so to help out I later report Freddie's behaviour to Family monitoring team in Westminster to ensure he get proper training in how to help his dad. It good to do favours for friends, even Conservatori.

Sure none wiser though on what they think of as Family values. Much better in Liberali Family, or so Mrs. Liberali tell me as I cook her evening meal, wash up, and put bambinos to bed.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Signor Paddick lay down law

Signor Davey accompany me to have serious chat with Signor Paddick today.

"Signor Paddick, when we chose you to assassinate the Magisterium we did, if you recall explain to you some of the facts of the Family business."

Signor Paddick nod vigorously. "Is there a problem gentleman, nice suit by the way Ed, grey is definitely you."

"Problem... problem... well there is the small matter of your announcement today that you'd like to cut crime."

"Mmmm... yes?" I detect something of glassy-look in eyes. It look Signora Liberali tell me I have often when concentrating really hard on what she saying.

"Cutting crime Paddick, Family business... Family business, cutting crime... are you seeing the problem here?"

"Mmmm... I'm going to have to say no there Edward... would you like a Lambeth macaroon incidentally, they've got a smashing jammy bit in the middle..."

Signor Davey give strangled cry has hands start doing that clenching/unclenching thing I only see him do after talking to old Don Campbell. As he seem to be losing power to speak, I decide to be helpful

"You see, Brian, thing about Family business is, it mostly not very legal. Surprised you not know that, being an enforcer for 30 years. Although that does kind of explain why Lambeth Liberali faction have major boom time in puffy-puff trade when you running the show there."

"Oh isn't your memory just adorable" he say, connecting his knee with my midriff in surprisingly fast move, that leave me deciding to keel over sideways for little rest on carpet.

"Gentleman, the last two times you sent someone to dispatch the Magisterium, you did your usual bleeding-heart criminal thing. 'Oooh hark at us we're tough guys too'... 'come and have a go if you think you're butch enough Kenneth'... 'what about some compassion for the Family business'... it didn't work so well did it?"

I burble in agreement. Signor Davey is looking confused, or angry, or both.

"And did you see what happened there just now. Signor Liberali, thought he might get a little too close to me and disrespect me. Didn't you Signor" he stay demurely as he kick me in kidneys.

I choke an affirmative.

"That is also a mistake I intend to let Signor Livingstone make... You may not like my methods, they may even cause you pain sometimes," it seems my hand get in way of his foot as he pace around, and I can only concur... "but I'm here to do a job. And if making the Family uncomfortable helps me do it, that is what I'm going to do."

"So Signor Davey did you have any more questions or would you like to kindly fuck off so I can get on with organising this embarrassing amateur shambles you call a caporegime."

I really not sure I see Signor Davey turn that colour before, but he help me to my feet and we find urgent need to be elsewhere.

"I think I rather like him" I say "He remind me of Don Ashdown."

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Racket reform

Don Clegg been speaking this weekend about vision for Family.

"Paesano we must be bolder, clearer, and stronger, than ever before"

"Our ambition must be to break apart forever the two-Family system that has eroded the United Territories for too long."

"So I’m starting today by setting out some ideas on our rackets."

"We should never advocate change for the sake of it. But neither should we just be defenders of the status quo, and under my leadership we will not be."

"We are the only radical force amongst the Families. We must be the champions of new ideas: new ideas that will make our rackets better - more Liberali."

"As 2008 begins, we stand at a crossroads. Don Brown’s regime, barely six months old, already feels tired. More 10 year plans. More knee-jerk violence."

"Don Blair’s agenda for rackets was deeply flawed - timid in parts, unnecessarily violent in others. But under Brown - there is no agenda at all. He's quietly burying many of his predecessor's allies without spelling out who comes next."

"Hollywood Don Cameron hopes to persuade us that his Family is changing. But among it seems to me their instincts haven’t changed a bit. They claim to care about the weak and their ability to pay - but their only commitment so far is a cut in intimidation for their rich friends. They still want to make moral judgements about whether people should get married outside the Catholic faith or not. They’re still devoted to exclusive Family training. They're still focused on mercy for the lucky few - not wetting all our beaks."

"So much for Family mobility with the Conservatori."

"So there’s a gap in our business for a strong, protective, Liberali voice. We must fill it. And make the agenda of reforming the rackets, our agenda."

"But that means we need to challenge ourselves as much as we challenge others. We have long advocated more protection and more local control. With good reason too - ten years ago we were right to identify the crisis of insecure communities. We are right to condemn the pattern of over-centralisation of control."

"But times change. The last ten years has shown that raising protection isn't everything. The big questions now are these: how do we make the United Territories our thing, cosa nostra, without raising the overall burden of community insurance?"

"We need to stop just asking "how much", and to start thinking hard about "how". Marrying our proud traditions of 'right-on' and 'left-behind' Liberali, refusing to accept that one comes at the cost of the other. On that point, if not all others, the controversial Orange Edict was surely right."

'Too right' yell someone from audience who need to be taken away for quiet chat with Signor Laws and several leather-bound tomes of the Orange Edict tied to a large stick.

"This also means embracing a wider understanding of who runs things: not just for Capitani and Capo, but for cugine, the wounded, and our elders too. Power must be an everyday thing, not just reserved for the moment we need to have someone removed for non-payment."

"No-one in this room believes it’s acceptable that your ability to afford our protection is more determined by your parents’ income than anywhere else in the world. That means a child born in the poorest slums in Sheffield will be more likely to be hit for non-payment a full fourteen years earlier than a child born in the mansions near where I live a few miles away."

"The Labouristi believe that they must control everything. Liberali believe people must control themselves. As Signor Stuart Mill warned in 1859: A Family which treats their men of honour like children, even for beneficial purposes, will find that children are pretty lousy at taking care of business. They too short for a start, cry a lot, and can't use guns.' "

"Don Brown may have rejected direct control of all business. But he still believes he must control far too much. Just earlier this week, he was designing a initiative to "deep purge" every institution in the country. What next? Is he going to have a policy to personally put the "lights out" of every person that cross the Labouristi?"

"By contrast, I stand for these simple principles: The Family must intervene to allocate protection. The Family must intervene to guarantee access to our protection. And the Family must oversee the quality of that protection."

"But once those building blocks are in place, the Family must back off and allow the genius of local thugs to deliver. Give real power and responsibility to people on the front line - bringing an end to the faceless bureaucracies that make protection so impersonal."

"We will draw up plans for radically shrinking the size of all Don Brown's control agencies. This does not mean replacing thousands of those targeted by Don Brown with no one at all. We need minimum standards. Our enemies will be listed in a charter, and their termination will be monitored through independent inspection."

"I don’t think we should have such low standards for our hits that nailing about 20% of marks counts as a pass to become a made-man. It’s time to call a fail, a fail."

Where local enforcers take care of business they must also insist on high standards. I know some people might want me to stop right there. But I didn’t come into the Family just to transfer power from the Capo to the Capitani. That’s a necessary first step, but it is not an end in itself. We need to empower people who act for the Family every day."

"We know Capos can get in the way. But let’s not pretend that Capitani are blameless. They too can insist on unnecessary control. One of the outstanding qualities of the best Liberali Contrada is precisely their willingness to give power away."

"So, with these principles in mind, I want us to look at establishing a new Liberali model of training camps that are non-selective, under Capitani oversight but not run by the Contrada, and free to innovate to drive up standards. They could be established by any suitable sponsor with the right credentials, and by this I mean a truly vast amount of money that they're prepared to hand over to Signor Laws with minimum fuss."

"This new generation of training camps - let us call them Free Camps - will protect those who need most support; be accessible to all; and have the freedom from to innovate in the best interests of the cugine. Sometimes this may involve shooting the weak or disloyal, but not nearly as often as under the Labouristi or Conservatori."

"We also no longer want our wounded solidati to be treated as if they should be grateful recipients of inflexible, and sometimes second rate, Family care delivered from on high. I am totally committed to a national care scheme. It must always remain free at the point of use, accessible to all. But people need to be able to take more control. I want it to become a personal care scheme. So every wounded soldier should have a guarantee of treatment within a specified waiting time - paid for kicking in the door of a private clinic, if the waiting time is not met. Particularly if suffering driving them mental."

"On that note I have already made it clear to my inner-circle, particularly Signor Huhne, that any signs of madness can now be treated swiftly by dispatch to a suitable professional who will be able to assist them with their problems."

"So, in conclusion. An end to a controlling Family. More power and responsibility for local units. More power and responsibility for enforcers. More power and responsibility too for the people who use our protection. And greater space for real innovation in keeping the peace."

"This is the way to deliver a fair chance, and an equal stake in our Family. It is not only a Liberali agenda, it is what our people want. That is my vision for the Family. I hope all of us will work hard together today and in the crucial months ahead to deliver it."

Or this is what Signora Liberali tell me he said. I nod off shortly after heckler dragged away. It sure sound mighty impressive. Sure looking forward to enjoying new levels of local control, so long as the Don tell us what to do with it.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The difficulty of diversity.

At meeting of Inner Circle tonight we taking opportunity of lull in activity by other Families to discuss internal matters. Don Clegg and team leafing through papers and suggestions from internal Family groups. Winter Newsletter of Liberali Womenfolk catch Don's eye.

"Interesting, it says in this article 'Multiple Minorities' that girls who like girls are disgracefully underrepresented in the rulings echelons of the Family. Apparently only one of our wannabe Capos, during last Mattanza, was such a person, whereas there were 21 wise guys who like guys."

Signor Oaten, who has been allowed in to serve the coffee and grappa, trip and drop the biscotti on the carpet.

"Careful Mark" say Knuckles, "I not want to put something unclean in my mouth, huh, huh, huh..."

"Most amusing Knuckles" say the Don. "Signor Oaten you can find fresh biscotti in the store cupboard."

"I shall prepare one for Signor Carmichael personally" he say, as he walks out.

"Moving back to business, I did say when I put myself forward to be your Don, that I would do more to address the issues of imbalance in the public face of the Family. This sounds like a project in that vein. Do I have any volunteers to recruit and vet more lesbians?"

Twenty male hands shoot up

"Er... yes... excellent enthusiasm gentleman... anyone else... Signora Teather?"

"What the hell are you suggesting Don?" she say turning crimson

"Um... I was simply inquiring whether you'd like to take on this additional responsibility."

"No I bloody wouldn't, I've quite enough my plate taking care of the Business rackets. I didn't need a bloody support committee to prove myself..." and with that she stomp out crushing the biscotti into Axminster.

"Er Don..." say Knuckles "I'd like to propose Signora Willott... and Signora Goldsworthy... together... maybe it be to much for one Capo to handle." Signor Browne appear to be having difficulty breathing, as do number of other Capo.

Don Clegg give Knuckles a hard stare.

"I get the sense... gentleman... that some of you are not taking my diversity initiatives seriously." Signor Browne, who has turned unfortunate shade of purple, fall sideways off chair and get covered in crumbs.

"Perhaps 'No men by 2010' could run another talent-spotting contest" he say picking self up and dusting off almonds, "Maybe on Internet so they'd be easy to find"

Don Clegg give him another hard stare.

"You may leave gentleman. I can see I will need to consult more widely on this matter"

"I can lend you some magazines" yell an indistinct voice as we file out, shaking slightly. Pretty sure I hear grappa bottle hitting door as we leave. Diversity sure is dangerous issue that raise the blood.

Don shakes up our war-planners

As part of process of shaking up Family to take us out of comfort zone Don Clegg announce new appointments.

"First, to bring new thinking into the way we defend the Family I am reappointing Signor Rennard to manage our general planning. His vision of innovative continuity is exactly what we need to refresh our fighting capability with new traditional thinking."

"Second to ensure a consistent show of force, I am dispensing with a single leading planner and appointing Signor 'Whippy' Stunell to manage our Capitani, Wee Willie Rennie to corral the Capos, and Signor Davey to plan the planning committee."

"This 'overlapping consistency' will help reduce the problem under my predecessors where no one had any clear idea who was responsible for taking decisions. Now if there is a turf war in the slums of old Hallam it clearly a matter for Signor Stunell... unless a Labouristi Capo is involved in which case it become a matter for Wee Willie... unless there's more than one, in which case you must call Signor Rennard."

"If there is any doubt who to call you must call Signor Davey, who will call Signors Rennard, Stunell and Rennie... or me, and then I will call Wee Willie, or Signor Stunell, or get Signor Rennard to call them both, perhaps consult with Signor Davey to see who to call... I hope that is clear."

"Just in case it isn't I have hired Chris Bones, an expert in drawing very large and complicated charts with very exciting colours and shapes, to ensure this Family's planning capability can be explained in PowerPoint which he assures me is currently the greatest barrier between us and victory over our opponents. Some of my colleagues have expressed doubts about Signor Bones capability to understand our Family ways. However when he showed them how he billed his clients they were very reassured."

"Finally to ensure I receive the best possible independent advice on whether I should call Signor Bones, Signor Davey, Signor Rennard, Wee Willie or Signor Stunell I have appointed Jonathon 'The Impaler' Sharkey as my special advisor on communicating with planners. Jonathon has recently returned from a spell in sing-sing after his successful prosecution of a campaign for the Vampires, Witches & Pagans Family in downtown Minnesota. A logical progression from his previous role advising Signora Thatcher of the Conservatori."

Signor Sharkey inspire the troops

"In making these appointments I hope we can look forward to glorious future of clarity and effective planning. Drawing a line under the confusions of the past. Anyone who doesn't like that can take it up with Signor Sharkey. That is all."

It sure is great to know Family modernising for better tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Poverty is blight on Family

We discussing poverty with the Don today.

"Poverty, gentleman..." there is irritable cough at back of room "sorry, ladies, gentleman and the transgendered, thank-you for reminding me Signor Heath... is a blight on the Family business."

Signor Clegg paces around room as he speak

"The poor, gent... assembled paesano, are denied opportunities available to the rest of us, through no great fault or circumstance other than the accident of their birth. Consequently I am procuring the services of Signor Narey of the League against Orphans, Waifs & Strays to begin a study for the Family into how we can address this great injustice."

"Wouldn't the poor be less poor if we stopped stealing from them?" ask Signor Laws

"A fine question David, and as I'm sure you appreciate it pains me deeply to see a family laid low by the pittance we charge them for essential protection work. This evidently must stop."

"Instead we must work on improving their lot so they can afford to pay our reasonable rates of protection. This is the only sustainable solution to poverty for the Family."

"Happily Signor Narey's organisation has been thriving on making a business from the destitute for many decades. He has much to teach us."

This all sound good to me. The boys... ladies, and people confused about what wobbly bits they like, in Little Sicily, pretty of sick slogging around slums to collect small payments from mothers with adorable wide-eyed toddlers expertly trained in special pleading.

Much easier to collect from workplace or union dues. For that we need people in meaningful jobs. Hope I get to work with Signor Narey on his study.