There was once a man who ruled a kingdom. It was not a large kingdom as these things go and he was not a king. There was a monarch but nobody cared about that. He was the fifty-fifth person to rule the kingdom and his name was Crispin. He thought his kingdom was the best in the whole world at everything.
Crispin was not naturally clever but an expensive education had taught him some Latin phrases which he used to sound impressive. He had one ambition; to become the ruler of the kingdom. In his middle years after many ups and some very serious downs he achieved his ambition. He was the ruler. He had the power.
Crispin knew he had the power because he could sack people he didn’t like and hire people he did. Of course, all the people he liked all agreed that Crispin was the best ruler in the whole world. Crispin was popular with most of the people in the kingdom but he was also astute enough to know that wouldn’t last. But Crispin had the power because he had the ‘Monopoly on Violence’. Crispin was secure.
One evening, in the dead days between Christmas and New Year, Crispin was finishing his supper alone in his flat above his ruler’s office. He was contemplating a stimulating evening when there was a discrete knock at his door.
“Enter”, called Crispin. His personal policeman opened the door and announced he had visitors. Three gentlemen came in and introduced themselves. The gentlemen were dressed in elegant grey suits, their ties precisely knotted at their white collars. At their wrists their cuff links glowed the dull yellow of real gold.
“This will have to be quick. I’m expecting a visitor.”, said Crispin. The gentlemen informed him that his visitor would not be coming.
“Wha, who, what”, blustered Crispin. The gentlemen urged him to calm down. They had quiet voices that did not have to be raised to command attention. Gently they told Crispin that in the second week in January he would resign his position as ruler.
“But I don’t want to resign.”, protested Crispin. The gentlemen explained that he had been very ill earlier in the year and was not fully recovered. Besides he had a young family and wanted to spend more time with them.
“I won’t resign.”, shouted Crispin. Quietly the gentlemen reminded him that thirty years earlier one of his predecessors had said the same thing but had been removed anyway.
“But I have so much still to do. The judges and the courts are still independent and poor people can still get benefits.” The gentlemen explained that he had accomplished all that they had wished him to. He could safely leave the rest to his successor.
“Who will my successor be?”, Crispin asked meekly. The gentlemen said that it would be Daniel. “Oh.”, said Crispin.
The gentlemen gave Crispin a soft leather pouch, closed with a drawstring. They explained it was a retirement present. Only a token but he would understand. Then they bade him goodnight and left.
Crispin sat at the desk he had hoped to occupy for a good number of years yet. He had opened his present and counted the contents. He arranged them in three neat stacks, ten coins in each, £1.50 in 5p pieces.
By our convenor Tommy.
The characters and organisations described here have no basis in reality except for ‘Monopoly on Violence’. That is a real thing.