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Feather's Miscellany: Connor

...If by chance you caught him off-guard and saw his eyes more closely, you’d have noticed how hard they were, full of unbridled greed and ambition, full of self-pride...

John Waddington-Feather's story tells most satisfyingly of how a rogue politician got his comeuppance.

Petty thieves we sent to prison; our top-notch scoundrels to Parliament. Keighworth produced in its time some very brash scoundrels who became M.Ps , politicians with skins like a rhinoceros’s. They were impervious to both insult and advice. More than that, they were amoral. One such man was David Connor, but he received his come-uppance in the end. He was locked very appropriately in a lavatory at an important point in his scurvy life.

he was from the start out for the main chance in life no matter whom he hurt or trampled on. He left Keighworth early on in his career when the daughter of a wealthy landowner down south took a shine to him after meeting him on holiday. He abandoned his home town to go and play the county squire down south and Keighworth never forgave him. Once he’d wed he was into local politics with his father-in-law and steadily began to wriggle his way to the top.

With his glibbest of tongues, he got in with all the county set and eventually persuaded them that he, a blunt, plain-spoken Yorkshireman, was their man to run for Parliament, where he saw richer pickings and even more prestige. He was duly elected by a large majority and entered the national talking shop where he ingratiated himself with the right people and began to milk the system. He never for one moment thought he was doing wrong and but for parliamentary privilege, he’d have been in prison.

Connor was good-looking and always well dressed. He played that card early on when met his bride-to-be. He was auburn-haired and fresh faced. He’d ice-blue eyes which went well with his politics and above all he’d a ready political smile, essential for any politician

If by chance you caught him off-guard and saw his eyes more closely, you’d have noticed how hard they were, full of unbridled greed and ambition, full of self-pride. But he had a good family who supported him and he supported them – too well it transpired. For his wife, his son and his son’s friend were ‘enlisted’ onto his staff at Westminster to give him secretarial help. Though they never went near his office, they were paid large salaries which were charged down to expenses – expenses the public paid for. He even fiddled his expenses to feed his cats and the canary, not to mention the property dealing he was into, claiming for the upkeep of two homes while renting off one of them in London at great profit.

At the turn of the century, it was Connor’s fiddling the books which opened the can of worms that exposed many Members of Parliament for what they were – cheap crooks. You know enough, dear reader, about that scandal without my going into detail here, and because of it Connor was obliged to stand down from Parliament along with many more rogues, who’d parked their fat bums on both sides of the House for years. But crafty blighter that he was Connor prepared well for his exit when it loomed before him.

He took up the offer of a couple of directorships in property businesses. He also rented off part of the land he inherited from his father-in-law to an animal welfare trust and enjoyed playing the squire back in the county for a while, until the old hunger after power returned and the craving for the mutual, back-slapping the Members at Westminster gave each other. But he’d fouled his pitch in the county and been kicked out of his party, so he decided he’d set up his own independent party, and launch it in Keighworth, his home town.

He shrugged off any hostility he met and brashly established his headquarters in the centre of town, cocking a snook at the other political parties and, of course, because he’d plenty of money to throw around, he soon attracted parasites, who helped him canvass at the next general election.

What was said to him and his team as they went from house to house isn’t repeatable. Politicians have to be thick-skinned at the best of times; Connor’s crew were iron-clad. Insults came at them from all sides but they plodded on. They did have the occasional bit of support, usually from bigoted people mouthing off about benefit-milkers and immigrants, and Connor agreed with them and surrounded himself with such a bunch of sycophants, he really thought he was going to be elected.

But there was one man who hated Conner’s guts. Dan Laverty, an attendant on the Town Hall Staff. Dan had known Connor since they were boys together at school where Connor had made Dan’s life miserable, taunting him and making fun of his name. Dan wasn’t over-bright so didn’t reply. He soaked up all the jibes and torment in silence, waiting for the right moment to take revenge. He had to wait years but his moment came at last as you’re about to hear.

Came the night of the election results and Connor drove to the Town Hall in high spirits. He parked his car and stepped out blithely- then Fate took a hand. He was taken short! He’d over-eaten that day in a dicey restaurant and had a stomach upset. As he strode up the Town Hall steps he suddenly had the most excruciating pain in his gut and just had to find the loos, which were at the far end of the building down a long corridor. As he rushed along, he passed Dan Laverty coming the other way. One glance at Conner’s face told Dan his old adversary was loobound. Dan’s moment had come!

Dan turned and followed Connor down the corridor till he vanished inside the loos; and once he was safely seated Dan tip-toed up to the door and turned the key. Then he wandered back along the corridor quietly whistling to himself to hear the election results.

As the time approached for the announcement, the returning officer kept glancing at his watch wandering where Connor was. All the other candidates were there lined up impatiently on the stage. “Where on earth is Mr Connor?” asked the returning officer as the clock on the wall struck the hour. Nobody knew. Dan looked up at the ceiling and kept mum. “I can’t delay any longer,” said the officer at length and began reading out the results. Connor came last and his followers looked on disconsolate, their leader nowhere to be seen.

The next morning Dan trundled back along the corridor to release his prisoner who was pounding madly on the door. Nobody had heard him, of course, he was too far away, and had had to spend the night there. Dan took his time and slowly unlocked the door.

“What the hell do you think you’re playing at locking me in?” bellowed Connor as he stormed out of the loo looking very dishevelled.

“Didn’t know yer was in there, Mr Connor,” said the attendant innocently. “’Ave yer been in all night? My, my, yer look tired. Oh, and by the way, Mr Connor when the election results announced last night….”

“Who won?” asked Connor eagerly, cutting him short.

“Not you,” Dan replied, and with relish added, “In fact Mr Connor, yer lost yer deposit.” Then he re-locked the toilet door and left Connor looking decidedly crestfallen.

Once the tale got out in Keighworth about his being locked in the loos all night at the Town Hall, Conner never lived it down; nor did he ever return or stand for Parliament. He dabbled in dubious London property deals instead the rest of his life.
John Waddington-Feather ©


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