As the early Autumn chill bites, an environmentally-friendly coke brazier at the entrance to Downing Street warms both the government pickets and the policemen on duty. Michael Gove leans his strike placard against the railings and warms his hands at the glowing coals. He is talking football with one of the policemen.
" ..... and on the pitch, he moves like Nijinsky"
"Like a horse? Not sure I see that, Mr Gove"
"No no not the racehorse, the dan ....." they are assailed by a fug of heady gin vapours
"I demand to see the Prime Minister!" screeches Mother Soubry, for it is she
"Scab! Scab! Blackleg! Blackleg!" chants JRM languorously. He is wearing his lounge-lizard double-breasted boilersuit. Chalk striped. A police officer raises an eyebrow in warning.
"You can't" snaps Gove at Mother Soubry "he's on strike."
"But I've been deputed by the Commons to demand that he he obeys them! Either he gets on with it or we'll .... we will ....."
"You will what?" snarls Gove "trigger a general election? Yes please! Why do you think he's on strike? All you have to do is vote him out and we go to the country!"
"But we can't do that! Most of us would, er, um.. a lot of us would ..."
"Lose your seats? Be kicked out by voters? Be thrown on the scrapheap?"
Outside on Whitehall a furious squawking and a flurry of feathers indicated that the Leader of the Opposition was on his way to the House.
Mother Soubry sidles up to one of the policemen "Got any gin, love?" she asks plaintively