Uncle Tom games: Can Gojo take on Czar's brigade as Uglii, Hedgie play?
Deccan Chronicle.| Farrukh Dhondy
I am engaged in writing a book with the mildly derivate title 'Uncle Tom's Cabinet'
"Don’t rage against the dying of the light
It’s a waste of emotion and quite absurd
I think ‘inevitable’ is the word
So, smile in the mirror and say goodnight…"
— From Dylan to Dhillon, by Bachchoo
Without any intention, gentle reader, to seem immodest, I venture to tell you about my latest foray into fiction. I am engaged in writing a book with the mildly derivate title "Uncle Tom’s Cabinet". No, it’s not a book about an antique cupboard, it’s a foray into the world of UK politics under the prime ministership of a character I have named Gojo.
In this yarn, in deference to modernity, Gojo has recruited ministers from the Asian, black and Middle Eastern stock of British citizens. Even though these are elected members of Parliament and, by definition, representative of the constituencies that elected them, they are certainly as representative of the ethnic communities of Britain as Jeff Bezos or the electric car fellow Elon Musk is of the poor and starving of the world.
Readers may have noticed the similarity of my intended title to that of the famous nineteenth century novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe called Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Ms Stowe subtitled her novel "Life Among the Lowly". I can’t use that subtitle because the characters in it are almost all millionaires and as government ministers have power and influence.
No, the reason I have chosen this elegant title is because, over the decades, the central character of Ms Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom, a suffering slave, has come to represent the most subservient of humans from an oppressed race. To be an "Uncle Tom" has come to mean to be an arse-licker and someone whose cowardice and attitudes amount to a betrayal of his or her own people.
Take, for instance, the leading female character of my literary enterprise whom I have so far, in this first incomplete draft, called Uglii "Clueless" Motel. She is so called because her Asian parents inherited the surname by running a motel in Uganda before they were expelled from that country by Idi Amin. She is an extremely strong character — one can’t have weak women in novels these days without being pilloried and cancelled — and as home secretary is the most virulent anti-immigrant minister Britain has had since Heinrich Himmler! (That was Germany, you idiot! — Ed. Arrey, this is fiction, yaar… sub koochh chalta — fd)
Her daddy was an immigrant himself and stood as a candidate for the uniquely anti-immigrant party UKIP. Uglii follows his ideological stance but is a Tory who once held pro-hanging views and suggests that would-be immigrants who risk their lives crossing the English Channel to seek shelter from persecution should be sent to concentration camps in St Helena, where Napoleon was once imprisoned.
Her boss Gojo gets into deep trouble in the plot by blatantly defying laws he himself initiates. Perhaps he should be under police investigation and should really resign, but then Uglii supports him down the line because if he goes under as a result of hitting this iceberg, she goes with him.
In our story, Uglii also runs a scheme whereby Russian oligarchs who bring £2 million or more into the country can get "Tier 1 Golden Visas". Afghan refugees bring nothing and are meet with gunboats.
The main male character of Uncle Tom’s Cabinet is called Hedgie Moonak. Gojo has given him the finance portfolio. Hedgie has made his money through speculation in the money markets rather than by any entrepreneurial acumen — unlike Bezos or Musk.
At one climactic point in my novel, there is a crisis with the Czar of Russia threatening to invade neighbouring countries. Gojo and his Western allies say they won’t send troops to defend the invaded territories but will apply economic sanctions. Under Hedgie’s jurisdiction and certainly under his nose, Britain has become the global hub for money laundering as property worth £1.5 billion is bought by Russians with links to the Czar. Hedgie has allowed these Russians to register their ownership anonymously in UK overseas territories: 2,189 of these companies registered in the UK are linked to 48 multi-million-pound corruption cases.
In my novel, a respectable journal such as The Times newspaper reports that these figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Gojo and Hedgie have resisted all calls to force overseas companies to reveal their ownership. It also says that the money laundering that has been overlooked by Uglii and Hedgie amounts to probably £82 billion — all of it transacted by a Russian mafia oligarchy through bribery, rigged procurement, embezzlement and the unlawful acquisition of Russian state assets.
Uglii and Hedgie are the main culprits in my projected novel, but there are other "Uncle Tom" characters such as health secretary Sadist Covid, another defender of Gojo, hoping that the discarded Covid masks, which he has decreed are no longer required, can be fabricated into a raft to save him when Gojo’s ship goes down.
Another minor character is Quasi "hung-drawn" Quartered, a business secretary who defends Gojo in the most obsequious way and maintains that the fraud which has, in the story become widespread during a universal plague, is not really a serious crime, not really comparable to shoplifting.
And I think I’ll add a character called Games Stupidly and make him minister for Europe.
That’s like Hindu ambassador to Mecca. Should be fun!
In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."