Mr Bigot liked Halloween.
It was one of his favourite celebrations. Mr Bigot liked scaring people – it was one of his favourite activities. Only that morning he’d tried to scare all the listeners to a radio programme about how all those nasty immigrants were coming over here to take their jobs, to claim huge amounts of money in benefits, to destroy their health service, fill their schools, and much, much more. Just like every other morning.
Oh yes, Mr Bigot liked Halloween a lot. And this Halloween was going to be particularly special. UKIP had organised a very special party. Mr Bigot was really looking forward to it.
He didn’t really need a costume. He was scary enough as it was – and he knew it. Just a set of fangs and a cloak would do. He could put on a Romanian accent – everyone knew Romanians were scary. Oh yes. Terrifying.
The party was happening at one of London’s best clubs. Mr Bigot was a member – as were a number of his friends. There wouldn’t be any riffraff let in.
Mr Bigot didn’t like riffraff. Oh, he always liked a good photo-shoot with common people, but that was quite enough. Mr Bigot liked to portray himself as a man of the people, but really he wasn’t sure he liked people very much.
He put on his cloak and fitted his fangs as he approached the club, and smiled spookily at the liveried man at the door. The man smiled back and touched his top hat deferentially, welcoming Mr Bigot in. Mr Bigot found him entering a place of wonder: the entire club had been decked out in a spectacularly spooky style. There were heavy cobwebs on every chandelier, jack-o-lanterns on every window sill, curtains of black velvet and much, much more. Long tables were filled with silver platters filled with steaming food. The aroma was wonderful.
One of Mr Bigot’s oldest friends, dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster, complete with bolt, lurched quickly across the room to greet him with a strange kind of smile. Mr Bigot leaned over to him.
“Looks great, old boy,” Mr Bigot whispered, “must have cost a pretty penny.”
“Oh,” said his friend, “no need to worry about that. Thanks to our new Polish friend, we’re quids in these days.”
His friend pointed across the room to a slightly disreputable looking fellow dressed in a black military uniform. The man smiled and gave a straight armed salute. Mr Bigot smiled back.
Then Mr Bigot took a closer look around the room. People were dressed in all kinds of different costumes. There were a few witches, a lot of skeletons, and plenty of zombies – though those might just have been some of the party members who hadn’t read their invitations carefully enough to realise it was supposed to be fancy dress.
Then Mr Bigot had an uncomfortable thought. He whispered again to his Frankenstein’s monster friend.
“There aren’t any reporters here, are there?”
“Oh no, Mr Bigot,” his friend replied. “Just Nick and David over there, and they can be trusted completely.”
Mr Bigot looked over to where his friend was pointed, and there were Nick Robinson and David Dimbleby, rather poorly disguised as neutral, independent journalists, sipping at their drinks and sharing a laugh.
“Excellent,” said Mr Bigot with a smile. “Now, I really need a drink!”
“God no,” said Mr Bigot, “do you know how many photo-shoots I’ve done today? I’m sick of the taste of the stuff. Get me a claret, and a good one.”
While he waited for his friend to bring him his drink, Mr Bigot wandered around the room, listening to the undead band playing UKIP Calypso, and chatting with a few of the more unusually dressed guests. The first he came to was dressed in a pink shirt and very tight trousers, and had an obviously false handlebar moustache.
“What have you come as?” Mr Bigot asked.
“I am a gay Bulgarian,” the man said with a guffaw. “Scary, eh?”
“Very,” Mr Bigot agreed, “just don’t go getting married – we could do without more floods!”
“How about you?” Mr Bigot asked the next one, who was blacked up and wearing rags.
“I have Ebola,” the man replied, with a faux African accent almost as good as Mike Read’s Jamaican one.
“We should never have let you in,” Mr Bigot laughed, “or anyone like you.”
Mr Bigot strolled past a pair dressed in business suits with blue ties with yellow stars, wearing blank face masks. Eurocrats, of course. Another had even come as José Manuel Barroso.
Just as Frankenstein’s monster lurched up with his drink, Mr Bigot saw another costume he couldn’t quite place. Skin darker than Mr Bigot was comfortable with, torn clothes soaking wet, heavy fronds of seaweed draped over his shoulders and head. The man saw him staring and smiled.
“I’m a drowning migrant in the Mediterranean,” he said, and Mr Bigot grimaced.
“Damn those Tories,” he muttered under his breath, “why did they think of that idea first? It’s brilliant.”
The drink tasted a little strange to Mr Bigot – not a claret at all, but some kind of mulled wine, thick with spice. Mr Bigot took a large swig, and felt the drink go straight to his head. He shook himself, wondering what was coming over him, and went to sit down in a large, comfortable arm chair. It had been a long day. He was tired. He drank down the rest of his drink and leant back in his chair, closing his eyes.
When he opened them, he found a strange man approaching him. The man was unshaven, and wearing a T-shirt with ‘LBC’ in small letters on the chest. In his hand he held a microphone, attached to some kind of tape recorder. What’s going on? thought Mr Bigot. I thought there were no reporters here. Then he relaxed. It must be a costume. The man’s first words confirmed it.
“I’ve come as James O’Brien,” the man said with a smile, “I thought you might find it scary.” Mr Bigot couldn’t help a silent shudder – he still remembered being ambushed on LBC. Whoever this was, he had a nasty sense of humour. Should go far.
“Perhaps,” the man said, “I could give you a quick interview?”
“Of course,” replied Mr Bigot with a sharp-fanged smile. The man held out his faux microphone, clicked a button on his faux tape recorder and started asking questions. Boring stuff to start with, just like most interviews. How nice it must feel to be so high in the polls, to have one MP and another on the way. Mr Bigot gave the usual answers – he could do this in his sleep.
“You must be delighted that the public has realised,” the interviewer said, “that immigrants are responsible for so many problems – taking away jobs, costing a fortune in benefits, destroying our health services and so on.”
Mr Bigot smiled again, but then, to his complete surprise found himself saying something he hadn’t planned. And laughing.
“Surely you don’t actually believe that,” Mr Bigot couldn’t stop himself saying, “do you? I mean, even I don’t believe that. I know very well that immigration doesn’t cost jobs, or any of that other rot. Are you stupid? I’m not. This is politics, matey.”
Mr Bigot felt thick-headed. It must have been the drink. And yet he still couldn’t stop himself.
“It’s brilliant, isn’t it? So many dopes take what we say at face value. All those idiots vote for us – it’s worse than turkeys voting for Christmas. I mean, workers vote for us though we want to take away their rights! As though anything we say would make any difference at all except to make their lives harder, and make us richer. We know it’s rot, you know it’s rot. But better to blame Johnny Foreigner than my mates in the banks. And when they vote for us, we get all this,” he waved his hand around the opulent surroundings. “There’s no gravy-train like the Brussels gravy-train,” he finished, “and long may it continue.”
“What?” said the interviewer, “don’t you want us to leave the EU?”
“God no,” said Mr Bigot with a laugh, “if we leave we all know business will be down the tubes – and all these lovely expenses will stop flowing. Still, we’ve got to keep saying we want to leave. That’s the point, isn’t it?”
“And immigration? What about immigration?”
“If we don’t have immigration,” Mr Bigot found himself saying, “where will I get my chauffeurs from? Where will we find women to clean behind the fridges? Just so long as immigrants are properly frightened, that’s good enough for me. That way we can pay them a pittance and they’ll have to accept it. And just as long as there’s enough hate and fear to keep people distracted, everything’s just the way I want it.”
The man pressed the button on his tape recorder and suddenly looked stern. “That’s great,” he said with a sly smile. “You do realise that I really am James O’Brien, I hope? This will be great on the LBC news.”
Mr Bigot’s face went white. He felt cold inside. What on earth had made him say all of that? It wasn’t like him at all. He was usually so good at keeping up the pretence. Even when he made little slips he got over them with a laugh and a smile. This time, though, he couldn’t see how he could do that. It was a nightmare. A complete nightmare. He closed his eyes and could feel the tears begin to come. What a horrible Halloween.
Suddenly he felt an arm on his shoulder. He opened his eyes. James O’Brien was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Frankenstein’s monster stood before him.
“Are you alright, Mr Bigot?” his friend whispered. “I think you must have dozed off for a while.”
“But…” Mr Bigot shook himself. Had it all been a dream? Had he imagined it all? He sighed, long and slow, the composed himself. It must have been. Oh, it had felt scary – but there was no real need to be scared – at least not for Mr Bigot. The rest of the country, well they had plenty to be scared about.
For everyone else, the nightmare had only just begun.
Words by @paulbernalUK, art by @kaiserofcrisps and @paulbernalUK
For the original Mr Bigot, see here.