This United Nation

Tom Chambers
3 min readMar 31, 2021

The two prime ministers were on separate TV channels. They were both giving their first speech as new leaders of the nation. Their speeches contained details of their future policies, the values they represented and the people they believed they served.

The first prime minister felt a bit awkward, he kept glancing over at the second prime minister. He did the same back. They were both standing on Downing Street, about ten paces away from each other. Neither seems to want to acknowledge the presence of the other, though they can clearly see each other.

An old lady and her grandson were watching this display on television. It was possible to flick between channels to see both PMs, one on the BBC and one on Channel 4.

“We will prioritise law and order. Which is why starting today I am introducing a policy making arrest and custodial sentencing mandatory for all offences, including littering and jaywalking.”

They turned over the channel.

“This country has lost its community spirit. We need to put ourselves in touch with the ethos of care that we seem to have lost. From this point on crimes committed will be dealt with by the community, in ways that make sense for that community.“

After the speeches are over both prime ministers leave their booths and return to number 10. Since they are about to bounce into each other on the way in, the first puts his finger to his lips and pretends to tie his shoe. The second closes the door but leaves it slightly ajar so the first can still get in.

“I don’t understand gran,” said the boy, “which one is in charge?”

“I’m not sure,” she replied. She wanted to maintain her aura of infallibility. “I think they both are. Or maybe neither. There’s never been an equal vote before.“

“Which one did you vote for?”

“I don’t vote these days. My eyesight isn’t up to it.“

They both turned to face the TV again. Both pictures showed the same pictures of an empty Downing Street, but from slightly different angles. Eventually the picture changed There was a commotion on the pavement outside and the boy went to look.

Two policemen were struggling with a scruffy young man. While one held his arms, the other managed to get a pair of handcuffs around his wrists. Finally the captured man gave up and slumped over, not resisting anymore.

The officers stood aside, catching their breath.

“Right, you’re coming down the station then son,” said one.

“Do we though?” said the other hesitantly. “I mean, aren’t we supposed to sit him down with the local people?”

“Oh yeah. But that was the other one though wasn’t it, the fake minister for policing.“

“The fake one? No, I’m pretty sure the other one was fake.”

“Well I didn’t vote for that one.“

“That’s not really how it works. You have to accept democracy. The people have decided… to not decide.”

“Well what do we do? Do we start again? Or do things just keep going like they did?“

“Perhaps we should do half of each. Lock him up for a bit, and then we take him to the village hall.”

“Let’s say you’re at the pub. You can’t decide whether to have a glass of wine, or a beer. Would you ask for half of each in the same glass? It just wouldn’t work. That’s the whole point of the system, to make big choices.“

“Yeah, I see what you mean. How about this? We just camp out here for a while until it blows over. It can’t take more than a few hours.”

“Alright then. It’s a stalemate. There’s nothing to do but wait. Do you want to take first guard?“

During their conversation neither officer noticed that the young man had slunk away. A pair of handcuffs lay on the pavement. He’d probably put that twix wrapper in the bin next time though.