A tale of two seagulls and that legacy question…

“THEY’RE thinking of banning fish and chips at the coast, you know.”

“Well that’s not very sporting – they’ll be banning ice cream next.”

“That too, apparently. Yeah, I blame the David Essex incident. It said in the Daily Star the other day that the 1970s singer came under savage attack when he tried to eat an ice cream.”

“I heard it was a cousin of Sid’s…”

“Psycho Sid’s cousin?”

“That’s the one – and he’s just as mad. Crazy as a kittiwake, that one.”

“I remember all the headlines in the Star last year – ‘Psycho seagulls keep out illegals’.”

“That was the French lot bombing migrants in Calais. That newspaper’s got a thing about us lot.”

“More shit on the front page of that newspaper than under the Tyne Bridge – and there is a lot of shit under that bridge.”

“One of our proudest achievements, that bridge.”

The two friends hop along their ledge and stretch their wings. “The Daily Star is obsessed, simply obsessed. I perched on the sill outside the newsroom and saw this guy on the newsdesk going red in the face. ‘Get me stories about evil seagulls,’ he said. ‘As evil as you like. Those bastards have got it coming.’ A twitchy-looking reporter said he’d heard a rumour about someone’s false teeth being nicked. ‘Not bad,’ said the red-faced man. ‘But how about a seagull carrying off a baby. That’s what we need…a famous baby, maybe even a Royal baby. Oh joy! Those evil gulls are good for business’.”

The seagulls take a moment to scan for opportunities. “Nice bald head over there, next to the woman who’s just come out of that hairdressers. Fancy a stretch?” They swoop down, enjoying as ever the rush of air, and enjoying even more the cries of anguish. “Double-hit there,” the first gull says, looking round. “Some chips over there. Hope they’ve remembered the salt.”

Back on the ledge, the two friends squabble over their chip booty, with the first gull taking more than his fair share.

“You’ll get fat eating like that – then you’ll never be able to take off and it’ll serve you right.”

“Can’t resist a chip.”

“How about pudding? There’s some old singer down there unwrapping a Cornetto. The trick is to wait until last bit of paper has been pulled away and…”

Off they swoop, returning a moment later with a whole ice cream. This drips onto their claws as they eat. Then they fight over the cone. One seagull burps (do seagulls do this? They do for the purposes of this entertainment). The other one says: “Do you mind! God what a smell!”

“The thing I don’t understand is that lot beneath us make a right mess of the world, filling it with dispute and misery, and all they can do is blame us for everything. Last year was the worst I’ve ever known. The newspapers were full of anti-seagull stories. It was all very gull-ist if you ask me.”

“Do you think Brexit will be bad for us?” “Who knows? Bad for everyone else, so I don’t see why not.

“But what about all those foreign gulls coming over here and pinching the chips of our birth right?”

“A seagull is a seagull, brother – we’re all the same under these feathers. Well I don’t know about you, but I fancy a trip down to London. We can find that £17 million house where David Cameron is putting his feet up after screwing the country.”

“Yeah, some legacy. All those empty slogans about the big society, and he goes and hits the poorest with the bedroom tax. And everyone goes on about Tony Blair and Iraq, but what about Cameron and Libya – he intervened, left that country in a dangerous mess, then wandered off.”

“And he made the financial crisis of 2007 even worse by encouraging financial speculation, failing to regulate the housing market and privatising large swathes of the public sector at huge cost to the taxpayer.”

“You’ve been reading the Guardian again, haven’t you?”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about…”

“History will remember Cameron for taking a huge gamble that buggered up the country. So it would be nice to shit on his head.”

“And keep an eye out for Boris, too – that would be a double hit. Mind you, how we didn’t get him while he was dangling from that wire, I’ll never know.”

“How about the new prime minister?”

“No, I’ve heard that Theresa May has some sort of force-field round her that quietly deflects all the shit thrown her way.”

“It won’t last.”

On their way to seek out the former prime minister, the seagulls pass over a playground near Westminster, a place favoured by members of the Labour Party. There’s a helter-skelter in the middle. Labour MPs are queueing up to slide down while someone is trying to go the other way.

“Who’s the bloke with the beard – the one trying to climb up when everyone else is coming down?”

“That’ll be Jeremy Corbyn.”

They fly a little further. “Looks like we might be in luck. Down there to your right: complacent looking chap with a pink face. Just coming out of that expensive-looking house. Double points if you can hit that bald spot he’s been trying to hide for years.”

Flushed with success, having emptied themselves to satisfying effect, the two gulls fly over a newsagent’s. “Looks like things might be moving on,” says the first gull. “Why is that?” “Just spotted today’s Daily Star and the headline says, ‘Invasion of the killer jellies’.”

“Well, it’s about time those bloody jellyfish had their turn in the spotlight. But they’ll be back to us in a day or two. They just can’t leave us gulls alone.”

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