“Has hell frozen over?” quipped one reporter at the press launch yesterday of what must surely be this year’s least likely publication*. The Way Ahead a joint blueprint for the future by once bitter political rivals - Mrs Dorothy Endersley-Kindersley and Mr Jermyn Street - is, say its publishers, ‘a major publishing landmark: the first time two veteran ideologues have sat down together to try to settle their accounts by monetarising their public reconciliation”.
* Steady on - its only February [Ed]
For more than a decade Mrs Endersley-Kindersley and Mr Street were locked in a bitter power struggle for control of the Dorset Historical Romance Association [DHRA], dividing the membership into irreconcilable factions and causing deep rifts which are only now beginning to heal. More often than not it was Mrs E-K who won high office, whilst Mr Street won the moral high ground as well as the respect of those “who would never gain power and so could say and promise whatever they liked”. [See Cúll de Saec  "Street Fighter: An A-Z of the Politics of Jermyn Street", Threadbone Press.]
The Way Ahead sets out their joint vision of “a big society with strong government in which unchallengeable officials can dictate the way forward without surrendering to the tedious business of public accountability". Dogmatic, elitist and intellectually arrogant, the book is, its publishers say, less a manifesto than a 250 page apologia which suggests that it is time for a new politics or “third, third way”** which will release us all from the shackles of the democratic process and open up the road to progress, change and a healthy bank account for those in charge. ”By taking a central path, we can avoid both a Hard Brexit economic shock and a lurch towards wokism, steering instead towards goodness knows what”. [The book's cover suggests "oblivion".]
** A third way has been proposed on as many as 5 previous occasions though clearly the authors/publishers have forgotten at least two of these. The original 3rd way - brainchild of politician and former Chippendale Lionel Blair and Cambridge political scientist Anthony Goode-Riddans - proved to be no way at all. [See, for example, Éamon de Valera-Singleton  De Turd Way: Irish Politics in the late 20th Century [Threadbone Irish Studies No 6, The Threadbone Press] [Politics Ed]
** A third way has been proposed on as many as 5 previous occasions though clearly the authors/publishers have forgotten at least two of these. The original 3rd way - brainchild of politician and former Chippendale Lionel Blair and Cambridge political scientist Anthony Goode-Riddans - proved to be no way at all. [See, for example, Éamon de Valera-Singleton  De Turd Way: Irish Politics in the late 20th Century [Threadbone Irish Studies No 6, The Threadbone Press] [Politics Ed].
So, to make their reconciliation possible, has Mr Street lurched to the right, or Mrs Endersley-Kindersley to the left? Neither seems likely and, as it turns out, neither was necessary. “We have come to realise in older age that the more you forget, the less you remember”, says Mrs E-K “and it’s increasingly hard to recall what it was we were arguing about especially when you realise that by setting aside our differences and working together we can both make a lot more money”. Mr Street agreed, even going so far as to suggest that “allowing Mrs E-K the freedom to write the book and add my name to it, was a stroke of genius on my part. I don’t even have to defend any of the remarks attributed to me in the book, since I didn’t make them and I haven’t read it”.
"Spending money I didn't earn is the socialist way", he went on "so no principles have been compromised and no milk spilled"; whilst Mrs Endersley-Kindersley was quoted as saying: "Speaking for others whether they agree or not has always been my modus operandi and it was kind, if rather untypical, of Mr Street to just let me get on with it. I believe I can say that I have spoken for us both, especially in the chapters on exploiting one's position to the full, bending the rules, dodging the Exchequer and avoiding intrusive scrutiny".
So far, so unremarkable then. But what will seem mystifying to some is that Mrs E-K herself seemed a little shaky when it came to detailed knowledge of the book's text. After telling journalists that the manuscript had been submitted by a third party some time ago - "certainly long ago enough to make absolute accuracy of recall an unrealistic expectation" - Mrs E-K returned to signing several dozen copies and rubber-stamping Mr Street's signature, prior to a Threadstone's "virtual" public appearance.