During the height of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’s reign of power a proclamation was issued in the cause of openness by the man himself to his beloved people, encouraging them to write in with any complaints or criticisms they had of his government in order that he might improve and make happier their lives.
Many enthusiastically responded to this kindly gesture. The government then took the resulting correspondences and made a list of all the names. These were all then arrested and those views considered dissident were immediately shot and the remainder sent off to spend the rest of their lives in forced labour camps.
Smith, an incongruous fellow is taking a stroll while wondering what to think about. He has tried thinking about the peace and tranquillity of the Finchley Road but had quickly got fed up with that and is casting around for something more sublime to engage his brain cells upon, when a police car draws up alongside him. The door of the car opens and the police gets out.
‘Excuse me sir,’ he says, ‘but do you mind telling me what you were thinking about?’
Smith feels this is rather invasive of his privacy but decides it wiser to go along quietly.
‘Well as a matter of fact,’ he says, ‘my mind at that moment was unusually blank.’
‘Blank,’ says the police. ‘Blank. Don’t lie to me. I know what you were thinking about. You were thinking about the Prime Minister weren’t you?’
‘No, no,’ answers Smith, ‘I wasn’t thinking about him at all.’
‘O yes you were,’ says the police. ‘You were thinking why does that over-privileged, pompous scumbag have any say about how to conduct the affairs of the country. Weren’t you?’
‘No really I wasn’t’, says Smith.
‘Yes you were,’ says the police sternly. ‘You were thinking you’d like to give him and his gang of dirty lying Ministers a good kick up the arse, weren’t you, particularly that bald headed crook the Minister of Work and Pensions who has the effrontery to deny any connection between the Government’s austerity measures and the rise in food banks.
‘No, no, says Smith. ‘I wasn’t thinking that at all.’
Don’t lie to me,’ says the police, ‘you were thinking that you’d like to take the whole lot of those oily self-interested creeps – tie them up on a long rope and drag them through the collection pond at a sewage-works. Come on now, be honest, that’s what you were thinking wasn’t it?’
Smith feels he must put up a better defence against these vile accusations. ‘No really, I wasn’t thinking that at all.’
’Alright then,’ says the police, ‘what were you really thinking about then?’
Now Smith is at a bit of a loss; desperately he racks his brains for something uncontroversial, and then a stroke of genius.
‘Football,’ he says hopefully.
‘Football!’ snorts the police. ‘Football? All right then who do you fancy for the cup?’
Smith hasn’t a clue. ‘Er, er, Barking?’ he ventures.
Now the police knows for sure that he is lying. ‘Look son,’ he says, (for even policemen are human), and now his voice is more kindly. ‘Have you never heard of the expression: “And the truth shall set you free?”
‘Yes I’ve heard that,’ says Smith.
‘Well go on then, say it.’ “And the truth shall set you free”.
Smith goes along with this. “And the truth shall set you free”. He replies dutifully.
‘That’s right son,’ says the police, ‘so be honest now, tell me what you are thinking.
Smith throws caution to the winds. ‘I’m thinking that you are the worst example of petty, bumped up officialdom I’ve ever come across and I’d like to put your head down a back-street public toilet and pull the chain.’ He says.
‘Get in the car! Get in the car, snarls the police.