These days, of course, the United States weilds the big stick as the self-appointed Guardian of World Democracy.Yes, children, but there was a time when Britain was truly Great and sending a gunboat actually stopped almost as many wars as they started.
The legacy of those times lives on for better or, mostly, worse all around the globe, but perhaps nowhere more poignantly than in London itself, once the centre of the universe, and now…
As jaded relics of former glory go, the clubland of Britain’s capital has gone further than most. Let us take a look through the windows of this fine old Victorian edifice. What do we find inside the hallowed portals of the Colonial Club?
Next to him, doing his best not to fall off his barstool while riding it like a motorbike (how droll) is a ChiP.
Delicately distancing himself fom tthe other two is the only occupant of the room to wear a suit. Royalty? No, far superior, it is a Chief Special Agent In Charge Of Chiefly Special Agents for the FBI. Slumming.
Their hosts for the evening are 2 pukka sahib types, as alike as peas in a pod. Perkins and Thompson, or possibly Thomkins and Person. They are doing their best to ignore the gin-fuelled mutterings of another Englishman, slumped in the corner of the bar. We will come to him later.
Meanwhile, let us listen to these Colonial Police Officers, for such is what they are, as they entertain their American cousins.
“Well,of course,” says Thompson (or Perkins), “there’s no question that you chaps do a wonderful job where you come from, but I doubt if you have any officers who could match Carruthers (or possibly Carstairs).
He was a sub-Inspector in my old outfit, the Kenyan Police, during the Mau Mau uprisings. He was in his Landrover with an Askari driver when they came to a native settlement where 50 Mau Mau terrorists were rioting and generally misbehaving.
Well, the driver braked so hard, the Landrover swerved into a ditch and before you could say , er, anything at all, the Askari was offski.
Carstairs was just about to write him a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident when the Mau Mau boys saw him, and one of them threw an assegai that ripped through his stomach and left his entrails spilling out on to the floor.
Did that worry Carrutherstairs? Not at all! He bent down, picked up his intestines, shoved them back in his stomach, drew his revolver and shouted, ‘Disperse, in the Queen’s name’
The Mau Mau were so stunned by his bravery that they all fled. That man’s a Superintendent in our Force now.”
Murmurs of appreciation from the visiting Americans, and loud belchings from the johnny in the corner.
“Pish and tush and similar,” cries Parkinsims. “Our Force has better men than that. Back in The Emergency we had a chappie in the Malay Police,
The native constables lost control and crashed the boat into the jetty so hard that they both went head first through the windows of the estate-manager’s bungalow.
Saunders immediately cited the lascar for breaking and entering, and was about to do the same for the Dayak (nothing queer about Saunders!), when the terrorists opened fire on him with sub-machine guns.
What do you think happened? They blew the top of his head off, and his cranium fell out on to the ground.
Was he bothered? No, sir!. Plucky young Saunders picked up the grey matter, dropped it into his skull, drew his pistol and shouted, ‘Disperse, in the Queen’s name’.
The terrorists were so afraid of this indestructible superman that they fled. Saunders is a Senior Superintendent in our Force now.”
Luckily for our sanity, we will never know what stories the Americans would have invented to match these heroic tales, because, just as they open their collective mouths, the drunk in the corner (remember him?) waves his glass at the others and says,
“You guys think you’re something special, don’t you? Well, let me tell you, I’m from the Royal Hong Kong Police, the finest force that money can buy, and we’ve got more than 100 guys in our Force with no guts, no brains, and they’re ALL fucking Superintendents.”