The M’Ludgate Affair

Lake Michelle

Cape Town

The Lord Drone

Dear Drone

Despite my law suit against you being a “slam-dunk”, as Americans say, I have to inform your lordship that, much to my chagrin, I am forced to withdraw my libel complaint.

This outcome became, alas, inevitable following a conversation I had this morning with Angelina Ocasio-Cortez, the Mexican secretary to the law practice of Messrs Buttock, Futtock and Trumper.

I can only relate the events as told to me by Ms Ocasio-Cortez — understood with some difficulty, may I say, as I speak only Catalan.

Evidently the three partners met for Sunday lunch at the Down The Hole tavern, hard by Ludgate Circus, at which my action against your lordship was to be discussed. 

At around 9 o’clock that evening, however, police were called to the establishment to deal with an outbreak of fisticuffs between the three men, in which young Mr Trumper was punched several times and had to be taken to Bart’s Hospital for treatment.

According to Ms Ocasio-Cortez, both senior partners were arrested and charged with being drunk and disorderly, GBH and criminal damage to one leg of a wooden table. They are due to appear before Bow Street magistrates on February 9.

In the circumstances I have no alternative but to terminate Futtock, Buttock and Trumper and abort the court action.

I would emphasise that this is without prejudice to any law suit that may be brought against you by Mr Bert Brevier, Mrs Doris Brevier and Mr Fred Long-Primer for identity theft and breach of copyright in relation to the miscaptioned pictures. I understand they are presently consulting counsel, but have wisely declined to appoint my erstwhile legal team.

It seems the best outcome, old bean. I hope you will now be able to resume your clandestine, but so far unsuccessful, attempts to seduce Mrs Muldoon*, and I can return to feeding the birds.

Yours etc

RICK McNEILL

PS: Bart’s Hospital informs me that Mr Trumper has been moved from ICU to High Care and is holding his own, except when the nurses are looking.

*You’ll be hearing from my lawyers, Mr McNeill — Drone

EARLIER  ...

BUTTOCK, FUTTOCK & TRUMPER
Solicitors at law

McNeill v Drone
Subject: Fake news

The Lord Drone

 My Lord

 We refer to the addition to your website today of an offensive drawing of our client, Mr R McNeill, made many years ago by a person with thwarted ambitions to be an artist. 

This new attempt to mock our client represents, in our view, a serious escalation of the libellous insinuations already aimed at him, notwithstanding the casual and insouciant advice from your tame employee, Mrs Elvira Muldoon.

You should be aware that our Cape Town office have tracked down the actual persons who appear in the photographs which you mischievously miscaptioned. They are Mr Bert Brevier, an expatriate retired Daily Mail printer and his friend and former Natsopa shop steward, Mr Fred Long-Primer, owner of a boutique vineyard in the Cape winelands, and reputedly the 32nd cousin, twice removed, of one the Labour Party’s leadership contenders.

Mr Brevier’s wife Doris is also shown. She has confirmed she also took the picture of her husband during a pleasure trip on Table Bay.

In view of the overwhelming nature of this evidence, we strongly advise your lordship, in the exemplary tradition of the notorious gossip-monger Charles Grovel, to publicly admit to his manufacture and dissemination of fake news.

However, in view of your lordship’s past professional association with our client, we asked Mr McNeill if he had a further message to append for your lordship.

His answer was: “Tell Drone to do the right thing. And then, despite his short arms, he should dig into his deep pockets and make a donation to lessen the plight of distressed hacks, as we suggested. He can make this thing go away, or he can risk losing heavily at the hands of the fragrant Lady Hale in the Supreme Court. In the latter case I might be obliged to produce evidence of his long-standing and secretive relationship with flagons of ale. The choice is his.”

I am sir

Dreyfus J Futtock

Cocklecarrot! Where the devil are you man? Those colonial wallahs have been in touch again — Drone

MUCH EARLIER …

DRONE ENTERPRISES

Internal Memorandum

To: Lord Drone

From: Elvira Muldoon, (Mrs) Human Resources Director

Cc: The Editor

Date: January 12, 2020

My Lord,

At your request I have checked the personnel files and can confirm that Richard McNeill did work for the Daily Express in the 1970s-80s and attained the rank of Night Editor. (I attach a less than flattering caricature of him penned by someone called Nick Pigott).

Mr McNeill, who was considered a talented back bench operator, was one of a number of journalists from the colonies, including Australians and a New Zealander, permitted to work on the World’s Greatest Newspaper at that time.

He was thought to have been the perfect foil for the less than subtle broadsword wielded by someone called Lloyd Turner. 

Mr McNeill, who lived in Kent (Orpington comes to mind) wore flamboyant sideburns and a saturnine moustache and affected the waistcoats and bell-bottomed trousers which were en pointe in those days.

I am confident that your lordship has received excellent legal counsel but it seems to me that Mr McNeill’s “case” is as flimsy as a Daily Star news schedule and I concur with previous advice that he should be told to Arkell off.

AN innocent picture published in yesterday’s Daily Drone has attracted the attention of lawyers.

The action followed the publication of the photograph which depicted a former Fleet Street executive, looking exhausted after celebrating too long and too hard as England trounced South Africa in the Cape Town test. 

The report added that he was believed to have been taken into “protective custody”.

The grim-faced journo, at one time Night Editor of the Daily Express, was pictured being ferried across Cape Town Bay to the notorious Robben Island where former South Africa leader Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.

The Drone’s other exclusive picture, showed the journalist, whom we have decided not to name, cavorting with Barmy Army pals.

Last night, however, the rumbling Rumpoles got in touch ...


Buttock, Futtock & Trumper
Solicitors at Law

The Quad EC4

The Lord Drone

 RE: Barmy Army victory celebration shock.

My Lord

We act for Mr R McNeill of  Lake Michelle, Cape Town, in relation to the above item, which was prominently displayed on your otherwise esteemed website on 11/1/2020.

The item featured pictures of bibulous British supporters celebrating the England Cricket Team’s victory over South Africa. They were accompanied by text which claims they showed “a former Fleet Street executive, who celebrated long and hard. . .” and refers to “the grim-faced journo, at one-time Night Editor of the Daily Express”.

On behalf of Mr McNeill, we wish to state, inter alia:

Our client is the only former Night Editor of the Daily Express residing in the whole of the Southern Cape Peninsula – and indeed all of Sub-Saharan Africa – and therefore, although not named, he was clearly identified as the drunken miscreant.  This despite our client not bearing the slightest resemblance to any of the persons featured in the pictures -- as the attached photograph testifies.

Our client is known throughout South Africa as a respectable God-fearing pensioner who spends his life doing charitable and community outreach work who has never drunk or smoked or interested himself in sporting affairs. 

At the time of the so-called celebration he was quietly gardening and feeding the birds at his residence 15 miles distant from the cricket ground.

This disgraceful and reckless linking of our client to boozing cricket fans is grossly defamatory. Justice requires, nay demands, a fulsome apology for this calumny, together a substantial donation in lieu of damages to one of the many homes for distressed hacks favoured by your lordship.

I am, sir

Dreyfus J Futtock QC


From the Lord Drone

Dear Mr Futtock,

Thank you for your letter which I would have forwarded to Sue, Grabbit and Runne if I had not put it on a window sill where it subsequently ‘blew off’.

I have passed your missive to the editor of my august organ. The gusts of hooting laughter I hear from the Daily Drone’s suite of offices (fully carpeted) should not be taken as significant with regard to this delicate matter.

While not wishing to prejudice any reaction we may have to your client’s submission, I would in the meantime refer you to the celebrated case of Arkell v Pressdram (1971).

I remain sir, peerlessly yours,

Drone


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