Closer inspection… revealed no youth, but a shrink-wrapped young man - who had forgotten to climb out of his lightweight suit before sending it to the cleaners. Or some kind of quantum leap in the field of headshrinking. The Minister looked like a ventriloquist's dummy - which, in a sense, he was: the latex exception that proves the rule. The rest of the Widow's gang split neatly into the Uglies (shifty, weasel-twitching Goebbels clones who breakfasted on razor blades and seven-week embryos) and the Bunters: smooth, fleshy, near-identical, bum-faced nonentities in Savile Row suits and bulletproof glasses. Apocalypse-resistant unflappables. The Uglies had lost ground recently, the time for cracking skulls was past. They were ennobled, sent to the city like feral cats. No longer the nights of broken glass, lycanthropes and zoo-rejects with burning brands: it was the mid-term era of soft sell, Brylcreem-condomed, safe-handed boys, and public men of conscience (and private fortune).This boy, the Minister, had been picked because he smelt like a political virgin: he was fresh, oven-ready, blatant with coal tar and Old Spice; bubbling enthusiastic, popping up everywhere with endorsements that kept him spinning him dizzily around the outer circle, never quite 'one of us', but very useful as a fag and disposable messenger… he remained, basically, a whipping boy, buoyant enough, and stupid enough, to deflect heat-seeking missiles from such entrenched citadels of the left as the Church of England, the Royal Opera House, and the Sunday Telegraph.
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