One never hears about the little Britons
Partial text of speech delivered by Sir Roderick Johnson, Conservative MP for Greenhill and Woodside, Greenhill Town Hall - 21 July.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this will be the first in a series of lectures I shall deliver throughout the country during the course of the coming year. In these lectures, I intend to tell the truth and I shall not spare the blushes of the powers-that-be as I do so. I appear before you today to tell you why I think things are as they are. Or rather, I am here to provide some clues.
“For decades now immigration has been the thing that has most concerned the British people. When the foreigner first began coming here en masse, the existing inhabitants made it very clear that they did not want him to do so. In the nineteen fifties opinion polls consistently said that 90 percent of us wanted all immigration stopped. The politicians took no notice then; they take no notice now. (Applause)
“They say that the immigrant is needed to do the jobs we don’t want to do any more and to fill skill shortages. However, if there is such a thing as a job we don’t want to do any more, the prisoner should do it, as part of his rehabilitation. (Applause) The students could also help gather in harvest during their summer break. This would provide them with some much needed cash and, at a time when the decision makers have determined to bleed our children white, they certainly need it.
“As for the politicians’ assertion that immigrants are needed to fill skill shortages, well, who was it that created the shortages in the first place? Over the years successive governments have encouraged the most skilful elements in our society to depart these shores. As of June 2009, of Australia’s total population of 22 million people, 1.2 million were born in the United Kingdom. That is where our skills went, ladies and gentlemen. Many here will remember how they told us we could have a nice house and a good job in Australia for just 10 shillings. That’s all it cost to get there under the government-assisted scheme. At the same time as they were encouraging us to leave, they were summoning the alien millions to take our place. (Applause)
“Some of those who left for the former colonies had little choice in the matter. In July 1998, the BBC told us this: ‘Thousands of children were sent with government approval… to Commonwealth countries... The children were classed as orphans but most of them were not. They came mainly from poor families or were born to unmarried mothers. Once abroad, they were frequently used as cheap labour or became the victims of physical or sexual abuse… In the period 1947-67, some 7-10,000 were sent to Australia alone... Some of the children were as young as three and many were sent without the knowledge or permission of their parents. The migrants were frequently told that their parents were dead and were given new names and even birthdays… They were often placed in large, isolated institutions and could be subjected to harsh, ‘sometimes intentionally brutal’ regimes of work and discipline… MPs heard harrowing accounts from victims of the policy, including people who had been raped, beaten and given inadequate food and clothing.’
“So here we discover that, at a time when the British people were being told to ‘pity the poor immigrant,’ those who were instructing us to pity him, were piteously deporting the most vulnerable members of the indigenous population. ‘MPs said they had no doubt that there was ‘widespread and systematic sexual and physical abuse… Some of what was done was of a quite exceptional depravity, so that terms like ‘sexual abuse’ are too weak to convey it.’
“Up to 1967, the British government and the do-gooders of the time had cast off more than 130,000 unwanted children during the course the previous century. The expulsion of our little boys and girls had begun as early as 1619 and I can assure you, that the majority of those expelled in the next three hundred and fifty years did not go willingly. A great many were kidnapped and many ended up little more than slaves. That is an aspect of slavery most of us know little of. One never hears about the little Britons, abducted and deported pseudo-judicially and then sold into slavery and degradation in foreign fields…”
“I like the moustache, boss,” said Steve, through a mouthful of cheeseburger. “Suits you.”
He was worried at first and had to half carry him up the road to the newsagents but he recovered quickly after he’d swigged some undiluted Ribena and now you wouldn’t have known there’d been a problem. He wanted to know how he had happened to be there when he was sorting out the black chaps. He told him that he had been watching Surrey Quays station since eleven. Saw him arrive, saw him leave. Followed him down the road.
“Mmm, bit of luck that.” He didn’t reply. “I don’t know what ‘appened back there, boss. Just felt a bit woozy for a minute. You won’t tell nobody, will you?”
He wanted him as normal as possible before they went to the auction and he reckoned a few lagers would just about put him straight. And he could explain what he needed in the pub.
“So your chicken shop is where your coon gets ‘is drugs from. I wonder why I never ‘eard of that before? What do they call a place that sells chicken then? A Kentucky I suppose.
Not being funny or nothin’ but you’re a bit blotchy, boss,” he said, as they made their way out. “Look like you’ve been in a fire or something”.
“I had an accident.”
“You could audition for ‘ammer ‘ouse of ‘orror with a mush like that. My pullin’ days would be over if I had an accident like the one you had.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Stephen.”
“You’d have to be blind to think you was beautiful right now, boss. You look a bit like a zombie what’s been blow-torched.”
“Listen, the cops are looking for somebody who doesn’t look like his face just fell out of an elephant’s arse! I promise you, there is no one in the whole wide world happier to look like the elephant man than me at this moment in time. Got it?”
“Keep your ‘air on, boss. I was only sayin’.” He kept his trap well and truly shut for the next five minutes, which was probably a record. Eventually he said: “There’s something I’ve got to tell you, boss. It’s about John.”
The powers-that-be had used the fact that John had served time to search his place and they’d found an old sawn-off shot gun under the floorboards. Anyway, he’d been given five years and they banged him up with a big, black faggot. When he started coming on strong John gave him a pasting, which didn’t suit the governor at all, and consequently he got ambushed soon afterwards by four muscle Marys. Apparently, they’d enjoyed their designated task a bit too much and John had been in the infirmary for the last two weeks.
“We’ve got to get him out, boss,” said Steve earnestly.
He wanted to know why he hadn’t been told. Steve was underneath a van, giving it the once over.
“I didn’t find out ‘e was inside meself till a few days ago. And I don’t think anybody else knows ‘e’s banged up.” He heard the boss grumble and changed the subject:
“The VW’s the one for you.”
“Why do you say that?” He fancied the roominess and look of the Sundance.
“This big sod’ll cost a bomb and it ‘asn’t got tinted windows. So the fuzz and the nosy parkers can see in.” He knew Steve was right but he’d fallen in love with the bigger vehicle as soon as he’d seen it and he thought he deserved a bit of comfort after all the messing about.
“Yes, well, the Fiat stands out, don’t it? You’re going to have every last enthusiast wantin’ to chat you up and swap details. The VW is a just roomy panel van really. It’s not gonna get noticed.”
He said nothing. Steve was enjoying himself. He wasn’t ever going to win Mastermind but he knew everything there was to know about motors. “And besides, you’re a crap driver,” he tittered.
“I’m not that bad,” he replied without much conviction.
“You couldn’t handle something this big. And it’s not an automatic. You’re useless wiv’ gears I’ve noticed.”
Reluctantly, he took his advice and they picked up the VW for a song. Steve had sussed out the owners before the sale and offered them £5,000 cash, which they were pleased to take, even though it could have fetched two grand more in the sale, there being plenty of hungry-looking Poles and Pakis about. But, your Pikey is generally pretty reasonable when it comes to a deal, especially when the deal has fallen off the back off a lorry. And both parties went away happy without any paperwork having been produced or signed.
“I can’t get used to that moustache. You look like Viva Zapata. Yeah. Viva Zapata meets the Sunburned Zombie! I didn’t know who you was at first.”
“They’re looking for a bearded bloke. When they’re not looking for the clean-shaven chap.”
“You used to be an actor, didn’t you? You in any films or anything?” He asked Steve to stop at a chemist. “No, you’re all right. I’ve got this nurse.”
“You sure?” He was doubtful.
“Definite. It doesn’t hurt much neither. You done a good job earlier. It’s my first war wound. ‘Ere, didn’t Hitler want to be an actor?”
“That’s it. They wouldn’t let him be one and it pissed him off so much he decided to be a Fuhrer instead! That’ll teach the fuckers! Keep a good man down, next thing you know you’re in a concentration camp or getting’ your ‘ead chopped off!”
“When will you see this nurse? It’ll need looking at pretty soon.”
“I’ll ring her up now if you want.”
“Find somewhere to park then,” said the man. Steve snorted and slowed to a stop. The boss was a real old woman for a mass murderer.
As soon as Alice heard about Steve’s war-wound, she was up for a bit of Jill’ll-fix-it and she said she’d be over right away. Steve told him and he said they’d better get him sewn up before anything else. He’d wait in the van until she was finished. Steve gave him one of his wide-eyed innocent looks. The man looked back.
“She might be expectin’ a bit of a reward.”
“You’ve got more money in your pocket than you’ve had in your wallet in ten years,” he replied. “Have a look.” Steve drew the wad out of his pocket.
“Jesus! Where’d this come from?” Steve looked blank. Then he remembered. “Right. This my wages, then?” He nodded. “Brilliant. We must do this more often.” He laughed. “Thing is, boss. Sorry. I wasn’t talking about ‘er wantin’ cash or anythin’. If you catch my drift.”
“Oh right. And how long will that take?”
“Well, you know ‘ow they are.”
“Never mind. Go get yourself sorted out and I’ll park up and have a rest. I was going to give you some target practice but, judging by today’s efforts, you don’t need it.” Steve liked the sound of that and didn’t stop smiling until he got out of the van at Gospel Oak. The boss wanted to know if he’d got anything on that week.
“You kiddin’? The effin’ Poles ‘ave nicked all the work. Apart from in Golders’ Green. The Kikes can afford to pay for a proper job.”
He told Steve not to let what happened bother him as the bad guys were at war with the good. They made arrangements to meet the following day, shook hands and he stuttered off in his second-hand camper van at a second-hand camper van kind of pace. Steve shook his head as he watched him go.
‘Absolutely diabolical,’ he thought. He walked up the road, found a launderette and put some money in the phone. “Alice? Change of plan. ‘Ow’d you like to spend the night in a five star?… See you at six outside St James’ Tube… And don’t forget your bag of tricks, I’m a wounded ‘ero, remember? And wear your best frock!”
Steve thought he deserved a night out after today. And besides, he didn’t want the bother of losing the tail again tomorrow. Which he’d have to do if he went home. Have to buy a new jacket though. Look like the Tango man in this kaftan. He thought about Alice on his way to Camden. Smashing tits. And that plummy accent. He did love a bird with a plummy accent.
Beresford Barnes was enjoying himself. Mohammed was standing in front of his desk begging for a favour. Which he wasn’t about to grant. Not in a million years.
“So, this family get together…”
“Funeral, sir… they’ve roped me in you see”…
“Roped you in? That sounds a bit disrespectful of the dearly departed, Mohammed.”
“Oh no. It wasn’t meant to be but, honestly, they can get along perfectly well without me. And I’m sure Uncle Anwar wouldn’t want to interfere with the successful outcome of this case.”
“Are you saying you don’t think the rest of us mere mortals can successfully resolve this case without your input?”
“Oh no, sir. Not at all. It’s just that I thought I could go up and keep watch personally. I mean, I’m sure it will be really boring but, well, boring stuff is right up my alley and I’d be more than happy to do it.”
“Don’t you think it would be far more efficient if an officer or two from the local force kept an eye on things?” Abdul didn’t like the way this was going. He was struggling to find the right words.
“They might miss something, sir, that’s all. Me being so intimately acquainted with the case, I would hope that I’d be alive to every last detail.”
“So, you’re worried that the policemen of the Trent division aren’t up to the job? That’s a bold assertion, Mohammed.” Abdul shook his head. “How would it look if I told the Chief Constable you thought his lads weren’t up to it?” Abdul was horrified.
“I didn’t mean it like that, sir!”
“Well then, stop worrying. Let them do their jobs and we’ll do ours, eh?” Barnes rose from behind the desk. “That will be all, Mohammed,” he said amicably, as he ushered a reluctant Abdul out of the door.
Abdul ignored the suspicious-looking letter on the mat until he left for work and waited until lunchtime before opening it. It was an invitation to the funeral and the reception afterwards. And then it clicked. He would be expected to attend the funeral on the same day that he wanted to be at the Carlham churchyard waiting for the killer!
‘This cannot be happening!’ he raged, banging his head on the desktop in frustration. Detective Constable Linley, who was gorgeous, came over and wanted to know if everything was OK. Embarrassed, he assured her that it was. But it wasn’t.
Why did these things always have to happen to him? God was definitely a bully. Why did he have to pick on the little guy? Why couldn’t he pick on people who deserved to be picked on like Barnes and Tubber? Why did he spend his time trying to trip up the Norman Wisdoms instead of crushing the Hitlers and the Headhunters and the Auntie Najibahs underfoot?
God was a comedian, he knew that much.
Criminal Justice System Debate - House of Commons - 15 September.
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “This punitive bill has been designed to imprison, without benefit of trial, those whom most here would describe as having far right political beliefs. (Interruption) “The honourable member for Leyton accuses me, inaccurately, as is his wont, of having some sympathy for the person the tabloids describe as the Headhunter. I have no such sympathy. However, if a murderous psychopath happens to tell the truth, as with every other truth that has ever been told, I sympathise with the truth he tells. (Interruption) “I have never said that we should not condemn this man, of course we should. What I have said and will continue to say, until I find evidence to the contrary, is this: I have never, personally, been able to catch him out in a lie. Whether we like it or not, this person does not seek to deceive. (Interruption) “When this very bad man points out something out that embarrasses us we should not try to pretend he is lying. When the public discover that he is telling the truth and we are not, what should they think? A study of the truths he tells might enlighten some here as to why he does what he does. I recommend such to all those who heckle from a sedentary position. I give way to the honourable lady.”
Isabella Kahan: (Mersley) (Lab) “Is the right honourable gentleman seriously suggesting that this mass murderer is telling the truth when he denies the Holocaust?”
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “That would depends upon one’s definition of Holocaust denial.” (Interruption)
Mr Speaker: “Order! The House must calm down. Order! Such behaviour presents a bad impression to the public. Order! Perhaps Sir Roderick could grace us with his own definition of Holocaust Denial?”
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “Thank you, Mr Speaker. If a Holocaust Denier is defined as anyone who says that less than six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis in the second world war, then there are many Jewish notables who would fall foul of the definition. (Interruption) “The honourable member asks for proof and I am more than happy to furnish it. In the last episode of the Word at War, Lawrence Olivier tells us that five million Jews died in World War Two, not six. Would Jeremy Isaacs, the Jewish producer of that worthy documentary, be a Holocaust denier for having estimated the figure thus? In a very well received year 2000 book, the Jewish historian, Professor Norman Finkelstein, said something like this: ‘The Holocaust has allowed Israel to cast itself as a victim state and the most successful ethnic group in America has likewise acquired victim status. Considerable benefits accrue, such as immunity to criticism, however justified!’ (Interruption) “So the honourable member for Bassenthwaite dares to criticise an eminent Jewish personage. How very unlike him.” (Interruption)
Mr Speaker: “Order! The House must come to order! Sir Roderick Johnson.”
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “Thank you, Mr Speaker. The professor also said that the field of Holocaust studies is replete with fraud! (Interruption) “And it could turn out to be the greatest robbery in the history of mankind! (Interruption) “Remember, when you accuse me of dissimulation, you also accuse the good professor, whose scholarship I reiterate here!”
Mr Speaker: “Order! The House must come to order! The honourable member for Greenhill and Woodside is skating on very thin ice here.”
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “Really, Mr Speaker? I did not raise the subject. Others deliberately deflected me from the contribution I wished to make. Perhaps now I may get on? 102 days out of a Briton’s life for doing nothing wrong suggests to me we are no longer living in a democracy. (Interruption) “If a criminal has transgressed, put him on trial and find him guilty! If the proof of guilt is inadequate then get it! Test it in a court of law! (Interruption) “Have we really reached the point where little old ladies are to be locked up because the government deems them to be a security risk? Or, even worse, because someone here doesn’t like them? (Interruption) “Has the honourable gentleman forgotten that one such little old lady lost her life in similar circumstances recently? She had no criminal record and had led a blameless life, she just happened to be a member of the BNP. (Interruption) “I thank the honourable member for that particularly unpleasant contribution. Let the record show that, as far as he is concerned, all British Nationalists deserve whatever fate befalls them. I’m sure the six percent of the electorate whom the polls suggest may vote for a Nationalist candidate at the next General Election, and perhaps their relatives and friends, will be delighted to hear that an MP whose parents came here seeking sanctuary is so careless of their welfare!”
Mr Speaker: “Order! The honourable gentleman is well aware that such remarks are not in order!”
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “I apologise to the honourable gentleman. (Interruption) “No. I will not give way. I must proceed. We are now on the brink of incarcerating guiltless British people for three and a half long months! That’s how far this House has taken us down the road to the Big Brother state!” (Interruption)
Mr Speaker: “Order! We must not liken Her Majesty’s government to a mythical villain!” (Laughter)
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “14 weeks detention without trial is the law of the Stalins and the Trotskies! It is the law of Chairman Mao, Pol Pot and the totalitarian throughout the ages!” (Interruption)
Mr Speaker: “Order! Order I say! The right honourable gentleman must resume his seat!”
Sir Roderick Johnson: (Greenhill and Woodside) (Con) “It is the law of the Bolshevik and the Nazi!” (Interruption) “It is the law of the dictator whose will must not be questioned!” (Interruption)
Mr Speaker: “Order! The right honourable member must leave the chamber! Sergeant-at-Arms!”
Patsy drew her knees up to her breasts and dragged a pillow over her head. Everything was different now and she didn’t want to see her. The thought of explaining things to Rachel was awful. She couldn’t even begin to describe the Pandora’s box of emotions the experience had unleashed to herself, so how was she going to explain them to her?
She owed everything to Rachel. A high-flying BBC executive, she had dazzled and then seduced the university-bound 18-year-old. Shortly after their affair began she had, very much against her horrified parents wishes, been persuaded to up sticks and move to London to live with her seducer. She had foregone her guaranteed place at Cambridge for a career at the BBC and, with Rachel pulling strings in the background, she became a children’s presenter at 19, a presenter, alongside an over-the-hill rapper, of a pop magazine at 21 and a Radio 1 DJ and lead writer for The Melody Maker at 24.
They were both avid film and theatregoers and would attend every premiere, taking care, in the early days, to be escorted by a variety of high flying homosexual celebrities. This led on to a theatre column in The Guardian and appearances on various BBC2 arts programmes, including the talking head section of BBC2’s Newsnight.
Demonstrating unexpected insights and observations on that programme had seen her catapulted into the heady world of politics and, for the last three years, she had been the unofficial interviewee-friendly face of the BBC. At 33, Patsy was the youthful face of news and current affairs and she owed it all to Rachel.
But now it was over and she had no idea how she was going to tell her. She had been in the hospital for two weeks now and had managed, with the help of the doctors, to keep her at arms length. She hadn’t had to explain herself yet. And it wasn’t just that. The thought of any affection and closeness made her feel physically ill.
If Rachel had been there that day, she would have been killed or kidnapped. Still, he considered her a worthy second prize, seeing as she was a careerist who was happy to ‘butter up’ and promote the nastiest elements of British society’s top table. His opinion and treatment of her she could deal with. Rachel’s reaction to all of it was what worried her. She would not accept an amicable parting of the ways, she knew that. Rachel would cajole and sweet-talk and browbeat and, in the end, bully and threaten in order to keep what was hers. She was going to have to tell her she was having a baby. Her baby. Hers! Not his and certainly not Rachel’s to flush down some abortionist’s lavatory! She would have to tell her. But not today. Patsy pulled the pillow from over her head, pushed her face into it, and wept silently.
He left the track and pushed into the woods down a trail that was hardly there. Thirty yards in he unfolded the spade and stuck it firmly into the earth by the side of a fat-bodied oak. He turned over a couple of sods himself before Steve muscled in and took over. It wasn’t buried deep. Nine inches, no more. He gave it a tug but it soon became obvious he’d have to chip away at the sides to move it. His majesty was enjoying himself.
“Come on, Hercules. You youngsters these days. Not a patch on what we were.” He was enjoying himself. Steve was pleased to see it. About time he livened up. He gave it another tug on one end and he felt it ooze upwards.
“Come on, boss. Give us a hand. It’s bloody ‘eavy this”. The man shook his head, grinning. With two of them pulling it slid out easily.
Inside the oilskins and the black plastic bags there was a rifle that broke down into sections, three sawn off shotguns, a pistol, a revolver, a box of pepper spray canisters, two tasers, a laser light, a cattle prod, ammunition and an assortment of knives, knuckledusters, coshes and the like. There was also 16 sticks of dynamite, together with the fuses and timers to set them off. Steve was like Aladdin in his cave but the boss wasn’t about to let him play just yet and sorted out what he wanted before re-burying the rest. Both men were covered in earth and grease from the guns but the younger man wasn’t bothered about that.
“We gonna do a Guy Fawkes, boss”? Steve asked eagerly. He didn’t reply. Engrossed, he packed as much as he could into Steve’s haversack before turning to his own. As they walked back to the van he explained how they were going to get John out.
He’d settled on the most obvious and doable idea. Using his own address-finding discs and checking what he unearthed against a variety of free software on the Internet, he’d tracked down the address of the Governor of Bruton jail. After he and his family had been taken hostage, Steve, posing as an MI5 man, would enter the prison with him. The Governor would then clear the way for John’s release. He would be told that, if there were any slip ups, Steve would put a bullet in his brain and his loved ones would be executed.
He would have much preferred to do the job himself but with his face the way it was and the Zapata moustache (which he saw no point in giving up on yet) he just didn’t look like Military Intelligence. So Steve would have to go in. Which he was all for, of course.
“Piece of piss, boss. Are you sure I can’t say anythin’? ‘Ere listen to my lah-di-dah accent.” He listened and then looked him straight in the eye with that look he’d give you sometimes. Steve shrugged.
“OK. No talkin’. No problemo.” He knew he was no Lawrence Oliver but he had done drama at school, hadn’t he? Got a GCSE in it even. What was he worried about? Bloody old woman. Never mind. If he did as he was told, him and John might get out in one piece. ‘If not, I’ll die laughing and go down in a blaze of glory,’ thought Steve, as he dismantled and polished the spare CZ the man had given him for the third time that day.
They’d spent the night at a Best Western with Steve booking the rooms and him keeping well out of the way. Steve answered the door at 7.05, scrubbed up and ready to go.
“You seen this, boss? Quick, look!” The big thing on the news that morning was the rounding up, under the prevention of terrorism act, of 247 British Nationalists. Alan Chalmers’ government had managed to up the ante and now suspected terrorists could be held without charge for sixteen weeks. “A lot of good people will be in jail now.”
“Yes.” He was delighted. The more that the ordinary Brit was brutalised by the system, the more likely it became that the system would eventually be toppled. The newly imprisoned would have friends and relatives outside of Nationalism and these would take umbrage at their treatment. They would know that the majority were not criminally inclined, much less terrorists. And, in future, such people would pay more attention to what was really happening and spread the word when they discovered the facts for themselves. He shook his head and said it was a crying shame. He didn’t want Steve knowing what his true thoughts were.
And then it struck him. Steve couldn’t go back now. He’d be banged up on sight and, given his deliberate disappearing act, there’d be plenty they’d want to question him about. He was stuck with him. At least until he could get him and John settled in a squat.
“Every cloud has a silver linin’, boss,” said Steve. “Good publicity for us, don’t you think?”
“Perhaps,” he replied, wondering why every silver lining seemed to have a cloud.
They pulled to a stop in a Cricklewood side street where none of the lights appeared to be working. After collecting a few bits and pieces, they made their way to the house’s rear entrance.
“With a bit of luck this place might have a basement,” said Steve. He’d tarted up a nice few houses in this area and a couple of them were thus equipped. “You keep watch, boss. I’ll do this.”
It took him less than two minutes to gain entry and, though, there had been one or two snappings and crackings his nerves could have done without, the street’s remaining inhabitants didn’t seem to care. Steve led the way and, after a ten minute tour, pronounced himself satisfied. The fact that there was, indeed, a basement down below clinched the deal.
“We’ll be spending most of our time down in that basement. Do you think you can fix it up?”
“Has God got a long, white beard?” asked Steve, a bit miffed. “Course I can do it up. And when we get Johnny back, well, he’s an A1 plumber and what he don’t know about electrics ain’t worth knowing, I can tell you.”
Next morning, after Steve had fitted the locks, they got him kitted out with a suit, a shirt, a tie and a few more essentials. Then they bought a briefcase and a pair of shoes each and, by the time they’d crossed the river, both men were suited, booted and ready to go canvassing ten minutes ahead of schedule.
He had bought five different kinds of makeup from a Boots store and had done his best to make the facial scarring look less intimidating. It was better than nothing but not much better. Reluctantly, he decided that Steve would have to do the talking. They left the van in a cul-de-sac ten minutes walk from Camberwell Grove and headed off to meet the Adams family.
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