A glug of home brew and the return of the rat, Jonny Bucknell’s final performance

THE jokes were a bit flat, weren’t they?, mused Jonny Bucknell after last night’s full council meeting. If he sounded deflated, maybe it was because this determinedly different and now deselected Conservative councillor had brought his full toy bag with him and still his captive audience of local politicians did not seem to get any of the gags.

At one stage, as if worried about this possibility, the chamber’s wildcard prefaced his upcoming lines with ‘this is the joke’. And here is that joke, the relevance to Camden is not quite clear:

How to treat a woman, tell her she’s beautiful, tell her how much you love her, buy her flowers, bring in income. 

How to treat a man, turn up naked and bring a bottle of beer.

Tumbleweed.

His only explanation for the sudden Chubby Brown routine was: “I’d generally like to go back to old-fashioned sort of values in society, bringing back, you know, femininity and chivalry.”

He tried to raise a smile with a Chinese proverb which councillors only seemed to be half-listening to, a giant golden hand at his desk – a reference to the fact he believes he isn’t called to speak by the mayor enough – and then the return of the remote control rat, his emblem for Camden’s reduced waste collections.

It was possibly funny once, but twice? Again, a little disheartened, he told the mayor’s desk that they could keep the clockwork rodent.

To end, he insisted ‘I’ll miss you and you’ll miss me’ before returning to his seat and producing a glass of his home brew wine. Be honest: Nobody in Camden looks like a man who brews his own wine more than Councillor Bucknell.

He asked people to ‘charge their glasses’, even though they only had plastic cups of water, to mark what he said was the end of his political career… and to toast the people of Camden.

Finally, the room properly applauded. In an affectionate way, I think.

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