A hut somewhere in Syria. A group of men are sitting muttering among themselves in the semi darkness. Their faces are shrouded from view until the door opens on a blinding desert beyond. A dusty figure walks in. Silence. The man pauses and nods. He slowly unwinds the long scarf that has protected his soft white skin from the desert sand. Hey! Look who it is! It’s that handsome OWEN SMITH, Labour leadership candidate and part-time Alistair McGowan lookalike!
SMITH: Gentlemen. So good of you to see me.
ISIS LEADER: We might have our differences but we will always listen. After all, we’re not Corbynites!
The group laughs.
SMITH: So good to hear that. Well let’s get down to it, shall we?
He sits down opposite the men who we now know are the upper echelon of everybody’s favourite terrorist supergroup, ISIS.
SMITH: I’m here to see if we can’t resolve a few of our differences.
ISIS LEADER: Such as?
SMITH: Well, how about our starting with the fact that you keep killing people?
ISIS LEADER: We believe that only through the death of all infidels will we bring about the apocalypse.
The group mutters in agreement.
SMITH: Yes, about that ‘Apocalypse’. Could you moderate it a little?
ISIS LEADER: Moderate it?
SMITH: Yes. Make it a little bit less apocalypsy.
ISIS LEADER: Less apocalypsy?
SMITH: Why don’t we agree to call it the “first stage in a path towards a negotiated Apocalypse”?
ISIS LEADER: But we look forward to the end days when the blood of non-believers will run like a river…
SMITH: Yes, don’t mean to interrupt, but couldn’t you look forward to all inclusive end days which only become confirmed on the basis of a two thirds majority in a secret ballot of party members?
ISIS LEADER: But what about our river of blood?
SMITH: Would you accept a “drainage ditch of occasional bloody overspill”?
ISIS LEADER: Would we still be allowed to kill all infidels!
SMITH: Well, that would obviously depend on your definition of ‘infidel’.
ISIS LEADER: They are all that don’t follow the true religion!
SMITH: Well, there you go. Could we get you to be a little less prescriptive?
ISIS LEADER: Less prescriptive?
SMITH: Yes, a bit less ‘Len McCluskey’.
ISIS LEADER: Do you have any suggestions?
SMITH: I’m glad you ask. I’ve brought a list.
Opens his briefcase and hands over a list. The ISIS LEADER tuts as he reads it.
ISIS LEADER: No, no. This is unacceptable! We can’t be the world’s most feared terrorist organisation if we’ve promised to leave alone Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.
ISIS LEADER: I don’t care. Come the End of Days, the feet of the martyrs will crush your British cakes like the skulls of non-believers.
SMITH: Surely not Eccles cakes!
ISIS LEADER: Especially Eccles cakes!
SMITH: Well, you’ll never make friends with an attitude like that.
ISIS LEADER: We don’t want to make friends. We are…
SMITH: Yes, yes. I know. You’re ISIS. You really need to learn to stop repeating yourselves. Look, I’ve got the number of a simply wonderful PR firm who will teach you how to project yourselves much better. They’ll even teach you how to point by using a thumb and a knuckle…
ISIS LEADER: We point using the sword of divine justice!
SMITH: The sword of divine justice might get you so far but it won’t help you in a meeting with hard-nosed local party officials discussing membership rules. For that you really need a thumb and knuckle…
ISIS LEADER screams
SMITH: Perhaps I’m speaking to the wrong guy.
ISIS LEADER: I am the leader of ISIS. I make the decisions.
SMITH: Do you not have a more moderate wing led, perhaps, by a debonair man with a seductive Welsh accent and a real optimistic plan for the future of your movement?
Another of the men begins to raise his arm but the ISIS LEADER slaps it down.
ISIS LEADER: There is no optimistic plan. We are ISIS.
SMITH: Well, look. I’ll leave you my card and you chat about it among yourselves. If you change your mind, I’ll pop back and we can get this negotiated peace started, alright?
He stands and walks to the door.
ISIS LEADER: There will never be a negotiated peace, just an endless merciless struggle in which we lay ruin to the world until we have destroyed all that lies before us!
SMITH: Hey! Are you sure you’re not Corbynites?