No vote


Headmaster Humptytrumpty smiled as he paced the floor, patting his top pocket.   “Right,” he said, “suited, booted and a pocket full of chalk.  It’s time to get rid of that useless, fat, flabby, miserable Matron!”

“Tuppence! TUPPENCE!” he shouted, as loudly as he could, “come here RIGHT NOW!”

Mr Two-pence-short-of-a-shilling, the Assistant Headmaster, came running up the back stairs as fast as he could.  “OMG, what now?” he thought.  “Yes Headmaster?” he said.

“I’ve had enough.  She has to go.  She has to go NOW.” shouted Headmaster Humptytrumpty.

“Ummm, who has to go?” asked Tuppence.

“Matron.  MATRON! That useless fat, lazy Matron that Bo appointed.  She costs too much.  She has to go, NOW, TODAY!” replied Humptytrumpty.

“Oooo, oh, er, is that wise?” asked Tuppence.  “You haven’t got a proper replacement for her yet.  Besides, you can’t sack Matron, only the Governors can.”

“Don’t argue with ME Tuppence!” shouted Headmaster Humptytrumpty, “If I say Matron goes, she goes.  I always get my own way.”

trump_5“Besides,” he continued, smiling, “if we don’t have to pay for Matron, then there’s lots more money to go into my big Piggy Bank for ME to spend.”  He rubbed his hands together in anticipation.  The smile turned into a grin.  “Now, run along, Tuppence and get everyone into assembly  right now, pupils, staff and Matron.  Especially Matron.  I’m going to tell them what’s what!”

Tuppence ran off to organise the assembly.  Humptytrumpty strode down the main staircase and into the School Hall where the whole school was sat in rows, waiting, big kids at the back, little uns at the front, Matron in the far corner.  Always curious, Little Effie of the Lower Third had, as usual, claimed the front row centre seat where she could see and hear everything.  Next to her sat her friend, Maurice Minor the tech whiz kid of the Lower Fourth.

Headmaster Humptytrumpty strode onto the stage at the front of the Hall.  “SCHOOL,” he boomed, “today I have a BIG announcement.  A very important announcement.  I’ve said it over and over before, and now the time has come.  After seven horrible years of Matron, (skyrocketing premiums and deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!  MATRON IS HORRIBLE!  She is big and fat and useless.  TODAY, MATRON IS OVER, FINISHED, GONE!”

Little Effie gasped, “But Sir, ooo, no Sir” she blurted, “not Matron!  Who’s going to replace her?”

Humptytrumpty ignored her completely, as is his habit when women speak,  “As from NOW,” he continued, “I’m ordering all of you not to get sick or fall over.  No more sickness.  No more falling over.  No more need for Matron.  Simples!”

“But Sir,” said Effie, “what about my friends with pre, umm pre-con, umm pre-cond …”

“Itions,” sneezed Maurice.

“Bless you, Maurice,” said Little Effie, “yes, pre-cond-itions, Sir.  My friend needs lots of treatment from Matron for his pre-cond-ition he’s had since he was a baby, it affects his breathing.

“Effie, you’re just a little girl, it’s all far too complicated for you to understand,” said Humptytrumpty patronisingly, “trust me, if I tell you you don’t need Matron, then YOU DON’T NEED MATRON!”

“But, Sir,” Effie bravely continued, “what about us girls?  Matron’s very good at healthcare for girls.”  All the girls nodded.

“ENOUGH,” shouted Humptytrumpty, “I’m fed up with you stroppy girls.  It’s time you learnt your place.”  With that he threw a piece of chalk at Little Effie.  Little Effie ducked.  The chalk flew past her head, over the top of the next few rows and hit Head Boy Altright Baboon right in the mouth, which, as usual, he had opened wide at just the wrong moment.  “Urggh,” spluttered Baboon, spitting chalk.   The girls laughed.

Headmaster Humptytrumpty continued his speech.  “Yes,” he said, “today,” he said, “I am going to the Swamp to talk to the Governors.  The Governors like me, they like me VERY MUCH.  They like me because I’M THE GREATEST HEADMASTER YOU EVER HAD.  And I’m going to tell them that Matron must go TODAY!  And because I’m so great, and because I’M ALWAYS RIGHT, they’ll get rid of her for me.”

Humptytrumpty strode out, ignoring Matron who was sat close to the door, sobbing quietly into her big white handkerchief.


He walked across The Big School playground, and headed over to the Cricket Pavilion (commonly referred to as “The Swamp” due to its proximity to the muddy stream that ran alongside the Cricket Pitch), stopped at the bottom of the Pavilion steps and shouted,

“Mumbler Ryan, get out here, I want you to fix a vote for me.”

Mumbler Ryan ran down the steps.  “Yes Headmaster?” he asked.

“Right,” said Humptytrumpty, “you’re the Leader of the Governors aren’t you?”

“Yes Headmaster,” mumbled Ryan.

“I want the governors to vote to get rid of Matron.  I want them to vote today, and I want them to vote Matron out.  Got it Mumbler?”

“Hmmmm, difficult,” said Mumbler Ryan.

“Shouldn’t be,” replied Humptytrumpty, “all you have to do is make sure ALL the Governors who sit on the right hand side of the swamp vote my way, INCLUDING those in sitting in the big comfy sofas on the very far right hand side.  Easy.  AND STOP MUMBLING.”

“Hmmmm, difficult,” mumbled Ryan.

“No excuses,” ordered Humptytrumpty, “if I say you fix a vote, then YOU FIX IT.  Got it?  GO!”

“Hmmmm, difficult” mumbled Ryan as he turned and climbed the steps.  Fortunately the day’s cricket had taken a break for lunch, so the Governors were all inside, eating.

Headmaster Humptytrumpty waited.  And waited.  And waited.  His temper was not improving.

Eventually Mumbler Ryan returned, slowly.  Very slowly.  “Hmmmm, difficult,” he mumbled, “No can do.”

“WHAT!” exclaimed Humptytrumpty, “No can do WHAT?!”

“Hmmmm, difficult.  Fix the vote.  No can fix the vote.  Can’t be done.  I tried, I really tried, but it can’t be done,” explained Mumbler Ryan. “It’s, hmmmm, difficult, difficult.”

“Spit it out man,” said an exasperated Humptytrumpty, “what makes it so darned difficult?”

“Well,” replied Mumbler Ryan, “it’s difficult.  They say it’s just not cricket.  They won’t agree.  Some want to keep Matron, some want a new Matron, and some don’t want any Matron at all.  So there’s no point voting.  But,” he continued brightly, “at least they’re all agreed on one thing.”

“Yes, and what’s that then?” asked Humptytrumpty.

“Your plan.  They’re all agreed on your plan as to how to replace Matron.  They ALL think it’s rubbish.”

“It’s what!”  Mr Humptytrumpty glowered at Mumbler Ryan.  “My plan is WHAT?!”

“Rubbish, pure, unadulterated rubbish.  RUBBISH!  All agreed.  RUBBISH.  No vote.  Governors say that YOU’RE A FAILURE.”  And with that, Mumbler Ryan turned and  walked back up the steps, pushing past the Governors who were heading back to the Cricket Pitch for their afternoon session.  “I hope they left me some lunch” he mumbled as he entered the Pavilion.


And what of Mr Humptytrumpty?  Well, children, I’m ashamed to have to say I’ve never seen Headmaster Humptytrumpty so cross.  He hates to fail.  First he turned pink, then brighter pink, then deep red, steam rose from his ears and his hair stood on end.  He stamped his feet and shook his fists, he yelled and he shouted.  He totally threw his toys out.*  He said it was Mumbler Ryan’s fault, then he said it was the Governors’ fault, then he said it was everyone else’s fault.  Then he said Matron would explode.  He wasn’t a pretty sight.

Poor Headmaster Humptytrumpty, he’s so embarrassed at being a failure, he’s not yet dared go back into The Big School, where all the children are still laughing at him.  He’s gone to sulk in his big beach hut by the sea.


Today’s lesson

So children, what do you think Headmaster Humptytrumpty has learnt today?

I think he’s learnt a lot:

Playing politics is much more difficult than building sandcastles.

You can’t win a vote by making threats.

It’s stupid to try to get rid of a good thing unless you have an even better good thing to replace it.

Girls need to be in control of their own healthcare.

If you want people to be on your side you need to talk to them yourself about why they should be.

Blaming someone else for your own failure doesn’t bring results.


*”Throw toys out of the pram” is to act in a childish and petulant manner.

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