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26 February 2014

The NS Competition No 4312

By New Statesman

Set by Ron Bille
You were asked to say how different individuals might see utopia – in their own words.
 

This week’s winners
Wow! What a range of people, from Terry Riley to Dylan, from Wordsworth to Pam Ayres (both entries in verse!), from Saki to José Mourinho, from Daniel Defoe to Samuel Beckett . . . Hon menshes to Charles Curran for Henry Ford (“Where every decent, hard-working family can take a trip to a park, go shopping in another town or visit relatives without waiting for a train!”) and Josh Ekroy for Beckett (“A beginning and ending light flits, and dark spreads over my bicycle my noose my unforgettable carrot, my trousers”). The winners get £25 each, with the Tesco vouchers going in addition to Brian D Allingham.

Michael Gove
My utopia will be constructed through a perfect, smooth-running system.

From the age of two, every child will be enrolled in the institution most suited to its parental background of income, status and political compatibility. Examinations for all but the top strata will serve purely disciplinary purposes, but for worthwhile candidates they will identify future leaders and keep the rest in proper subservience. Obedience will be legally enforced both for parents and for offspring, using privatised correction centres run by trained (or, for the lesser orders, untrained) professionals. It will be wonderful. At last I will appear in my true power and dignity.

I am not a pipsqueak. I will make their pips pop. Pops squeak. Squeaks stop.

The glory of utter silence – nothing but the voice of authority, ie, me. Move over, Plato, Pluto, whatever your name was. Shut up, Michael Rosenburg. My gloved hands are loved. Goved. Omnipotent.
Alison Prince

Tony Blair
Utopia? I’m living that dream now, in a very real sense. I’ve fought a holy war – yes, God was on my side, and my success has been crowned, as UN envoy to the Middle East. Look, I’m listening; and listen, I’m looking – for ways to share my visionary plans. I owe it to the British people. And let me say this; I’ve had to make some tough choices, but finding myself in this state of perfection, I feel the hand of history on my shoulder as I travel around the world in a private jet to offer advice and to set up lucrative deals with oil-rich governments. That’s the sort of guy I am. And I can feel proud. You know why? People listen to me; at the rate of £6,000 a minute – that’s about £100 a word. So this speech is costing you £15,000. Welcome to my utopian world.
Sylvia Fairley

Nancy Mitford
What one chiefly wants in one’s very own utopia are agreeable companions. One’s sisters should always be available as they are so good at teasing and shrieking, which is very important. But perhaps not Unity and not every day. The ability to turn them on and off, as required, would be marvellous. One’s companions should, of course, be terrific Hons, with a complete command of what is U and what is non-U. It is too, too beastly to have people asking to go to the toilet and using notepaper.

But above all, there must be a continuous supply of people to talk about, which means that Evelyn and Violet will have to be resurrected, if only to be good sources of gossip.

Farve would also have to be resurrected, of course, to stand guard against the tidal waves of foreign fiends and sewers generally and keep them away from ONE.
Brian D Allingham

David Frost
Hello, good evening and welcome to David Frost’s utopia, the state that’s not run by a Party, but as a party. The champagne is on ice, the canapés to hand and the speech free so long as it’s dialogue. So, without further introduction from me, here are further introductions from me. Ali Khamenei, meet Russell Brand. Ah, Richard Dawkins, you must meet Justin Welby. Because in David Frost’s utopia, the convivial synergies of social intercourse replace speechifying and theorising to form a collaborative government by mutual consent which revolves around your urbanely impartial host for the duration. Should conflict arise, I’m on hand to defuse it with an acute question or a witty one-liner devised by David Frost’s utopia’s standing (not to mention staggering) army of comedy writing talent. And when I’m no longer here in person to put partygoers at their ease? Ed Miliband, meet Jeremy Paxman . . .
Adrian Fry

The next challenge
No 4315 By J Seery

With an eye on the RSC’s latest production of “Wendy and Peter Pan”, you are asked to send in an excerpt from a play on Mr Pan by a playwright of your choice.
Max 150 words by 13 March
comp@newstatesman.co.uk

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