Month: December 2016

Inside Finland’s Miracle

Tim Paramour

This week I had the privilege of travelling to Finland to find out what makes their world-beating education system tick- and what the UK could learn from their achievements.

As Finland slides into view, Paavo Piik, an Estonian theatre director I’m working with, smiles and gestures towards the coastline. “There it is,” he says, “the promised land!” To teachers all over the world, Finland has become a byword for getting it right in education. I’m exhausted after two back-to-back early mornings but that doesn’t dampen my excitement as our ferry approaches the end of its two-hour crossing from Tallinn and Helsinki takes shape in front of us. I’m halfway through my final term as deputy head at an inner London primary school and since I started teaching in the British system twelve years ago, and throughout all the frustrations that has involved, I’ve always wanted to come and see this…

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7 Principles for a Better Primary School Accountability Framework

Tim Paramour

The politicians currently dictating what happens in our schools have got it into their heads that they can raise standards just by making statutory tests harder. There is no evidence for this. They say we need to improve our position in global comparison tables such as those produced by PISA or the OECD. This would probably be a good thing to do: if our 18-year-olds were as good at passing tests as 18-year-olds in Finland, it would mean we were getting something right, even if it wasn’t the whole story. But even if you believe that improving our global ranking should be the sole aim of education policy in this country, then we are still going about it in completely the wrong way, and in completely the opposite direction to a country like Finland.

I’m a big believer that if you’re going to point out a problem, you will be able to do so far more convincingly if you can simultaneously offer a…

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A Brexity Christmas Carol Part 5- The End Of It

To start reading a Brexity Christmas Carol from the beginning, please click here.

Scrooge awoke in his bedroom. His bed was his own, the room was his own and, best of all, the time ahead of him was his own; time in which to make amends.

He ran over to the window and flung it open. A teenage girl in a hijab was walking past the house. “You!” He shouted.
“What do you want?” the girl called back, “Are you a paedo or something?”
“What day is this?” Scrooge persisted.
“What day?” the girl called back, “It’s Christmas Day.”
“I’m not too late,” Scrooge exclaimed, “listen to me little girl.”
“I’m fifteen.”
“Do you know the shop around the corner with the box of Scandinavian Christmas shit in the window?”
“You mean…the one as big as me?”
“That’s it. Fetch it for me, would you?”
“Why the fuck should I?”
“Because if you’re back within twenty minutes, I’ll give you fifty quid.” The girl looked more interested. “In fact, if you’re back with the store manager in ten minutes, I’ll pay all your university tuition fees.” The girl was off like a shot, and Scrooge rubbed his hands with glee as he turned his attention to getting dressed.
“I shall take it to Bożena’s house,” he declared to himself, “Oh, it’s the last thing she’ll expect!”

And sure enough, not an hour later, the doorbell rang at the Kratchowycz house and Bożena was stunned to see her employer standing on the doorstep, a stern expression on his face.
“Is there a reason you’re not at work today?” Scrooge demanded, glaring at Bożena with all the ferocity he could muster.
“It’s Christmas, Mr. Scrooge, you said…”
“Christmas?” Scrooge spat the word, “I’ve had quite enough of this, Bożena. And therefore,” he stepped over the threshold, “therefore I am going to raise your salary, buy this house for you and provide whatever you need to give Little Lena a long, happy and successful life.”
Bożena stood and looked at her boss in stunned silence.
“Merry Christmas, Bożena Kratchowycz,” Scrooge smiled warmly as the store manager from the Christmas Store came past with a huge red and white box, he himself having donned a Father Christmas costume in exchange for Scrooge paying off his entire business loan.
“Just a few gifts for you and your family,” Scrooge said.
In the box there was a big box of sweet buns. Scrooge explained that these were lussebullar, a Swedish tradition usually enjoyed during the festival of St. Lucia which took place on 13th December, there was a sauna-smoked ham from Finland and a full kit for making Glögg, a spiced Scandinavian mulled wine. There was Danish beer for the grown-ups and hand-crafted wooden toys for all the children: for Lena, a beautiful playset composed of beautifully painted wooden ducks.
“Father Christmas here was telling me about all these items on the way over here,” Scrooge said, “some of these foreign traditions are absolutely fascinating. There really is such a lot we can learn from our European cousins.”
“Thank you, Mr Scrooge,” said a bewildered Bożena, “I don’t know what to say, but please, come and join us for a while.”
“There is nothing to say,” Scrooge replied, “I have treated you appallingly in the past and this is the least I can do. But I would love to stay a while and then I must go and wish my dear nephew a merry Christmas. I promise things will be different from now on.”

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Little Lena, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good an employer, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, neglected seaside town or EU member-state in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them.

Many alt-right bloggers and UKIP Twitter trolls were dismayed to see their hero so altered. In the months that followed, Scrooge started attending rallies with David Lammy, AC Grayling and Anna Soubry. When a now deeply unpopular Tory government presented its deeply unsatisfactory Brexit plan to the deeply fed-up British people in 2019, pressure from Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, Tim Farron’s Liberal Democrats and Lisa Nandy’s reinvigorated Labour Party succeeded in forcing a second referendum. Scrooge was chosen to spearhead the campaign and he entertained Gary Lineker, JK Rowling and James O’Brien at a lavish party to which he invited all his employees on Thursday 25th June 2020: the night the British people voted, by a similar margin to the landslide referendum in 1975, to remain in the European Union.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits (huh) and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Little Lena observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

A Brexity Christmas Carol Part 4- The Last of the Spirits

To start a Brexity Christmas Carol from the start, please click here

Scrooge looked up. He wasn’t even sure where he was anymore- he was everywhere and nowhere. Everything was grey and gloomy and through the mist ahead of him a phantom approached. Dressed in long black robes and walking with a slow, eerie purposefulness, the figure began to take shape. As he came closer, Scrooge realised it was Alan Rickman.
“Are you the ghost of…”
“Shut. Up.” Rickman had come right into Scrooge’s face. “You know exactly who I am so don’t play dumb with me, fool.” Scrooge felt the spittle on his face from the ‘f’ of “fool.”
“It is you I fear most of all,” he stuttered.
Rickman considered this for a moment. “Hmm. I thought you might be expecting the last ghost to be David Bowie. Anyway, we have only a little time, little man. And a lot for you to see.”

Around him, some sort of award ceremony took shape. In front of Scrooge, a huddle of prominent Remoaners was deep in conversation in the aisle near the front of a vast auditorium.
“I don’t know much about it,” JK Rowling was saying. “All I know is, he’s dead.”
“What do you think he’s done with all his money?” James O’Brien from LBC asked.
“I don’t think he’ll be giving it to me somehow,” Gary Lineker remarked, “do you know if there’s a funeral?”
“It’ll probably be in one of his awful pubs,” JK Rowling said.
“I might go,” Lineker stated, much to the astonishment of the other two, “if lunch is provided!”
The Remoaners all laughed raucously and Scrooge sensed the scene around him changing again.

Now he found himself in the Kratchowycz house and the mood was far more sombre than it had been on his last visit. Just as Wogan had predicted, an empty wheelchair sat in one corner, now with papers piled on top of it. Janek was stirring a pot of soup slowly, a grim expression on his face, as Bożena walked through the door, wandered over to her husband and put a hand gently on his shoulder.
“I’ve found the place where I think we should scatter the ashes,” she murmured quietly. “It’s that spot in Grovelands Park. Near where she used to sit and feed the ducks.”
Janek lowered the heat on the hob, turned and embraced his wife. “That’s a lovely idea. She always loved those ducks.”
The other children came slowly and mirthlessly down the stairs and joined their parents in the kitchen.
“How are you getting on, my dears?” Bożena asked.
“We’re sad,” said the eldest.
“And you have every right to be,” Bożena told them, getting down on one knee and scooping up her three remaining children in her arms. “Life is a story of meetings and partings. And I know how hard it is for all of us dealing with this first parting among us. But we will remember Little Lena and, when we remember how kind and clever she was, it will remind us all to quarrel a little less and help each other out a little more.”
“It will, Mama,” her son replied.
“Remarkable courage,” Scrooged remarked, before turning to Rickman and asked, “Tell me, Spirit, are these the foretellings of that which must happen, or that which may happen only?”
Rickman paused before replying.
“You really are an awful cunt, aren’t you,” he said.

The mist returned and Scrooge found himself once again everywhere and nowhere. He followed Rickman, bewildered, until they reached an iron gate. He paused to look round before entering.
A churchyard. Here, then, the wretched man on whom those Remoaner celebrities poured such scorn, lay underneath the ground. It was a worthy place. Walled in by houses; overrun by grass and weeds, the growth of vegetation’s death, not life; choked up with too much burying; fat with repleted appetite.
Rickman stood among the graves, and pointed down to One. “Look.”
“Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,” said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”
Rickman merely sighed,
“Look,” he repeated.
“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!”
“Be. Quiet. And. Look.”
Scrooge crept towards it, trembling as he went; and following the finger, read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name, Brexiteezer Scrooge.
“No Spirit!” he cried, tight clutching at its robe, “hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the hate-filled old git I’ve been before any longer. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!”
Rickman just rolled his eyes, his face a picture of cynicism and boredom.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart,” Scrooge continued, “And try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”
“Oh, do stop talking,” Rickman said, “You’re saved. Go on, fuck off.”

Check out timparamour.com tomorrow for the final part of the story: The End Of It.

A Brexity Christmas Carol Part 3 – The Second of the Spirits

This is the third part of “A Brexity Christmas Carol.” To start the story from Part 1, click here.

To read Part 2, click here.

Scrooge ran to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. Just a dream, he assured himself. Just a very lucid, vivid dream. He wandered downstairs and decided to make himself a coffee. He sensed that further sleep would not come to him and if it did he feared the apparitions his fevered subconscious would send his way.

He turned the kitchen light on, reached for a jar of Nescafe and filled the kettle. He’d never seen the problem with instant coffee. He thought it ironic that so many of his younger employees moaned about not being able to afford their own home, but seemed perfectly comfortable guzzling expensive coffee all day. He decided to turn on the radio. He wanted to inject a bit of reality into this strange night his imagination had rendered with such fear and trepidation.

“Well it’s just coming up to 2am and I’m here to take you through the night.” A comforting Irish voice said as Scrooge stirred his coffee and opened the fridge to get the milk. “You’re listening to Terry’s Christmas Present.”
“Hang on,” Scrooge thought, “I know that voice… but it can’t be.” And then he realised the voice was no longer on the radio, it was coming from the front room. “Come on through, Brexiteezer,” the voice said, “come in and know me better, man.”
Scrooge grabbed his coffee and walked anxiously into the front room where, sat behind an enormous feast, Terry Wogan sat beaming.
“I’ve ordered a curry. I thought you might be hungry,” Wogan said with a broad smile.
Realising he was actually a little peckish, Scrooge tore off a fragment of naan bread and scooped up some chicken bhuna.
“And you are the Spirit of the Christmas Present?” he asked timidly.
“I suppose I am,” Wogan replied. “Here, grab my tie.”
Scrooge looked at the tie that Wogan had proffered. Its design comprised a big patchwork of European flags.
“It was a gift given to all the TV commentators at the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest.” Wogan explained. And as Scrooge placed his hand on the garment, he found himself transported once again, this time into the home of Bożena Kratchowicz.

Bożena’s husband Janek was cooking in the kitchen. The smell was delicious.
The front door opened and Bożena herself came in, pushing a wheelchair in which her daughter Lena, tiny for her six years, was sitting.
“I didn’t know Bożena Kratchowicz had a daughter with a disability,” Scrooge said.
“Did you ever ask?” Wogan replied.
Little Lena’s brother and sisters ran over and helped her to the dining table. Bożena helped her husband to serve the meal. “You should have seen her in Sunday School, Janek. You would have been so proud of her. She ends up sitting on her own all too often and has so much time to think. In fact she says the strangest things. She told me on the way home she was glad the other children could see her because it would help them think about the Christmas story- about a child who would grow up to help the lame to walk and the blind to see.”
Janek emerged from the kitchen with the meal’s main event: an enormous carp.
“Carp at Christmas?” Scrooge screwed his nose up.
“It’s a tradition in Poland,” Wogan replied, “I learnt that from one of my Eurovision pals.”
“It’s a wonderful feast, Papa,” exclaimed the Kratchowicz’s eldest daughter.
Janek shrugged, “Mama did all the shopping, and we couldn’t have afforded it without all the hard work she does at Featherspoons.”
“And that reminds me,” Bożena said, I want to raise a toast to my employer, the founder of the feast, Brexiteezer Scrooge.
Janek almost spat out his first mouthful of carp. “Founder of the feast?! That miserable old sod? He should be paying you double what you earn for all the work you do.”
“Well I think it’s a very nice idea,” Little Lena said. “He may be a bit unfair sometimes but that probably just means deep down in his heart, he’s very sad. I hope he has a very Merry Christmas. I say God bless us, everyone.”
Janek looked over at his daughter, his eyes glistening. “You’re right,” he said, choking slightly on his words and he raised a glass: “to Mr Scrooge. The founder of the feast.”
“Mr Scrooge,” the children all mumbled and they continued their meal.
“Tell me, Spirit,” Scrooge took Wogan aside, “what are Lena’s prospects? I mean, will she be able to grow up and…you know…live a full life?”
Wogan sighed. “She relies heavily on the NHS. If the UK goes through even more serious turmoil, the services she needs will be hit. Not only that, they don’t even know for sure they’ll be able to stay here after Brexit. They’re not British citizens and no one is guaranteeing their status.”
“And will the Polish health system be just as well-equipped to manage her condition?”
“Does it matter? She’ll take the strain off the NHS, won’t she?”
“But Spirit, you don’t think the little girl will die?”
“I am the Spirit of Christmas Present. I show you what is, not what will be. But I see the shadow of an empty wheelchair. Of a desolate house where laughter has been replaced with silence.”
“What can we do?” Scrooge asked.
“Well if she’s going to die, she’d better hurry up and do it. And reduce the world’s already out-of-control population.”
“Spirit, no. I didn’t mean…” But before Scrooge could get his words out the scene around him had changed again.

Now he found himself in the Ranelagh, in Bounds Green, North London. Of nowhere else could it be better said that it was the very beating heart of Lefty-Liberal Remoanerdom. Throughout the pub, packed tables of teachers, social workers, theatre technicians, academics, journalists and software designers drank and laughed raucously. It was exactly the sort of trendy modern gastropub Scrooge hated; the sort that had put old Fezziwig out of business. At one table he recognised his tedious Remoaner nephew, Phil. He was sitting with a group of smug, cheerful thirty-somethings and he had a rizzla stuck to his forehead. Something was written on it but Scrooge couldn’t see what. Phil had clearly imbibed generous helpings of some trendy craft beer. To Scrooge craft beer was just real ale that had been trapped in a Shoreditch fridge by some twat called Nathan.
“Ok, ok,” Phil was saying, “Am I a man?”
His friends nodded.
“Am I famous?”
“Semi-famous,” one friend replied, “you’re well-known in certain circles.”
“Am I someone we know personally?” Phil asked.
“He’s known to some of us,” was the answer, “And certainly to you.”
Phil thought about it for a moment, “Am I a kind person?”
There was a howl of laughter and a loud clamour of “No!”
A knowing smile crossed Phil’s face and he asked one last question: “Am I a happy person?”
There was another howl of laughter.
“As miserable as a twenty-five-year-old virgin listening to Radiohead on Clacton Pier in February,” one replied.
“As ecstatic as a Spurs fan on St. Totteringham’s Day,” said a smug gooner in a rollneck.
“I know,” Phil replied. “Semi-famous but not, by the sounds of it particularly popular. Well-off, one can presume, but still as miserable as sin. I must be my Uncle Scrooge!”
“Yes,” his friends chorused and Phil tore the rizzla from his forehead, looked at it and laughed triumphantly.

“Tell me, Spirit,” Scrooge implored, “Can the course of these events be changed at all?”
Terry Wogan shrugged, “I keep telling you. I am the ghost of Christmas Present. I don’t see the future. And I grow old.”
At that moment Scrooge realised for the first time that two children, a boy and a girl, were cowering behind Wogan.
“Spirit, are they yours?”
“They are humanity’s,” Wogan replied, “The girl is poverty and the boy is ignorance. It is they that have brought the world to where it is at Christmas in 2016. Fear them both but particularly fear the boy. An appealing lie is often preferable to an inconvenient truth and many, including you, would choose ignorance over what, deep down, you know to be the case.”

Looking at the children, Scrooge realised with horror that the girl had the face of Theresa May and the boy had the face of Nigel Farage. But, before he could make sense of this, both the children and Wogan were gone.

Check out timparamour.com tomorrow for the penultimate part of the story: The Last of the Spirits.

A Brexity Christmas Carol Part 2 – The First of the Three Spirits

The Brexity old miser Brexiteezer Scrooge has been visited by Zac Goldsmith and warned of a visitation by three spirits who will seek to save his soul. To go back and read the first part of “A Brexity Christmas Carol” please click here

Scrooge went to bed and set his alarm for 7am. Just because the lazy foreigners he employed wanted to waste a perfectly good working day, he wasn’t going to let an opportunity for a bit of quiet work in a deserted office pass him by.

He was quite sure now that the incident with Zac Goldsmith was some strange hallucination; a flight of fancy brought about by a rogue piece of meat infected with some sort of foreign bacteria. Nonetheless, he felt a certain sense of unease as he lay in his bed, still wrapped in his dressing gown and wearing one of the promotional floppy St. George’s flag hats his pub had given away to its customers during England’s characteristically imperious display in the European football championships. He was unable to sleep and kept turning anxiously to watch as the big digital clock display beside his bed flickered inexorably toward 1am. When the hour came, Scrooge breathed out.
“There,” he whispered to himself, “nothing happened, did it?”
“Nothing at all,” replied a familiar-sounding voice. And there, standing by the open window, through which a bitter gust of wind was billowing into the room, stood Victoria Wood.
Scrooge jumped from his bed in terror. “What?! How did you…”
“Well don’t look so surprised,” Wood interrupted, “Zac Goldsmith told you I’d be coming, didn’t he?”
“He…”
“You know Zac Goldsmith would actually be faintly shagable if he weren’t such a self-absorbed, jumped-up little prick. Anyway, come on Misery Guts. We’re going.”
“Going?” Scrooge replied, “going where?”
“The past,” she replied.
“How do you mean?”
“Well, your past to be precise,” and she gestured towards the window.
“But Spirit, I cannot go out there. I am but mortal, and liable to fall.”
“Then take my hand,” Wood said, not unkindly and, as Scrooge placed his hand in hers, he found they were no longer in his draughty bedroom, but in a school room. The walls were bare, the individual desks wooden and rickety.
“I know this place,” Scrooge murmured, as he watched a class of children working silently on a grammar exercise, just as children in a school should and just as they had started to again thanks to that brilliant Mr. Gove. “They seem unsurprised by our presence.”
“They can’t see us,” Victoria Wood replied.
“This is my school,” Scrooge said as it suddenly come flooding back to him.
“You remember it?”
“Remember it? Oh, but Spirit, I could walk these corridors blindfold. But it’s impossible. It was sold off by Margaret Thatcher in the 80s. I built one of my pubs on the old playing field.”
“This is 1952,” Wood said, “Margaret Roberts hasn’t even entered parliament yet.”

The bell sounded and the children filed out into the playground, but one boy stayed behind, keen to finish his work.
“That boy, Spirit,” Scrooge said in wonderment, “that’s me! And that’s my old teacher, Captain Archer.”
“A soldier, wasn’t he?”
“Most men of his age were. He’d fought in both world wars. A hero.”
Captain Archer stood beside Scrooge’s younger self, stiff as a board but smiling kindly.
“Don’t you want to go and play with the other children, Scrooge?” the teacher asked.
The boy shook his head awkwardly, “I want to get this finished,” he replied.
“Is there a problem with some of the other boys?” Archer asked.
Scrooge watched himself and felt a stirring of emotion he rarely felt at his age. “Such a lonely child.” He murmured.
“He’s only seven years old and he lives in an austere world,” Victoria Wood said, “but it’s going to get better. The NHS is only a few years old. From here onward, Britain enters a whole new phase of its history as it emerges from the carnage of two world wars. Social attitudes will relax and a whole new attitude to society will spread throughout the country, demanding support for the vulnerable and security for everyone in old age. The bullying you were suffering then would never be tolerated in schools now. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get away with most of the jokes I told in 1952.”
Scrooge grunted, “you forgot to mention the uncontrolled mass immigration making us feel like foreigners in our own country.” He looked over to the portrait of Winston Churchill behind Captain Archer’s desk, “he’d never have let it come to this.”
“I don’t know about that,” Victoria Wood replied, “in 1946 he made a speech in Zurich calling for a United States of Europe. Across the channel now, the first countries are making plans to form the European Coal and Steel Community, the organisation that will one day become the EU. Our Prime Minister Mr Churchill is very supportive. The whole continent is scarred by war. For these people a united Europe is a utopian dream, not an unwanted burden.”
Scrooge looked back over to his younger self, avoiding his teacher’s questions about his plans for Christmas. He’d had enough.
“Show me a happier Christmas, spirit.”
“Gladly,” Victoria Wood replied and took Scrooge’s hand again.

An instant later they found themselves outside a large red-brick building in an industrial part of a large city. Everywhere he looked there were passers-by with big hair, flared trousers and garments striped or chequered with inadvisable combinations of orange and brown. The building in front of him was festooned with Christmas decorations and from within the sound of “Merry Christmas Everybody” was audible. Following Victoria Wood into the building, Scrooge realised where he was. This was Fezziwig’s Brewery.
“This is Fezziwig’s Christmas Party! This is the year I became the regional manager” Scrooge said excitedly and quickly spotted himself, thirty years old and still with a full head of thick black hair. “Why oh why, when I still had so much hair on my head, did I insist on that awful mullet?” he asked Victoria Wood in wonderment, and then something else caught his eye: it was his old employer. “And there’s dear old Fezziwig himself! Bless his heart- it’s Fezziwig alive again!”
“It’s 1975,” Victoria Wood replied. “Britain has just voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EEC.”
“Yes,” Scrooge replied, “I voted to remain myself. But we just wanted a trading and customs union, not all these damn regulations.”
“It was always perfectly clear about its aims. These are hard times for Britain: our empire has disintegrated and we’re struggling to understand our place in a changed world. After frequent power cuts, a three-day week and rolling strikes, European commentators have started referring to us as the ‘sick man of Europe.’ But all of that will slowly start to change.”
“That’s quite enough work for today, folks,” Fezziwig called out to his staff. “These aren’t the easiest times for a business this size but the brewery has had a pretty good year all-in-all and it’s time to celebrate!”
“Such a gentle soul,” Scrooge remarked. “Too gentle for the world we live in now. Fezziwig’s Brewery went bust in the noughties and all its branches got turned into high-end flats and trendy gastropubs.”
Scrooge’s younger self was deep in conversation with a young woman.
“Belle,” the name caught in Scrooge’s throat.
“She was French, wasn’t she?” Wood asked him.
“She was. Such a beautiful, funny…oh Spirit, show me no more.”
But in an instant the party and the brewery had disappeared. In its place was Albert Square in central Manchester. Decorations adorned an impressive Christmas tree in the centre of the square and Scrooge’s younger self was sitting with Belle, both warmly wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves.
“It’s a job with the Guardian,” Belle was saying, “it’s an opportunity I really want to take. Can’t you start your own business from Manchester?” Her breath was visible in the cold December air.
“No,” Scrooge’s younger self replied, “It must be in London. Our projected profits would be 25% greater.”
“Bloody London,” the elder Scrooge growled, “bloody Guardian.”
“Then I don’t know what else to say,” Belle said softly.
“We said we’d get married,” the younger Scrooge replied, “And get a mortgage on a property. We always said that.”
“We said that when we were both poor, and contented to be so until we found a means to combine our happiness and good fortune. But you are a man changed, Brexiteezer.”
“But I’ve found a wonderful semi-detached house in Whetstone,” the younger Scrooge protested. “It has a long lease, a garage and a half-convincing mock-Tudor frontage.”
“I’m sorry, Brexiteezer, it’s over.”
“Take me home, Spirit!” Scrooge exclaimed, realising he had tears in his eyes, “Why do you delight in tormenting me?”

But he was already back in his bedroom. Victoria Wood had gone and he was alone once again.

Click here to read the third part of the story: “The Second Spirit.”