Subject: LRB PITCH : God’s Only Mistake

From: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

To: mkwilmers@lrb.co.uk

Dear Mary-Kay,

You will, I am sure, have seen that in the current political climate we are at risk of becoming two nations. Your periodical will no doubt be determined to offer a platform for authentic voices of protest whilst maintaining an element of style in literary terms.

In the spirit of this I offer you my services as a young and upcoming writer – my bylines include satirical articles in The Morning Post, the ‘Runnymede’ column in the TLS and a series of carefully constructed Reddit posts on the ‘Age Gap Relationship’ forum.

I am one acquainted with the deepest yearnings of the working man, who sees such insults to his liberty celebrated in public. Yet I am also able to maintain the dignity of sentence structure which your readers expect at an annual subscription of £105.

My subject is to be Mr Gladstone – provisional title ‘God’s Only Mistake’. He is a sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity who at all times seeks only to glorify himself. How appropriate then that his cult of personality is to suffer a damnatio memoriae. And in his own native city too!

If it was agreeable, I could dig out some allusions to similar pathetic ends in Shakespeare or Sir Walter Scott and adapt them to the situation in hand. All magazine readers like to have their intellects flattered. And when it comes to the LRB: I think it best to lay it on with a trowel.

I can have a submission with you by sundown but, knowing as I do that you are an organ capable of commanding considerable financial reserves, I must insist on payment of invoices within a week.

I note that Alan Bennett’s so called ‘diaries’ continue to find a place among your pages, despite the rejection note sent to the anonymous genius behind Vivian Grey which claimed, and I quote, ‘we do not publish fiction’.

The societal diagnosis I promise will be no fiction, and in showing Mr Gladstone for the monster he most assuredly is, it will provide a tale that will keep your readers hooked.

Yours expectantly,

B. Disraeli

RE: LRB PITCH : God’s Only Mistake

From: edit@lrb.co.uk

To: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

Dear Mr Disraeli,

Thank you very much for your submission to write about the current unfolding episode relating to halls named after Sir William Gladstone at Liverpool University. We currently have several expert figures – from a young historian of decolonisation to Gladstone’s most recent biographer writing on this vital subject. So we are afraid a writer of your limited experience will not be required.

Yours,

Hannah (Intern)

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Subject: Urghhhhh

From: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

To: Victoria, Empress of India (vicky.saxeburg.gotha@condenast.com)

I’ve been rejected again by the powers-that-be. Still, given the moment I really want to be writing for a publication with their ear to the ground, you know? A better sense of what it is the people – your people – really want.

Do you still think you could sort me out something at Country Life? They did that photo-essay ‘Knights of the Bedchamber Crisis’ a few years back so I think they’d be ripe for something political from me.

B x

RE: Urghhhhh

From: Victoria, Empress of India (vicky.saxeburg.gotha@condenast.com)

To: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

Dear Benji,

Poor you! They’re not a bad thought - but they did a grim Insta shill for the Queen of Spain against my express instructions last week and I don’t want them to think I’ve forgiven them. It’s not really a Country Life story so might have to think outside the stable. How about the Speccie? I know they were pro Mr G in the past but I reckon I could pull a few strings…

V x

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Subject: Spectator Pitch

From: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

To: editor@spectator.co.uk

Dear Fraser,

I am a young writer making advances in conservative circles and so I am writing to you to offer my services. I gather that your publication is the only place where one might still earn a safe seat by contributing to a diary column. I note that you have abolished CVs for your internship programme, a move of which I heartily approve.

I intend to write a piece showing Mr Gladstone for who he really was. In light of bygones being bygones I will overlook your past descriptions of him as a ‘titan’. Indeed – my plan is to submit an article to you suggesting that the University of Liverpool (we may also have to overlook your organ’s unfortunate relationship with that city) was correct in stripping the name Gladstone from one of its buildings. It may sound contrarian, but then you are a publication that continues to employ Douglas Murray.

Mr Gladstone – and I speak from experience here – is exactly the sort of ‘woke’ puritan you profess to despise. He is constantly moralising in the faces of ordinary people; going on and on about standing up for the poor Bulgarians and the ‘Concert of Europe’, all while living in a book-filled castle, an out-of-touch member of the pampered elite marooned in his ivory tower.

He is a man without a single redeeming defect, if he fell in the Thames it would be a misfortune, if someone pulled him out it would be a calamity.

My intention would be to continue along in this vein– amusing personalised insults masked by some conjunctions and semi-colons to give them the appearance of prose – in the manner of your own Mr Liddle. I could provide some 500 or so words? I think it would sit very well in your publication, especially if Charles Moore is off sick or something and you’re looking for an explicitly Victorian take on things.

Let me know,

B Disraeli

RE: Spectator Pitch

From: customerhelp@spectator.co.uk

To: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

Dear Mr Disraeli,

The editor asked me to thank you for your submission but regrettably we will not be commissioning you to write about Mr Gladstone at this time. All of our coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement is in the hands of our columnist with the most experience of this sort of thing: Simon Heffer.

Yours,

Jolyon

Intern, The Spectator

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Subject: Whigs *everywhere*

From: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

To: Victoria, Empress of India (vicky.saxeburg.gotha@condenast.com)

Even the Speccie won’t take me! Clearly there’s been some sort of Whig infiltration at their garden parties. Do you think something a bit more indie would be a better shot? You know… play on our radical outsider credentials? The dashing penniless novelist is the only one to see the villain for who he really is?

I think VICE might take it. Have you still got the contact details for the guy there who did the long read on Albert’s piercings?

Bx

RE: Whigs *everywhere*

From: Victoria, Empress of India (vicky.saxeburg.gotha@condenast.com)

To: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

Dear Benji

Oh no! Think you’re right about the alt publications – but VICE has proved to be a bit of a burst bubble. Also, maybe don’t involve me in the pitch so directly? Sadly no right to bitch just yet ☹. I’ll send over a couple of links to some other more indie mags/sites now.

V

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Subject: FUCK THE POLICE

From: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

To: submissions@anarchosyndicalistreview.com

Dear Sirs,

I am writing in the hope that you might be interested in an article for your magazine. As a long term fellow sceptic of the powers of the police, I was wondering whether you would have me put pen to paper and thereby throw a proverbial brick through the window of their founder: Sir Robert Peel.

I could give you a 500-word piece about how he sought to bankrupt our farmers and rob us of our liberty. (And that I wouldn’t have sought to work with him in any circumstances despite what his deep state letter forging programme suggests to the contrary.)

Whilst I am, of course, sympathetic to your efforts against the vulgar stranglehold of capital over us all, I would need to know whether your magazine offers remuneration due to a number of regrettable debt/libel case-related issues.

Long Live the Corn Laws!

B. Disraeli

UNDELIVERED MAIL RETURNED TO SENDER

From: MAIL DELIVERY SYSTEM

To: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

<submissions@anarchosyndicalistreview.com>

Host mailcloud.com said 188 81 85 THIS ADDRESS DOES NOT EXIST

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Subject: Canary Pitch

From: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

To: hello@thecanary.com

Dear Kerry-Anne,

I am writing in the hope that you might help a struggling radical writer along by publishing (and paying for!) a piece exposing the hidden side of an establishment figure that the MSM just won’t tell people.

I’m talking of course about William Gladstone.

He was once called ‘the great white hope of the Tories’, he had the title ‘Sir’ (remind you of any other hard-right sleeper agents currently leading our party!?)

His condemnation of the Ottoman Empire was manifestly colonialist. In all of my research on him I am yet to find a single incident where he supported Jeremy.

In light of Liverpool University’s decision to rename their Gladstone Buildings, perhaps you could publish a piece showing that we radical journalists knew he was bad all along?

Best

B. Disraeli

RE: Canary Pitch

From: internalcybersecurity@canary.co

To: Benjamin Disraeli (b.disraeli.writer@gmail.com)

Mail undeliverable due to internal cyber security detection of SPAM word or phrase:

‘Israel’

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Subject: Complaint

From: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

To: thewilliamgladstonepub@greatukpubs.co.uk

Cc: The Marquess of Salisbury (salisbury@hatfield.com), The Earl of Derby (edward.stanley.broadband@tiscali.co.uk)

Hey!

Sure I’m just emailing an ordinary guy or girl behind the counter here but as I was walking past your pub the other day I couldn’t help but notice it’s still named ‘The William Gladstone’.

After a man now universally rightly reviled! I mean – have you not seen the news recently!? You couldn’t blame people if they had to take necessary brick-related direct action.

There are plenty of other really admirable 19th Century British Prime Ministers you might choose from who really broke the mould and would be such a more inspiring name for your place of work.

By the way, I am cc’ing two very important colleagues to indicate the gravity of this situation.

Have a nice day and No Pasaran!

Yours,

A Concerned Member of the Public

RE: Complaint

From: Lord Salisbury (robert.salisbury@hatfield.com )

To: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

Never cc me into anything ever again, you odious shit.

Salisbury

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Subject: Fin

From: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

To: Victoria, Empress of India (vicky.saxeburg.gotha@condenast.com)

I’m done. No one wants my writing, and worst of all the whole nation is talking about Gladstone. Op-eds everywhere about him and nothing about you or me! I thought we were born for this moment but it looks like we’ll just have to let others surf the wave of Gladstone hate.

B x

RE: Fin

From: Victoria, Empress of India (vicky.saxeburg.gotha@condenast.com)

To: B Dizzy (Dizzy1874@yahoo.com)

Dear Benji,

Don’t be so down. I’m sorry the writing thing hasn’t worked out, but I think it’s for the best. I had a look at Twitter – where they’re all on about Dickens again – and thought maybe you could turn your attentions to politics there? All those skills – the funny names for Mr G (vom), the slagging off Sir Robert Peel, the twisting of arguments and the chasing of popularity- they’re all present, but just not in long articles. I’ve set you up an account: @oneDoneNation (the password is Beaconsfield7).

Forget those diary columns you’ve dreamed of. If you want real power all you need do is a bit of shouting on there.

Have fun x


Imagined by Fergus Butler-Gallie.