The hens were up early on Election Day and Lily quickly and vocally got up high to make the most of the last canvassing opportunities before polling began. As she perched at the top of the garden chair, the others gathered eggspectantly to see if anything she said could sway their vote.
She began by pointing out that current tax bands were unfair, especially to younger hens, who pay their taxes much more frequently and consistently than older hens, sometimes 6 or 7 times a week. As such, she felt this was wrong, and will be offering tax eggs-xemption, if she is elected.
Araminta wanted to know where Lily stood on the issue of immigration. “I have only been here a few weeks and since arriving, I have encountered nothing but hostility,” she said. “I feel victimised because I am new here and have white feathers. I am fed up with being judged by the colour of my feathers – underneath I am just the same as any other chicken. Bald and pink.”
Sushi quickly piped up that she was happy with the welfare offered by the current government, having recently retired on full benefits due to disability. She last year escaped a life of horror having been captured by chicken-traffickers and forced to work in appalling factory conditions, with barely enough food and no access to education or health services. When she was rescued she was thin, balding and had not even seen a worm. “I am so grateful to the current government for setting me free, and ensuring that all my chicken rights are met,” she said. “However, I will vote for whoever offers me the best winter fuel payments, as it gets very nippy in the roost especially if no-one likes to snuggle up with you.”
Florence, a true blue chicken due to her elitist Welsummer pedigree, had not heard of winter fuel payments as she tends to spend her winters skiiing at her chalet in Verbier or sunbathing in the Caribbean. But when pressed, she thought it was a good idea to look after the most vulnerable members of the community. She then added rather too quickly, “Of course no taxpayers money was spent on refurbishing my hen chalet at Verbiers which was funded entirely from my family’s trust fund. The staff are paid for by myself, and I am not even claiming for my butler on expenses. As you can see, I am roughing it along with the common hen.”
Sumo, the current Hen-P for the garden, reluctantly accepted voters’ concerns over the salaries paid to Hen-P’s. “It is only fair that in the current economic climate, where the price of mealworms has rocketed and hens are going off lay and being laid off left, right and centre, that we all tighten our belts. I therefore accept that, if re-elected as your Hen P, I will cap my salary to its current level of 50 g of sweetcorn, 100g of mash or wheat and 47 mealworms per day.”
“47 mealworms?” piped up Sushi and Araminta in unison? “That’s outrageous. We only get 23 mealworms AND we work hard and have always paid our taxes.”
“But I give tirelessly of my time and I must be fairly compensated”, pointed out Sumo, “Since I could earn far, far more in the private sector, such as if I was free-range advisor to HRH Prince Charles at Highgrove, or head of HR (hen resources) at Waitrose.”
“But you’re not,” pointed out Sushi, “You had the same dodgy start to life as me, so no need for all those pretensions of grandeur. You need to go back to your roots, and remember that just because you’re a Hen-P you’re still a hen with clucking -class roots.”
“Speak for yourself,” said Sumo, “I have moved onwards and upwards. I have embraced my government’s policy of social mobility and I am now hob-nobbing with the really POSH hens, like Florence here.”
“What’s that?” said Florence? “Oh, bring me my Earl Grey tea, Sumo, chop chop. One sugar, no milk.”
“Yes Florence, coming right up, ma’am ……I mean, mate.”
“And get me David Cameron on the phone,” Florence added, “We need to book our flights, there’s a little gathering at Cannes next week, nothing special, drinkies and yachts, that kind of thing….”
“Of course,” said Sumo. “What breed of hen is he?”
“Dave? He’s an ‘Old English Game’. Not like Gordon – he’s a ‘Scots Dumpy.'”
“Well his mother’s a “Gold Dutch Bantam”, but rumour has it he’s really hoping to become a Goldline hybrid…”
At that the hens were interrupted by the clock striking 7 am and the start of polling. First into the booth was Sumo, who placed her cross against her own name. She then laid an egg as it was nice and private, tho somewhat lacking in straw.
“It must be nice to be a human,” mused Sumo after casting her vote. “They do lead such quiet and simple lives. No egglections, no politics and definitely no pecking order. Some of them even seem to have their own little personalities, as if they were really hens…..