It’s general election-time in Middle Earth. In the constituency of Mordor NorthWest a keenly contested battle is taking place. With economic disaster stalking the land, even the Dark Lord Sauron who has represented the area since the beginning of time, is facing a struggle to hold onto his seat. He ponders the situation in his constituency headquarters at the Dark Tower of Barad-dur.

Sauron sat in his favourite chair and sighed. It had been a difficult week and the throbbing in his head made him involuntarily close his all-seeing Big Eye. On his desk, newspapers were scattered untidily. The brightly coloured pie-charts on the front pages reminded him vividly of what he already knew to be true: His re-election campaign was on its arse.

There was a knock at the door. It was Gollum, his spin-doctor. He followed Sauron’s gaze to the papers.

Oh the opinion pollsss master, we don’t like them do we. Nasty pollsss.

Gollum started to stroke the smartphone in his hand. A video appeared showing people chained up in a dungeon. “Do we wants to know what the focus groups are sayingss Master?” he whispered.

No, no, I’ve heard enough bad news.” Sauron dismissed his advisor and turned back to his desk. Through the window, he could see a troop of Winged Nazgul make their way across the Plateau of Gorgoroth. They were going out canvassing. Where once these dark spectres had struck fear into the hearts of all who lived in Mordor, now they moved tentatively and without confidence. Sauron could see some orcs make an obscene gesture at the leader of the Nazgul – the WitchKing of Angmar. Orcs! Once his core vote, they had deserted him in their hordes. He was beginning to regret reducing their minimum wage.

The Dark Lord turned back to his newspapers and winced as he caught sight of one photograph. An open smiling face beamed out at him from under a luxuriant mane of wavy hair. Legolas – curse his name! Once a humble economist, now he seemed to be everywhere, putting on plays, offering opinions and generally stirring up dissatisfaction among the underlings with his gift for coining memorable phrases.

Sauron peered at the text beneath the photograph. What was that damned elf saying now? “Let’s Burn the Bondholders”. Pah!

There was a time when Sauron would have delighted in burning anyone who stood in his way. But not now. He had been forced into alliances with others in order to maintain his power over Mordor. His allies had been naive and his honeyed words had seduced them. Their association with him had turned them into shadow-creatures and they would soon be annihilated. But he himself had been weakened by being forced to agree to some of their requests. Reducing the emissions from the fiery chasm of Mount Doom had almost broken his heart. The once mighty torch of fire was now a wisp of smoke. As for the ban on stag-hunting…

A great wind was blowing now. Some of his election posters floated gently through the air. Even from here, he could make out his photograph. His physical self had been destroyed by his devotion to the Ring and he was now just a vortex of flame and evil. Despite this he looked well in a suit and the graphic designer appeared to have depicted him giving a thumbs-up sign. The election slogan “Better The Devil You Know” seemed hollow now. The copywriter who thought of it was at this moment being tortured for his incompetence by the Balrog.

There was no time now for introspection. Tonight another Great Debate was to be held. This time Bilbo Baggins would be there. The hobbit did not attend the previous one because Gimli the cantankerous dwarf was the chairman. His absence was represented by an empty chair. Baggins said the empty chair was a symbol of all the hobbits who had left for the Undying Lands. Foolish Hobbit. Little did he know others conspired to take his place and he would not rule Middle Earth for long. But of course the Debate tonight would be chaired by Galadriel – the golden-haired, ageless Queen of the Elves. Everyone would turn up for that.

Sauron opened his laptop and began to examine his notes. There was much to be memorised before the debate tonight. There were the stock phrases: “I have been meeting the real people of Mordor on the doorsteps. They want reform. The current way of doing things – the bloated public service, the cosy relationship with big business, the giant killer-spider guarding the Stairs of Cirith Ungol – are no longer acceptable to the voters. I understand that.

Galadriel would ask him about job creation. Job Creation! What more did these mortals want? Sauron hadn’t had a problem with job creation before. Raising a vast army to attack the rest of Middle Earth had been labour intensive and because they were slaves, start-up costs had been low. But now people expected wages, pensions. He needed a fresh perspective “Gollum, get in here!” He roared.

–  “How are we going to create jobs?

He demanded as Gollum scuttled into the room.

– “Cloud computing Masster – Oh Yess.

– What is that?

– We don’t know what it isss Masster but we wantss it. Silly Bagginss is talking about it so we must haves it. Smeagol wants it too. Does he? Smeagol does not wants it.

– Gollum?

– Yess Master?

– When all of this is over, I really think you need to see someone. You know – a professional.

– Yes Master”

Gollum left the room and Sauron was once again alone with his thoughts. Would it be so bad to have no power for a while? He looked around his lair. It was dark and for the first time he realised how foully it smelled. Maybe he could redecorate and make it look a little less evil. Put up a few pictures or a batik.

His eyePhone beeped. It was a message from one of the Nazgul. Gud luk 2nite. (Why couldn’t these creatures spell words properly?) He read the rest of the message. Deb8 starts in 30mins. U redy 2 go?

Yes. He was ready to go.

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