Start at the bottom

Neil Start's fish costume falls foul of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Monday: David, chairman of the Goldfish Action Group, decided to start the week with a staff meeting after the resolution of last week's headline-grabbing strike here. He began by giving each of us a small 'gift of healing', a box of Guatemalan 'trouble fish', small hand-crafted models - which, he explained, you take out of their box at night so that they can carry your troubles upriver to the big fish god in the sky while you sleep.

Clare, our head of policy - and ringleader of the strikers - was so moved by this conciliatory gesture that she burst into tears and ran to the ladies' loo clutching her box, no doubt planning to unleash her trouble fish down the S-bend straightaway. Her exit prompted a general agreement to let bygones be bygones. Latching on to the spirit of the hour, I asked Anka, our Latvian receptionist, to dinner to clear the waters about our failed romance. She surprised me by agreeing to next Sunday.

Wednesday: Very efficient day. Posted nomination form for an OBE for Jerome, our retiring head of publications, to 10 Downing Street with an envelope full of endorsements. Ended up ghosting a letter from the one remaining supporter of Cemetery Watch, the first charity to give him a management post, in praise of Jerome's service to fulfilling its aim of proving there was a spirit life by setting up infra-red cameras in graveyards at night. Evidently, he'd once volunteered to spend the night in an open coffin in a chapel in an attempt to contact the 'other side', but had been thwarted when the lid slammed shut. He was lucky the crematorium workers heard his knocking the next morning before they fed the coffin into the incinerator.

Friday: Phones have been ringing all day after the Government published the Animal Welfare Bill, banning anyone under 12 from buying pets. We had been campaigning for the cut-off point to be 26, but our biggest gripe with the proposals was the failure to stop goldfish being handed out as prizes at fairs.

I was sent wearing my by now traditional garb of GAG's official goldfish costume as part of a flying picket to the nearest scene of such animal cruelty as a publicity stunt, accompanied by a group of supporters with placards showing Tony Blair in a bowl being tortured by a five-year-old.

The fairground bouncers looked on bemused, which worked well for the press photographers present, but then a contingent of police turned up and spoiled it.

They arrested me under the Prevention of Terrorism Act on the grounds that I was inciting violence against the Prime Minister. Fortunately, my detention garnered us so much more publicity as an affront to civil liberties that within an hour I had three former Lord Chancellors at the front desk of the police station demanding that I be freed.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now