The Incel Stratagem
The laughter that had characterised so much of the chattering classes’ initial reaction to the Party gradually began to dissipate, to be replaced by a furious barrage of contempt. Indeed, the contempt had been well-deserved as more and more of the BIP’s policies were made available to the public: the total repeal of all divorce laws, increased penalties for involvement in sex work, immediate segregation of male and female education. To say that the BIP wanted to drive gender equality back into the dark ages would have been the understatement of the decade.
‘There’s still a month until the election,’ Hardwicke had said to Carly, over dinner. Hardwicke was someone very special to Carly. He was caught somewhere between an old fling and an old flame and, although it had been many years since they’d formally dated, Carly couldn’t deny that she still had some residual affection for the man. Indeed, for a Tory, Hardwicke was what one might call a stand-up guy. He often leaked little fragments of gossip to Carly over their numerous lunches, fragments that, more often than not, ended with Carly’s name on the front page of a major newspaper. ‘I won’t lie, though. It’s not looking good. Ever since Slater’s interview we’ve been bleeding support. I won’t expect you to shed tears over the downfall of a Conservative government but, look at it like this. If Slater manages to form a coalition with one of the more substantial far-right parties…well,’ Hardwicke shook his head, solemnly. ‘It could be quite serious. At this rate, the more liberal Tories are looking to Labour to save this country from a BIP majority.’ ‘Labour!?’ echoed Carly, wrinkling her nose. ‘With Starmer at the helm? Is it really as bad as that?’
‘I’m afraid so,’ said Hardwicke, dabbing at his lips. ‘The trouble is, right now, this Slater character is saying all the right things. He’s such a charming chap that he’s making everyone forget how poisonous his party’s positions actually are. What he needs is a good scandal. A personal one. That’d do the trick!’
Carly looked down, staring at her half-eaten calzone. A despondent fog began to settle across her shoulders. She wouldn’t be going out for lunch with Hardwicke anytime soon. Her ex always made sure to pay for the meal himself and the BIP took a strong stand against unmarried women being the recipients of what they called ‘The Lady Privilege.’ Carly raised her eyes and, for a moment, caught Hardwicke staring at her chest. Not that this bothered her. Hardwicke was such a gentleman in most respects and, truth be told, it flattered her that, after all these years, Hardwicke’s eyes still followed the old, lusty trail down her neck. Of course, Carly thought to herself, Hardwicke was a man, at the end of the day…
And that was when she had THE IDEA. As soon as THE IDEA came to her, Carly knew that it was exactly what Hardwicke was looking for. Just to make sure, Carly leaned across the table and whispered THE IDEA, taking great satisfaction as Hardwicke’s long, pale face twisted itself into a devious smirk. ‘That’s perfect,’ cried Hardwicke. ‘If you could pull that off, it would be just
the scandal we’re looking for!’ ‘The question is: will he want to meet me?’ wondered Carly, blushing a little at Hardwicke’s praise. Hardwicke grinned, pale teeth flashing against the pleasant shade of the restaurant. ‘Of course he will,’ replied Hardwicke. ‘Right now, he’s soaring high from that disastrous Channel 4 interview. If anything, he’ll be very keen for a victory
And so, as soon as the pair of them had polished off their lunch, Carly jumped onto the BIP’s website and sent off several emails, requesting an interview with Eric Slater. Less than an hour later, she had her reply. Slater would agree to the interview but, the email specified, only on the condition that ‘Ms Wallace’ agreed to meet with ‘Mr Slater’ at the BIP’s headquarters. After some consideration, Carly agreed to these terms. And now, here she was. In the lion’s den. Slater smiled at her, his eyes cold and narrow. Carly reached into her blazer and removed a little tape recorder. She put the tape recorder in the middle of Slater’s vast desk and switched it on, slowly sliding back into her chair without breaking eye contact from the BIP leader. As Carly slid back into the confines of her chair, she did her best to keep her chest (which she had cunningly padded) thrust as high as possible. The bottom corner of Slater’s mouth twitched. Carly suppressed a grin of satisfaction. She was already beginning to affect him. Carly shook her head letting her thick, brown hair- laced with a succulent perfume that had been picked out by Hardwicke- bounce across her shoulders. Slater’s nostrils convulsed and the smile faded, ever so slightly.
‘So, Mr Slater,’ began Carly. ‘Why don’t we start at the very beginning. What do you think it was that made you an incel?’
Slater leaned back against his chair, long fingers tapping against one another. A faraway look seeped into the back of his eyes.
‘Society,’ said the politician, with a sad chuckle. ‘There are a lot of forces operating in society that, intentionally or otherwise, have created an underclass of a certain group of men.’ Slater spread his fingers. ‘Poor men. Unattractive men. Mentally ill, isolated, voiceless men. That’s what this party has been about. Giving a voice to these voiceless men-’ ‘Is that why you don’t let women join your party?’ asked Carly. Slater nodded.
‘That’s right,’ said Slater. ‘Females, you see, are fundamentally different creatures to men. They’re better than us, in many respects. Kinder. Gentler. They should be nurtured. In a healthy, functioning society, it’s the role of good, decent men to nurture their females but, thanks to the collusion between feminism and big business, well, everything’s gone all topsy turvy!’ Slater sighed. He shook his head. ‘The discord that exists between the sexes now…having female members of the party would only complicate matters. Besides,’ Slater raised a sharp, polished fingernail, trained right at Carly’s chest. ‘There are countless Feminist groups and movements out there, dedicated to providing a voice to voiceless women- the Women’s Equality Party, are a noble example of this. Of course, no one who takes the philosophy of the incel movement seriously would deny that women face many obstacles in their own day to day lives. We simply assert that, so do some men. Let women speak for women and men speak for men, that’s what I say!’