The Hindsight Committee
Northampton now has a hindsight committee. They came to see me. The occasion was Zac Goldsmith's recent ashen-faced and dramatic loss of a twenty-three thousand majority in the Richmond Park by-election. He lost his seat, which was considered an impossible feat.
"We're back. That was just the start. If a by-election comes along here it's going to be genocide."
By 'we' they mean fellow remainers. The implication is that the voting public would now punish anybody and everybody in ways that couldn't be predicted. Ergo a nationwide Liberal-Democrat landslide is on the way.
"What about our missing 10.2 million pounds?" I ask. "That will be Northampton's big issue surely. People want to know where it is. They want it back."
"Might trigger the vote, but it won't define it."
I'm on this case and have been for a while. The press may have given up. I haven't. The money needs to be found and given back.
I have a friend, we'll call him Vinnie, although that's not his real name. "What you need Fitzy is an interview with the person who lent the money. There is no need to be hostile, but 'Why haven't you resigned?' is one of many legitimate questions."
And that in a nutshell is why this topic is so toxic. Even those not directly involved know this is explosive and avoid accordingly. Not one of our elected leaders, even those from other towns as far as I know, have had one word to say on the subject. As to getting the interview the chances seem slim. If the people involved won't talk to Michael Crick they surely won't talk to me.
Vinnie again "Then you need a plan, Fitzy. It's almost Christmas, I have a Santa suit that would fit you - just - and you can get in anywhere with one of those. If Crick and the rest of them have bottled it, it's time for you to step up and ask the questions that need answering."
Hmmm. I'd had a bit of a war with the supermarkets for selling luminescent carrots amongst other shoddy fruit and veg offers. I took pictures and tweeted them. After I was banned from the premises disguise and subterfuge was my only way in. It didn't end well.
"What if Special Branch pile on top of me because they think I am some sort of crazed attacker?" I ask Vinnie
"Well, there is that. But nothing is without risk."
I was thinking about an entirely normal email interview request when this story suddenly re-ignited in the local media in a massive way. The PwC audit report came back; officers made comments; councillors made comments; party officials made comments; even the press made comments.
Of course these would have rung truer had they been made at the time, or for that matter at any time in the last year. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and we are very good at it, and even have our own committee. We may be about to find out how good we are at by-elections.