Gordon Brown called Alistair Darling into his office one day and said, “Alistair, I have a great idea! We are going to go all out to win back Middle England.”
”Good idea PM. How will we go about it?” said Darling.
”Well,” said Gordon, “we'll get ourselves two of those long Barbour coats, some proper wellies, a stick and a flat cap. Oh and a Labrador. Then we'll really look the part. We'll go to a nice old country pub, in Much Something or other and we'll show we really enjoy the Countryside.”
”Right PM,” said Darling. So a few days later, all kitted out and with the requisite Labrador at heel, they set off from London in a westerly direction. Eventually they arrived at just the place they were looking for and found a lovely country pub and, with the dog, went in and up to the bar.
“Good evening Landlord. May we have two pints of your best ale, from the wood,” said Brown.
”Good evening Prime Minister,” said the landlord. “Two pints of best it is, coming up.”
Brown and Darling stood leaning on the bar drinking their beer and chatting, nodding now and again to those who came into the bar for a drink.
The dog lay quietly at their feet.
All of a sudden, the door from the adjacent bar opened and in came a grizzled old shepherd, complete with crook.
He walked up to the Labrador, lifted its tail and looked underneath, shrugged his shoulders and walked back to the other bar.
A few moments later, in came another old shepherd with his crook.
He walked up to the dog, lifted its tail, looked underneath, scratched his head and went back to the other bar.
Over the course of the next hour or so another four or five shepherds came in, lifted the dog's tail and went away looking puzzled.
Eventually Brown and Darling could stand it no longer and called the barman over.
“Tell me,” said Brown. “Why did all those old shepherds come in and look under the dog's tail like that? Is it an old custom?”
“Good Lord no,” said the barman.
“It's just that someone has told them that there was a Labrador in this bar with two arseholes!”