Captain George Mainwaring has announced his intention to reform his ‘Dad’s Army’ amidst growing calls from the public for a special response team to man the beaches and estuaries during the Coronavirus crisis.
The government changed its ‘Stay at Home’ guideline this weekend to ‘Stay Alert’, a phrase which invokes similar messages conveyed to the public during World War II.
The slogan is expected to be combined with ‘Loose Talk Costs Lives’ and ‘Loose Lips Sinks Ships’ as Boris Johnson pushes for a reopening of the economy and some relief for the hundreds of multi-billionaire business owners clamouring for him to act.
Mainwaring today donned his trademark khaki reliefs and summoned Sergeant Arthur Wilson, Lance Corporal Jack Jones and Privates James Frazer, Joe Walker, Charles Godfrey and Frank Pike to Walmington-on-Sea community hall for immediate drills.
In a statement to the press Captain Mainwaring said, “now look here. The time has come – stop fidgeting Private Pike! – the time has come for… Private Walker, will you kindly take off that ridiculous mask!… now, where was I. Oh yes. The time has come for us all to stay at home… yes yes Wilson, what is it?”
After a brief and hushed discussion with Sergeant Arthur Wilson, Captain Mainwaring continued, “alright you lot. The time has come for us all to stay alert. The Germans could land on our beaches any day now.”
The briefing was momentarily interrupted as Lance-Corporal Jack Jones proceeded to run around the room shouting, “don’t panic! Don’t panic!”
After calming the excitable Jones, Mainwaring resumed, “yes, well, anyway. As I said in my previous statement, the Germans could land on our… what is it now Wilson?!”
After another brief intermission of whispering, Captain Mainwaring went on, “the second wave Coronavirus could infect the country any time now, so it’s vitally important, for the safety of the British public, that we reform our unit and become operational as soon as possible. Yes, Pike, what now for goodness sake?”
Private Frank Pike, the youngest of Walmington-on-Sea’s self styled ‘home front’ said, “will the second wave hit before 6 o clock Captain. Only me mam says I’m to be home for me tea by then. It’s egg and chips. I don’t want to miss egg and chips.”
The government have insisted that the ‘Stay Alert’ slogan is in no way ambiguous, with Robert Jenrick, Communities Secretary, saying,
“What Stay Alert means is really very simple. It means continue to stay at home if you can, but also go out.”
“What I mean to say is, where before we said you must stay at home, we’re now saying it’s okay to go out if you must, but you should really try to stay at home, unless you can’t, or you don’t want to. If anyone feels like manning a pill box or has experience with an anti-aircraft gun, that’s a bonus.”
With widespread confusion over the precise meaning of the message, members of the public have asked for clarity during the Prime Minister’s press briefing today.
Alan Didcott, a father of three from Cheshire, said, “I’m equipping myself with a sword and a full suit of armour. I’m not sure what I’m staying alert for, so I’m taking no chances. I’m assuming it means banshees, skeletal hordes and vampires. I’ve got some silver bullets in case of werewolves.”
Jessica Cone from Northumbria echoed the sentiment of many by saying, “it is a tiny bit confusing. Just in case I’ve bought an AK47 off the eBays and also a kevlar jacket, some grenades and a suitcase atomic device. Better not to bring a knife to a gunfight, eh.”
Agatha Chertswold, a 84 year old retired nursery nurse from Hampstead, who has been ‘staying alert’ with the use of illegal amphetamines since the government slogan was revealed, said:
“I’ve got my sawn off and a bandolier of shells. Any Jerry comes within five feet of me and I’ll give them two barrels of Dunkirk Spirit right in their Nazi face.”