Friday, September 08, 2006

Coup d'tartan

Talk about a day which promised so much and delivered so little. Before lunch all we knew was that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had been poking at party walls with broom handles for the best part of the night.

Commentators boldly mooted the possibility of a showdown. Various scenarios were investigated. We could imagine Tony, after a major attack of the tired and emotionals, having a ‘fuck it’ moment and deciding to chuck it in right there and then. That bar in Goa may have looked ever more attractive and there are surely several years of life in those lovely Barbadian bathers.

Or he could fire Gordon, hopefully from a canon. Being a perpetual pain in the arse does constitute gross misconduct and a clear breach of the loyalty clause in the employment contract that all ministers are obliged to sign. This raised all sorts of hitherto unimaginable possibilities and a potential rematch of the great Thatcher v Heseltine clash of 1990 in which both gladiators were killed and an unassuming clerk was drafted in to lead the country. In the event of such a Ninja style fight to the death, who would be PM? What’s the blandest thing we have? That would be Rowan Atkinson look-a-like David Mild’n’bland.

From the point of view of someone who’s had ten years of sneering at his under-achieving next door neighbour, the thought of pissing over the balcony might have looked like a must-do departure gesture to a demob-happy PM. But let no one underestimate the vexation of the bridesmaid in Number 11 who looks more like David Walliams’s father every day. Perhaps the antisocial behaviour between neighbours that was heard last night was the sound of Gordon “Scrooge McDuck” Brown creating a premature knock-through into Number 10.

Close colleagues, none of whom are prepared to go on record, confirm that if Brown assumes the PM-ship he intends to dispense with the cabinet altogether. He will move his young family into Number 10. Number 11 will house the Treasury, which will be renamed The Money Bin. He will make all the decisions necessary for the betterment of the country alone, in quiet contemplation bouncing around on his billions, because he is so over government by focus group. Besides, everyone else is always wrong.

Brown’s statement of this afternoon was typical. He sounded important in a Marlon Brando Godfather era kind of way but managed to say nothing, perhaps by default of permanent jaw malfunction. There was endless speculation about whether a Deal or No Deal had taken place, apparently without the involvement of Noel Edmonds. One would have thought his input crucial at this time, if only to shed some light on why Tony Blair has gone inexplicably blonde.

Pundits salivated over the possibility that Gordon might turn uncharacteristically gauntlety and drop a resignation letter through the newly created hole in the party wall, triggering a leadership contest, provided Wembley Stadium is completed in time.

Nervous MPs who haven’t yet resigned or fled to Spain talked about an atmosphere of ‘poison’. The natural reaction is to consider that ‘poison’ in this context is being used as a metaphor. A theory is circulating in Whitehall however, that some of the banging and clattering that was heard last night could be connected to the re-routing of lead pipes.

At traumatic times like these, one seeks the comfort of history. Recall, if you will the opening scene of Braveheart (the movie) in which Robert the Bruce talks of the man he appears to have betrayed,

"I shall tell you of William Wallace. Historians from England will say I am a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes."

Think of Tony Blair in the William Wallace role, except without the interest in other people at heart and with Union Jack make-up and a Rover 75 Limousine instead of blue-face and a horse. Consider Gordon Brown as Robert the Bruce - one eye on the crown, the other on the cobwebs in every corner of the last ten years. It is said that while hiding in a cave (or money bin as the case may be), Robert the Bruce was inspired by a spider – get away!! As the spider attempted to build its web and it kept collapsing, that spider just got up and started again. Robert the Bruce masterfully exclaimed, ‘if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.’ In New Labour speak this comes out as, ‘keep fucking up until it either goes right or no one cares any more’.

Begun, the Tartan Wars have.

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