The Chair Leader

<em>ITV is threatening to have a symbolic empty chair if Tony Blair refuses to take part in a three-

I have my back to the wall. All

I offer is plain, unvarnished, upright,

posture. Straight up, it's all good

wood, which does not buckle. I am

part of the furniture, have been turned

by a firm hand. No sofa:

you may neither plump me up, nor

lose loose coins down my sides.

I am silently bumptious, armless,

and will not rock. Those over there

are not chairs, they are stool pigeon,

lounge lizard. Please to be seated:

I stand on all four legs

with my feet tucked under your table

This article first appeared in the 29 January 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The fall of Mandelson