The revolution will be televised

John Reid seizes power, <strong>John Prescott</strong> evades anti-terrorist police using only a Ben

Scene 1: With Tony absent, away in the Caribbean, the war of the press conferences is escalating. From the PM’s office, John Prescott broadcasts a prepared statement on the BBC.

Prescott: I'd like to thank John Reid for his support during the crisis and I'm announcing today that he has been assigned a new role investigating the future of lobster farming in Cumbria. I shall assume his former duties myself.

Meanwhile in an adjoining room John Reid is making a statement live on ITN.

Reid: I'd like to thank John Prescott for his support during the crisis and I'm announcing today that he has been assigned a new role as Governor of St Helena. I shall assume his former duties myself.

Moments later, the two Johns bump into each other in the corridor. Both are smirking.

Prescott: Hello, John.

Reid: Hello John.

Prescott: Keeping busy?

Reid: You bet. In a few moments you'll go back to your office and find the officials clearing your desk.

Prescott: What?

Reid: I'm taking over your job. I've just announced it on TV.

Prescott: Hang on, I just sacked you - on the BBC.

Reid: And I sacked you - 0n ITN.

Reid and Prescott: What! Oh my God!

Each man rushes into the room the other has just vacated.

Prescott: Right. OK. Without notes this time. "Hello, ITV. Reid's a pillock. Don't listen to him. I'm in charge. Tony said so. And now for a message from our sponsors."

[A McDonald's ad comes on the TV.] Meanwhile, over in the BBC studio . . .

Reid: I've just heard that this network has carried an erroneous statement suggesting that I've been assigned to other duties. Let me assure the nation that I remain in command during the terrorist emergency. The Deputy Prime Minster, meanwhile, has tendered his resignation in order to spend less time with his family. I shall address you again later this evening.

Scene 2: Two days later. John Reid speaks to the nation from a cosy armchair in No 10. His face is softly lit by a crackling fire, and he looks menacingly avuncular in his battle fatigues. He lights a cigar.

Reid: Good evening, Britain. Drastic times require drastic measures. Last night my old friend Speaker Martin recalled parliament for 20 minutes. Alas, the House was rather more sparsely attended than usual, but I'm glad to say that Douglas Alexander and I both made it into the lobby. Under the new Extraordinary Powers Act (passed by a majority of two with no abstentions), I am appointed Sole Consul for Life and Mr Alexander is made Deputy for the Time Being. I am humbled that parliament has singled me out for this honour and I pray that I can do justice to the high office the nation has called me to. Police suspects may now be questioned for six months and everyone can smoke as much as they want. Keep spending money and watching TV. Good night, Britain. Remember, only the guilty resist authority.

Scene 3: John Prescott's flat in Admiralty Arch. Prescott cowers beneath a table, making an urgent phone call to Tony in the Caribbean.

Prescott: You've got to come back. Reid's turned into a dictator.

Tony: Oh calm down. He's just enjoying himself.

Prescott: Have you seen him on TV?

Tony: Yes. Rather inspiring, I thought.

Prescott: But he's crazy. He's arrested half the cabinet. They'll be coming for me next. Oh my God . . .

The door bursts open and four anti-terrorist police officers burst in. They jump on Prescott, but he fights them off, leaps through the window and lands on the squishy mid-section of a Bendy bus.

Scene 4: The following evening. Dr Reid is back at the fireside in No 10. He is dressed as a Field Marshall and his medals twinkle in the firelight as he shifts on his velvet throne.

Reid: Good evening, Britain. The enemies of progress are everywhere. Last night the police uncovered a conspiracy at the very heart of the government.

Peter Hain and David Miliband were arrested in their beds. John Prescott was arrested in someone else's bed. Charles Clarke has been hauled in for having seditious ears, and Patricia Hewitt's voice has been served with a nuisance order.

On the positive side, I have today appointed Ruth Kelly as Guardian of Public Morality and next week every Briton under the age of 30 will be invited to join her new Community Youth Corps. Attendance is voluntary, but absentees will be prosecuted. Further instructions will follow. And now, my birthday honours -

A huge crash. The door flies off its hinges and Prescott rushes in with Charles Clarke. They bundle Reid to the floor.

Prescott: You bloody traitor.

Reid: No. Get off! You don't understand. I'm a patriot. It's just an exercise to expose the weaknesses in our democracy. The constitution isn't fit for purpose, I'm innoce . . . aaahh!

Clarke boots him enthusiastically in the groin. Prescott turns to the cameras.

Prescott: Good news, viewers. I'm in charge.

Clarke: Hang on a minute, that wasn't what we agreed.

Prescott: Shut it.