Found: another holiday in paradise

Tony sings the praises of his new best friend, Cherie sees a monster, while Gordon and John fight it

Scene 1: The Blairs' flat. Tony at his desk.

Cherie appears with two glasses of Cliff Richard's vintage Côtes du Rhône.

Cherie: Drink?

Tony: Thanks. I'm writing a stiff letter to Kim Jong-il.

Cherie: Sock it to him. Let's hear.

Tony: Ahem. First draft. [Reads] Greetings, O Manifestation of the Universal Divinity. Mmm. Is that a bit sucky-uppy?

Cherie: For you, not really.

Tony [reads]: I've watched your career with great interest since I had the honour of being compared to your much-missed father, Kim Il-sung. And it's a little known fact that I write to you as a fellow communist . . .

Cherie: What?

Tony [reads]: I registered for the CP in my first summer at Oxford but I used the subs to go to a ball instead. I learned an important lesson there. Don't let ideology stop you having a good time. And, Divinity, we in Britain always enjoy seeing your plucky little nation on TV. The spectacle of co-ordinated dance routines performed in vast empty stadiums is intoxicating. And I get a big thrill watching your green-clad soldiers goose-stepping through the avenues of Pyongyang. But pretty appearances can't disguise underlying difficulties. Your farming sector is in decline, your housing stock is collapsing, your economy is in free-fall and your health service is wrecked. All too familiar! I admire the way you've directed the people's attention abroad by creating a bogus security crisis. Nice work. Nevertheless, we in Britain were surprised and disturbed by your recent nuclear test. Why did you do it on your own territory? We always use someone else's. Much more convenient. And finally, Divinity, I'd be delighted to receive you, and your harem, for a state visit but I'm a bit busy right now stalling my imminent overthrow. Perhaps we can share green tea at the UN some time.

All the best, yours etc etc . . . Any good?

Cherie: Rubbish, Tony. You should tell him he's a power-crazed tyrant who's destabilising the planet.

Tony: Oh I see. Flatter his ego a bit more.

Cherie: No! Just say it outright. He's a monster.

Tony: But he's got a lot of holiday homes, Cherie. No point closing down our options at this stage.

Scene 2: Treasury. Gordon is visited by John Reid.

They smile aggressively at each other.

Gordon: Sit down, Baldie. What do you want?

Reid [sits]: How's the hair shirt today? Nice and itchy?

Gordon: Get to the point.

Reid: It's the prisons. Thanks to my hardline sentencing policies, we need an extra 16,000 cells immediately.

Gordon: Or what?

Reid: The country'll be overrun with murderers.

Gordon twiddles his thumbs.

Gordon: Dearie me. Bad news for the hardman of the Home Office.

Reid: And even worse news for the Iron Chancellor - when the Sun finds out you denied my request for a prison-building programme.

Gordon: All right, but I can't stretch to 16,000.

Reid: Got your sums wrong again?

Gordon: No, we're bursting with cash, thanks to my mastery of the Treasury brief. It's all here on my centralised mainframe computer.

He taps a few keys on his brand new keyboard.

Reid: How many billions did that cost?

Gordon: Er, just two. And it's already paid for itself in . . .

Screen goes red. Slogans flash up: "Internal Error. System Self-Terminating. Contact Manufacturer." Screen dies.

Reid: Another great investment.

Gordon: Just teething problems. Anyway, I know the figures by heart. And I can offer you an extra 8,000 spaces. Enough?

Reid: Just about - to house all the thugs charged with ripping veils off Muslim women. It's a start.

Scene 3: No 10. Tony's office.

Reid rushes in, fuming.

Tony: Hi, John. How's the leadership campaign?

Reid: Gordon's shafted me. He offered me 8,000 extra prison spaces and then withdrew the funding. I look a complete fool.

Tony: I'm sure we'll manage.

Reid: But I just announced it in parliament! It's a disaster.

Tony: No, John, standard practice. First tell the people the problem has vanished. Then work out how to hide it. So, we'll put violent offenders in Broadmoor and non-violent ones in open prisons.

Reid: They'll escape.

Tony: So, we'll say they're serving the last leg of their sentence in the community.

Reid: Right. We're still 5,000 spaces short.

Tony: What about that prison-ship we had?

Reid: Blunkett sold it to North Korea. Apparently it's full of poets and failed athletes.

Tony: We'll buy it back.

Reid: What with? Gordon's blown the spare cash on a bung for the troops.

Tony: There must be something we've got that Kim might like to . . . aha!

He picks up the phone.

Tony: Tony here. Now where were we with that new Trident stuff?