Blogging for Britain
Tony sends a secret missive to the troops, Bono tells him all about Africa, while the naughty genera
Scene 1: No 10. Tony is at a computer, posting a fake blog on a British army website.
Tony: Hi Bloggers. OK, there's been a lot of talk about our mission in Iraq lately. Time to get some balance into the debate, yeah? Now, I'm a pretty straight kind of squaddie and I joined the army for one reason. Fighting. So who's complaining? Tony's had us at it non-stop since he came to power.
Thanks mate. We salute you. And in respect of Iraq, we've got to see the mission through for the sake of the country itself and for the wider region. The people love what we're doing there: taking the country apart and rebuilding it from the ground up.
Even now, as I patrol the streets of Basra, my path is strewn with petals, grateful womenfolk blow kisses from behind their veils and smiling orphans press sweeties into my hands.
Guys, the hand of history is on our shoulder. Why? Because it's giving us a big pat on the back. Long live democracy. Private Anthony Campbell.
Scene 2: No 10. Tony is on the phone to Bono. Each is consoling the other on their failure to win the Nobel Peace Prize - again.
Bono: Tough luck, mate. You must be gutted.
Tony: Not as bad as Cherie. She'd already booked the Presidential Suite at the Stockholm Sheraton. But come on, mate. It should have been you, after all you've done for Africa.
Bono: No, you - after all you've done for Ireland.
Tony: No, it should have been you.
Bono: No it should have . . . Actually sod it, Tony, it should have been me. And who is this guy, Muhammad something?
Tony: Yunus. He's a banker, apparently.
Bono: So what does he know about poverty? He's never written a song. Never done a gig. He can't even play the guitar. No wonder he's out of his depth. I mean, third world aid isn't about cheap loans for peasant farmers. That's just turning them into mini-capitalists. No. You give them a cow. Dig them a well. Give them a hug. Take a photo. That's it. But this guy's behaving like he wants to end poverty for ever. Where does that leave a humble poet-rock-star like me?
Tony: Back in the studio maybe.
Bono: Jesus. Scary thought. Anyway, well done on Ireland and good luck next year, mate.
Bono: Peace, Tony.
Scene 3: Tony's office. An anxious knock at the door and Sir Richard Dannatt appears. He looks rather nervous.
Sir Richard: Prime Minister?
Tony: Ah, Sir Richard. I believe congratulations are in order.
Sir Richard: What?
Tony: Come in, come in.
Tony shakes him warmly by the hand.
Tony: You've been voted honorary president of the Stop the War Coalition. Let me give you your decoration.
He produces a blood-spattered Troops Out badge and pins it to the general's chest.
Sir Richard: But Prime Minister . . .
Tony: And since we're both in Whitehall, why don't we pop outside and join the human chain around the Ministry of Defence?
Sir Richard: I was only speaking for the troops. And anyway, you said you agreed with every word I said.
Tony: You didn't think I meant it, did you?
Sir Richard: Er, yes, I did.
Tony: No. I disagreed with every word you said. So, in future, keep your trap shut, there's a good man, or your next interview will be with Hello! magazine. "Celebrity pacifist Sir Richard Dannatt speaks from his military cell as he waits to be shot for treason."
Sir Richard: Message received, Prime Minister.
Tony: However, it's not all bad news. Thanks to you, Gordon's going to be faced with a foreign policy crisis as soon as he takes over. Pull out of Iraq, and the Americans will hate him. Stay in, and the army will hate him. Nice day's work, Sir Richard. Now, let's talk about troop levels in Afghanistan.
Sir Richard: Well, you said you'd provide whatever the army wanted.
Sir Richard: Did that mean what it appeared to mean? Or the complete opposite?
Tony: Not sure. Let's toss a coin and find out.
Sir Richard: What?!
Tony: Ha. Just joking, General. I really meant it. So, let's hear your wish-list.
Sir Richard: I'd like this in writing, please, Prime Minister.
Tony: Sure. And there's one condition. We announce nothing until the end of December.
Sir Richard: Deal.
Sir Richard writes his list on a piece of headed paper. Tony copies it all down, too.
Sir Richard: Fifteen extra choppers, 20 armoured personnel carriers, 40 more tanks and 1,000 extra support staff.
Tony: All yours. And I'll throw in a box of Jaffa Cakes each.
Sir Richard: Great. But why are you writing it on a greetings card? Tony: Little Christmas surprise for Gordon.