A future of fair-trade bananas and tyrant-busting

Tony feels the hand of history. Peter offers his old friend a chance to front the . . . shh, don't

Scene 1: Brussels. Peter Mandelson’s office. Tony arrives to find suntanned Mandy relaxing in a whirlpool bath, holding a Bombay Sapphire in one hand and a copy of the new EU treaty in the other.

Mandy: Hi, Tony.

Tony: Hi, Peter. Lovely pad.

Mandy: Welcome to the new slimline Europe, eh? Pour yourself a cocktail and pull up a Mies van der Rohe.

He indicates a complicated chair. Tony sits.

Tony: Crikey. You've fixed things up nicely here.

Mandy: Well, I like to make sure I'm properly taken care of. Unlike poor old you, eh? Just one teeny little week left till Gordon turfs you out of No 10. What happened to that full third term?

Tony: All right, don't rub it in.

Mandy: Why not? I find it amusing. You know if you hadn't sacked me I'd have seen him off in no time. And you'd have been in power till 2010, ready to hand over to pretty little Milibonce, who'd have scraped back with a working majority for another five years. But oh dearie me. Instead, you decided to wallop the party with a three-year dose of the big clunking fist. Tell me, was Gordon your revenge on the grass roots?

Tony: Get over it, Peter. I've made my peace with Gordon. You should do the same.

Mandy: Whatever for? I find grudges improve with age.

Tony: Well, I'm focusing on the future. Now, this constitution . . .

Mandy [covers his ears]: What? Who said that? It's a treaty. Please. Don't use the C-word.

Tony: OK. Whatever. Now I'm hoping there's something juicy in it for me. Something historic, eh? Nudge nudge.

Mandy: Like EU president?

Tony: Really? Oh! My goodness, I never imagined . . . [stands] that such a prize could ever be mine. However, when a great continent calls I cannot turn away or pass by on the other side. And so today I make this pledge to the people of Europe . . .

Mandy: Cut the speech, Tony. You are not going to be EU president.

Tony: But you just said . . .

Mandy: I've got something much more exciting in mind. Now fetch the vermouth. I feel like a top-up.

Scene 2: An hour later. Mandy has explained the treaty to Tony.

Tony: Great stuff. Should go down well at home, especially the business about recycling cardboard and importing fair-trade bananas from emerging democracies. By the way, is that actually true?

Mandy: Don't be naive, Tony. This is a treaty, not a witness statement. The whole banana trade's totally stitched up already.

Tony: Gordon can deal with that. Now the only thing I smell trouble over is the new tyrant-busting international task force.

Mandy: Why?

Tony: Wasteful, poorly focused, and it duplicates the job done by national armed services.

Mandy: Er, did I mention who was leading it?

Tony: Who?

Mandy: Tony Blair.

Tony: It's a brilliant scheme.

Scene 3: Downing Street. The Browns' flat.

Sarah: Shall I wear red or yellow at the Palace?

Gordon: It's just me. You're not coming.

Sarah: But Hello! are doing a spread. They offered a million quid to Great Ormond Street. And Vivienne Westwood's doing my dress.

Gordon: Absolutely no way.

Sarah: Oh come on. You can't deny the poor kiddies all that dosh.

Gordon: Jesus, all right. Just this once. But I don't want you turning into Cherie.

Sarah: Ha! [Her mobile rings. She answers it] Vivienne? Hi, guess what? Gordon thinks I'm turning into Cherie. Now, darling, let's say tomorrow for the second fitting. And it is free, isn't it? Think of the exposure in Hello!

Gordon: Oh God . . .

Scene 4: Brussels. Tony and Mandy return from a signing ceremony.

Tony [elated]: This isn't just the hand of history - no, this is the whole right arm ready to sweep the world clean of dictators. We'll stick Mugabe in chains. Then move to Iran and string up Ahmadinnnerjacket. Then Libya and . . . Ah, Gaddafi's my new best mate, isn't he? Anyway, I'll need a tailor-made uniform, too. White, with medals. Like Goering, only a bit trimmer around the waist. The Pope will bless it and . . .

Mandy: I wouldn't go ordering your uniform yet. Wait for the referendum.

Tony: The what?

Mandy: Article 7, paragraph 6a.

Tony: You didn't say anything about a referendum.

Mandy: No. You did. In the treaty.

Tony: Oh my God. Why didn't you mention it?

Mandy: Oops. Must have slipped my mind.

Tony: Well, we'll just have to rip it up and renegotiate.

Mandy: Too late, old chum. You've put your squiggle on the dotted line. And the pen you used has already been despatched to the EU Museum of Sacred Antiquities.

Tony: Christ! But the people will throw it out. The Tories will have a field day. We'll be stuffed.

Mandy: Oh dear. Poor old Gordon. Now, is that vermouth still around?

"Neighbours from hell" will be moving out of the street next week, when Tony Blair departs from No 10

This article first appeared in the 25 June 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Israel, Gaza and a summer of war?