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The Columnist
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King Tony
  Episode I
  Episode II
  Episode 111
Episode IV
  Episode V
  Episode VI
  Episode VII
  Episode VIII & 1X
  Episode X
  History of King Tony








King Tony and the Duke of Livingstone

Yesterday I brought you a fragment of “The History of King Tony”, the only known Shakespearean play dealing directly with the progress of New Labour.  We didn’t get much further than the famous defeat of the Tory Army, so let’s see how King Tony settles in to power… 


The scene is the palace of Westminster. Enter King Tony accompanied by noblemen, courtiers, supplicants, advisers, Catholic priests, spin physicians, etc.

King Tony: Now, tell me, wise old men and gentle courtiers,
What is the greatest problem of our age?

Duke of Livingstone: It’s very simple. To regain our Socialist ways.

King Tony: Oh, come, dear Ken! Be not so obvious!
You wave our Labour history like a banner
Which magically shall cure our several ills,
And murmur Keir Hardie’s name as if a mantra
Which shall bring in some golden paradise!

Duke of Livingstone: Give socialism a chance ! It has not yet been tried.

King Tony: Ah yes, I love that old utopian chorus!
“It has not yet been tried”. ‘Twas ever thus.
Whenever men attempt to build a superstate,
Using a Marxist model or the free market,
Sooner or later it falls or fades away,
Discrediting the ideas on which it’s built.
But do we humans then renounce the ideas?
Oh no! We say, “We went not far enough!”
We say “It has not yet been properly tried!”.
Why, sirs, I keep this Duke of Livingstone
Like other men keep parrots in a cage,
To cry out, ever and anon, in purist rage,
“Give the Left Wing a chance! Give it a chance!”

Livingstone: (aside) I’ll lead this Tony such a devilish dance
When I am mayor of London, that he’ll rue
The day he chose his centre-rightist view!

King Tony: The greatest problem of our age is welfare!
We must reform the bleeding welfare state!
So what we’ll do is this. First, single mothers...
As King Tony pursues his speech, Dukes Prescott and Gordon-Brown stand apart and talk privily.

Gordon-Brown: What think you of our new anointed king?

Prescott: It suits him well. He loves to hear the crowd,
Beyond the palace walls, rehearse his name.
Here is a man who loves to be loved, methinks.

Gordon-Brown: And loves himself as well. See where his smile
Shines on his face whene’er he makes a point.
The court all worship him, from whom comes light,
But he has worship only for himself.

Prescott: And for those who worship him! For President Bill!
For evil Rupert, known as the Dirty Digger,
For Gerry Robinson, the off-shore king...

Gordon-Brown: Thou sayest sooth. He craves complete affection
From those below and everyone above!
As others desire money, he craves love!

Prescott: But hush. He looks this way. We must not seem
To be conspiring ‘gainst his crown and throne.

Gordon-Brown: Let’s smile and wave, and play the loyal friend.
But things may have a very different end....

The scene is a banqueting hall, where King Tony and Queen Cherie are welcoming guests as they arrive.

Queen Cherie: Pray, welcome, one and all, whoe’er you are !
From every walk of life, from law and City,
From show biz’s merry halls, from sport as well!
Lloyd Webber, Branson, Spice Girls, Irvine the Lord!
We welcome citizens right across the board !

Livingstone:(aside) Except the working class. There’s none such here.
This is become an elitist show, I fear.

King Tony: My lords and ladies, welcome to my home!
Where we shall show a model of the Dome!
But first, to set the spirit of this merry night...
Enter the ghost of Old Labour, which only King Tony can see.
No, no! Foul ghost, begone! Avaunt my sight!
Your hands are caked with dirt! Your face is grim!
You look like Aneurin Bevan! And who needs him?

Queen Cherie: My Lord, what is this sudden fit! What have you seen?
Why do you shake and glower at your Queen?

The ghost of Labour Past shakes his head at King Tony, points to a copy of the Labour Manifesto of 1945, wags a stern finger and vanishes.

King Tony: Saw you not the ghost of Labour past ?

Courtiers: Well, no we didn’t, your Highness, since you ask.

King Tony: Then, being so, I am myself again.  

Mandelson: ( aside )
I’d better phone the guys at News at Ten
And ask them not to mention this new fit.
If Tony should crack up, ‘twill ruin it !

In forthcoming extracts, we hear from the beleaguered Lady Mowlem in battle-torn Ireland, “Mad” Jack Cunningham, Donald the Scottish Pretender, etc, etc...

March 10th 1998

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