Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

The Columnist
  to the Independent page
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








More of the unfolding saga of Tony Blair, as told in the recently rediscovered Shakespearean masterpiece “The History of King Tony” or “New Labour’s Lost”. Today we kick off with the first known Shakespearean description of the lead-up to Budget Day…       

The scene is King Tony’s Counsel Chamber, where he is about to receive a visit from Duke Gordon Brown. CLOSE ITALICS

King Tony: (Meditating aloud)
God give me strength to deal with Gordon Brown!
So restless is he in his daily work
I scarce can pin him in a chair to sit
Before he twitches to his feet again
And roams around the room like some mad prophet,
Spilling facts and charts as he declaims.
He is a man whose eye is hard to meet -
It darts around the room like some mad hare,
While his faint smile doth flicker on and off
Like lightning on his native Scottish hills.
Did I say HIS? I meant, OUR native hills.
For I must learn to be a Scot again
And catch their hearts when devolution comes...
Perhaps I should have kept my Scottish brogue,
As Gordon Brown has done. Oh, damn the rogue...!

As he is talking, enter silently his wife, Queen Cherie. She listens for a moment, then speaks.

Queen: Now, sire, you must not let yourself come down
With darkest thoughts of yon Duke Gordon Brown.
Think not of him as rival or pretender -
To gain your crown is not on his agenda.
He is your Chancellor, that’s all. He works for you!

King Tony: And orders what folk may or may not do!
He struts and frets upon the modern stage
As if he were some miracle-dealing sage!
He tells MY people how to spend THEIR cash.
But I will get the blame if there’s a crash!

Queen: Sweet king, sweet king, you must not brood like this!
Calm yourself down. Give your dear queen a kiss.

King Tony: What? And let my Chancellor see us embrace?
I’ll teach the wretch to know his proper place!
I’ll not have him sneaking round and spying...
Enter Duke Gordon Brown
Ah, there you are! You see, I’ve caught you prying!

Gordon Brown:
My Lord, I know not what you mean by that.
I merely come to show my Budget speech
Which I am due to show to your fair people
Tomorrow afternoon, as ever is.

King Tony: Ah, yes! Let us inspect your Budget speech
So that I may have some input into it!

Gordon Brown: Too late for that, my lord, I much do fear.
The speech is writ. I cannot change a thing.
Not even for the fancy of a king.

King: (Aside to his Queen)
You see? He scarce contains his mockery!
He likes me not! He hates my very guts!

Queen: No, no, my Lord! I’m sure it is not so!
‘Tis just his manner, which is quite abrupt.
I grant his outside look is stiff and cold,
But the inner man may have a heart of gold!

Brown: You speak of gold? Yes, later on I shall
Deal with this matter when I come to speak
Upon the very real and pressing problems
Of international currencies today...

King: You see? Just press a button. Off he goes!
With an instant lecture on our nation’s woes!
Within that breast there beats no human heart
-  He is a man controlled by graph and chart!

Brown: Turning now to steady control of growth...

King: There shall be no such turn now, by my troth!

Brown: Why, what is this, my liege? Why do you shout?
And why should I leave such weighty questions out
As inflation, growth, the labour pool...?

King: Stop there! I am the King! Tis I who rule!
You must not treat me as a boy at school.
All that I need from you, come Budget Day,
Is for you to face the folk and say
That you are lowering taxes this time round
Although still screwing them into the ground!
The art of Budgets is to understand
How to give with one, and remove with the other, hand!

Brown: Sire, this I know. I think that you shall see
A Budget which will benefit you and me,
Even if brings good to no-one else!

King: Good, good...But what on earth... Hell’s bells!
Who comes this way inside our very Palace?
What is this shape, this half demented Alice,
Striding across the floor with nine feet paces
Pulling the most alarming unfeminine faces!

Enter Dame Janet Street-Porter, bearing a banner reading “Give Us The Right to Ramble!”.

Janet:Oh Gawd, me blisters!
Must find somewhere to sit,
Then I can speak my piece, and this is it.
We now demand the unlimited right to roam
And anywhere we walk, that place is home!


Will King Tony get rid of Dame Janet? Or Duke Gordon Brown, come to that? Don’t miss the next exciting episode!


The Independent Mar 10 1999


END - back to top