THE SIXTH EPISODE OF
The History of King Tony
or New Labour's Lost Love
The scene is the Palace of Westminster, where King Tony is addressing the crowd of courtiers and subjects about his new political arrangements.
King Tony: My loyal subjects! My noble band of freemen!
Who helped me to this throne a year ago
When we did conquer the great Tory army
Upon the field and put them all to flight,
Know then that I did promise thee a plan
To bring back life to our society!
A Heckler: Aye, and reform the welfare state and all!
And give us Freedom of Information as by right!
But precious little have we seen of it!
The heckler is taken away by armed guards, so that they can explain to him how wrong he is.
King Tony: A year has gone, and much of what I said to you
Is now in place. Yet much is still to do.
And that is why I call upon fresh blood
To carry out the grand and noble plans
Which I will bring along the great third way!
Accordingly this day I name Lord Mandelson
To handle all our trade and industry.
Subdued booing and hissing in the populace.
King Tony:(ASIDE) Strange that a man who can make others loved
Finds it so hard to do the trick himself.
(LOUD)I call upon our much-loved Cunningham,
The man who’s known to all as Doctor Jack,
To run my all-important spying ring
So that he can tell me everything!
One day, perhaps, he’ll tell me why he’s known
Heckler: For curing beef on the bone!
In the ensuing laughter, Duke Gordon-Brown and the Duke of Livingstone stand to one side and converse conspiratorially.
Gordon-Brown: What think you of the changes that he makes?
Livingstone: Not very good for you. And bad for me.
Gordon-Brown: Come now, brave Ken! Be not downcast and pale!
There never was a chance that he would pick
A veteran leftie such as you for power!
You are more trouble than it’s worth, own up!
Livingstone: This may be so. But I’m no worse than you.
Tony has cut the ground from ‘neath your feet.
He has appointed Mandelson, whom you hate.
And Lord Stephen Byers will be a thorn to you...
Gordon-Brown: One day, when I have risen to the throne,
I shall appoint some good men of my own.
Livingstone: Shall I be one?
Gordon-Brown: I fear not, even then.
I like thee, but I trust thee not, dear Ken.
Livingstone: Remember, when at last you gain the crown,
That I trust thee, but I like thee not, dear Brown!
By then of course, I shall be London’s first new mayor.
Gordon-Brown: Not if King Tony does not want you there ...
Conspiratorially, they wink, shake hands and fade into the crowd.
King Tony: Alas, poor Harriet! She did serve me well,
But now her usefulness is at an end,
Except as scapegoat. So, giving her some flowers,
I wish her well and push her out of doors.
Who else is there? Ah, Sir Alastair Darling!
Heckler: We thought Alastair Campbell was your darling!
Laughter,in which King Tony shares.
King Tony: (ASIDE) I like to hear the people laugh out loud!
There’s nothing cheerier than a happy crowd.
A man clad in white appears, called Martin Bell, and shakes a finger at King Tony, as King Tony goes back into his palace and the crowd disperses.
Bell: Trust not the crowd, this cruel and fickle beast.
They turn on you when you expect it least.
King John Major thought he had it tamed.
It turned on him and left him cruelly maimed.
They like you now, but wait till inflation rages!
Wait till recession turns back history’s pages!
King Tony: And blah di blah, and so on and so forth.
Your endless messages of gloom and doom
Impress me not. I have them in my hand!
They love me! Can you not understand?
Bell: No king is truly loved until he’s dead.
Think of that next time you lie in bed.
The King call for help, and Martin Bell is chased out by angry guards, leaving King Tony looking pale and thoughtful.
More of this anon, gentle readers.
The Independent Wednesday July 29 1998