Cripes! School captain Tony gets a ribbing
Sunday 04 September 2005
The Prime Minister and his chums have fallen victim to a merciless new satire that transports them from the comfy sofas of Downing Street to the gloomy corridors of an Edwardian boarding institution.
New Labour's head prefects may boss the Westminster classroom, but at St Stephen's College the Bible-thumping Dr Bush is head, a chap called Murdoch runs the newspaper, helped by his loyal lackey Campbell, and the school poet is called Prescott.
More controversially, Peter is the "toast fag" while old Berlusconi has taken over the tuck shop.
Published next month, Anthony Blair, Captain of School is keenly awaited by the Prime Minister's critics, who are already sniggering at early extracts.
It is a fine piece of literary revenge for author and former political journalist John Morrison, who has good reason to remember the black arts of Alastair Campbell. For Mr Blair it is a stinker, combining outright ridicule with an attack on his continuing problems in Iraq.
"I don't want to give the plot away completely, but there is a very affable chap called Kennedy who ends up getting shot dead and there is another chap who dies called Kelly," said Mr Morrison.
"Westminster... is very much like a boarding school environment," he said.
The author, who spent three decades working for Reuters, had cause for anger with Mr Campbell when the Prime Minister's former press secretary filed an article of his own to national newspapers under the byline of John Morrison.
He denies any grudge, however, and says instead that anger at the Iraq war was his motivation for writing the book - and publishing it himself.
It describes how triumph turns to disaster when Blair and Dr Bush send the College Rifle Corps to Mesopotamia, the slum district of the fictional town of Coalhaven. "They will try to dismiss it as fun and humour, but I really hope that they don't like it," Mr Morrison said.
'Anthony Blair, Captain of School' will be published on 13 October by Black Pig Books (£9.99). It can be ordered directly from Gazelle Book Services on 01524 68765
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