Sir Peter's pale head rolls at the feet of Queen Cherie

What sort of ghastly error can you mean? Explain yourself, my enigmatic Queen
Click to follow
The Independent Culture
I AM often asked if there is any more of the rediscovered Shakespearean play The History of King Tony or New Labour's Lost, Love. Indeed there is, and to prove it here is the part of the play which covers the previous month and proves that, even for great ones, Christmas is not always without its troubles.

King Tony's country palace at Chequers. King Tony helps Queen Cherie to pack for the royal retinue prior to its departure for foreign parts.

King Tony: Be sure to take the secret telephones

Which link us to our loyal courtiers.

Queen: How many of these phones are there to


Tony: There's one for our most loyal Sir Alastair,

Who, though he has a Scottish name, I trust.

There's one for Mandelson, the peerless knight.

There's one for Cook, Lord Robin of that name,

To let him know whene'er I bomb Iraq.

There's one which links me to American Bill,

To let me talk through everything he plans,

Arguing and testing his ideas...

Queen: Before you hand to him the unsigned


Of your unstinting, spaniel-like approval...

And there's another here quite new to me.

The label says: "Hot line to Bernard Ingham".

Tony: Why, that's the bluff old Yorkshireman who

served Queen Margaret in her former days of power!

How he'd bark and snarl at all the scribblers,

And afterwards they drank and laughed at him,

Saying his teeth were all of rubber made!

Queen: At least he always called a spade a spade. Tony: That's all that he could do. He sounded frank

But all his speech was absolutely blank.

It is a precious gift, to speak your mind

While keeping all that's relevant behind...

Queen: Shall I then jettison this telephone?

Tony: Yes, throw it out. But hold! Before you do

Let's play a little jest on that old man.

I'll ring him up and ask if he does wish

To be a panellist on Question Time.

He loves so much the art of telly chat,

He'll leap at it and never smell a rat!

Queen: I will not let you play a trick like that!

Such things do come to haunt us afterwards.

Some little thing we recked not at the time

Will seem in retrospect a ghastly error.

Tony: What sort of ghastly error can you mean? Explain yourself, my enigmatic Queen!

Before she can answer, one of the telephones rings. Tony: Ah ha! The pale white telephone doth ring,

Betokening a call from Sir Peter Mandelson.

Pale and white like him, and smooth withal.

Perchance he rings to wish me Happy Christmas.

Queen: Answer the thing and find out if he does! Tony: I will, I will... King Tony at your service.

Hello, Peter! Yes, and the same to you...

What's that you say? You ring to say good bye?

Your resignation's in the Christmas post?

What can you mean? Your loan has been found out?

What loan is this? From Lord G Robinson?

Hello, hello... The wretched line's gone dead!

I cannot credit what my ears have heard.

His voice was full of tears and husky grief.

I have not known him in this state before!

Queen: Of course you never have. Before this day

Sir Peter always caused distress to others.

He rose to the top by dint of others' tears.

But now at last his own luck disappears

And he has come to grief, and feels that grief,

As a drowning sailor, sinking on a reef.

Tony: You never liked him much, I see that now!

You're glad of his comeuppance, you old cow!

Queen: He stole you from me! Can you not see that?

My influence on you was by him squashed flat!

Where I your only confidante had formerly been,

I found myself replaced by this young queen!

Tony: I see it all! And so you told the press

About his loan, and made this awful mess!

Queen: You cannot prove I told a living soul.

I may have done - but other heads will roll!

Tony: What other heads? What is this double


Queen: Expect the head of brave Sir Charlie


To be brought before us, steaming on a platter.

Tony: Charles Whelan? Why him?

Queen: It does not matter.

No one will know my hand in all of this.

Now, sire, to the Seychelles and Christmas bliss!

More of this on Monday, I hope.