Sire, banish these dark thoughts of yon Duke Gordon!

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The Independent Culture
MORE TODAY 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: King Tony's Counsel Chamber, where he is about to receive Duke Gordon Brown.

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 a 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 his wife, Queen Cherie]

Queen: Now, sire, do 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!

Tony: And orders what folk may or may not do!

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: 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.

Tony: Ah, yes? Let us inspect your Budget speech

So that I may have some input into it.

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!

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

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

Brown: What is this, my liege? Why do you shout?

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, take 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: Gawd, me blisters! Must find a place 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? Don't miss the next episode!