When Dr Cunningham threatened to hang Prince Charles

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The Independent Culture
IT'S TIME for another helping of The History of King Tony or New Labour's Lost, the Shakespearean comi-tragi-history of King Tony's efforts to get his country into Europe, or at least into the next century. In the last extract, King Tony lost two of his bravest knights, Sir Peter Mandelson and Sir Geoffrey Robinson. Now what new woes will beset our brave monarch?

The scene is the king's counsel chamber, where his advisers, spin doctors, soothsayers, astrologers, Catholic spies, etc, await him. Enter the King, followed closely by Lord "Doctor" Jack Cunningham. They stand apart and converse.

King Tony: How goes the world with thee, Lord

High Enforcer?

Is all at peace and quiet in my realm?

Jack: My liege, your countrymen are well content, Except in Scotland, Wales and Eltham, Kent.

Tony: The Scottish and the Welsh are always


But what can ail suburban, Kentish Eltham,

Near where the A2 sweeps its lordly way

Down to the ancient town of Dover, where

A tunnel, dug so cunningly 'neath the ocean,

Does take our British shoppers 'cross to France

Where they may buy their groceries far more cheap

Than they can get them in a British shop...

Does that explain the grievances in Eltham?

Jack: In part, my Lord; but chief among their woes

Is the unpunished killing of a black boy there

By young white thugs who still walk free today.

Tony: Then they must hang! Go, fetch the constable!

Jack: Oh, that it were quite so easy as all that!

Alas, the constable himself is also suspect.

Tony: Of killing the hapless youngster, do you mean?

Then send for men to bring the constable in

And I shall have him hanged before nightfall!

Jack: No, sire. That will not help. The constable

Is not exactly guilty. But his chief, Sir Paul,

Is thought to know much more than he lets on.

Tony: Then bring Sir Paul, this rascal, here to me,

And we shall string him from the nearest tree!

Jack: No, sire. That will not do. We must proceed

More gently. Bloody deeds may cleanse your soul

But injure you in an opinion poll.

Tony: How right you are, Lord "Doctor"


From rash reactions you are there to save me!

But soft - who comes here splashed with mud,

As one who rides non-stop for days and days?

Enter a breathless messenger.

Messenger: King Antony, I ride hotfoot from Wales,

To bring you news of freshly brewing trouble!

Tony: How can this be? I thought I'd sorted out

The voting for the new Welsh parliament!

Saw you not the way I stitched up Rhodri Morgan

And engineered into the seat of power

Duke Allan Michael, boring but so loyal?

Jack: I did, my liege, and well you did it too.

Messenger: And yet this same Duke Michael will


Your wrath for what he's done this day in Wales.

Together with Prince Charles, the Old Pretender,

He has combined to eat a plate of meat!

Tony: Can such a deed be called so very wrong?

Messenger: The meat they ate was beef, still on

the bone!

Jack: Oh, this is treachery! This is black and base!

I seethe! I burn! Base Michael and vile Charles

Shall feel the fiery edge of my just wrath!

They have defied the ban and both must hang!

Tony: Come now, my good Lord "Doctor", come!

Just now you urged me not hang Paul Condon,

And now I beg you to be calm and sweet.

To hang Duke Allan Michael is not meet.

The folk of Wales might take the thing awry

If their new leader was hung out to dry.

Jack: You may be right. I should just simmer down. Tony: And now it's time to fetch Duke Gordon


Jack: You aim to hang your trusty Chancellor?

Tony: No, no! Well, not quite yet, at least, for now. No, this is the time when he compiles his Budget,

That moment when he tells the folk of England

How he will take more money from their purse.

He loves this moment, when he strides the stage

And seem to be the expert of the age!

And so I love to put my oar in too

And tell Duke Gordon Brown just what to do.

Jack: Which drives him mad?

Tony: Which sends him round the bend! And that of course is just what I intend!

More of this intriguing saga tomorrow!