Twelve Months have pass'd since I sett down my Predictions for the Year 2006, of which most hath infallibly come to pass, viz., that in the month of March Master Chas. Kennedy will collapse of a fitt, brought about by an Excess of strong Spirits, and will devote himself no farther to publick Affairs; that in June there will be a very surprising Spell of frosty Weather, which will last twelve Days; that in the Month of August Master Anth. Blair, that (under God) is at the Head of Affairs, will make a Journey of the utmost Splendour and Magnificence, accompanied by a Retinue worthy of the Queen of Sheba herself, as is related in the ancient Documents; and that in September there will be a conspiracy led by Master G. Brown or by those acting under his Authority, with a Plethora of Plots, stratagems, pronunciementos, &c., &c. .
I would happily pursue my Inquiries in the present vein, assisted by an astrolabe; Sir I Newton, his fluxions, not to mention optick glasses; all of which might be guaranteed to secure for myself an appropriate Audience in Westminster-hall, the law-Courts and the Queen's Palace. However, for my own Part, I would wish to extend my Inquiries (as is the widely proclaimed Habit of Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates ) not in the precise Mode sett down by the member of the Constabulary in question, but more in the Spirit of a candid Friend. Accordingly, I will put down on Paper some free Thoughts on the present State of Affairs. I have already writ something of Master Blair, his journeyings abroad during the Month of August; now a bare three Months have pass'd or, if you prefer the Calculation, four Months at the most, before he is off on his Travels again, accompanied by an intire Household. In much the same way, or so the old books relate, did Queen Elizabeth I, of blessed memory, contrive to impose the most grievous Burthens on her most Loyall subjects, with the Consequence that most of 'em were utterly ruined and had must needs have recourse for the Relief to the prerogative Courts.
As to which, I would cite two Considerations to be borne in Mind in any just Assessment: first, that all Master Blair's Benefactors were Persons with unlimited wealth at their disposall; and, secondly, that his Benefactors were Foreigners, altho' I would cite as exceptions, which might or might not prove any Rule, Master Geoffrey Robinson, Master Cliff Richard and Master Robin Gibb, of whom the last two are Singers, or so I have been reliably informed.
Though Master Blair hath good cause to be grateful to his Friends, or some of 'em, so is he likely to send others empty away; as an Illustration of which, I will quote the Example of a writer on The Guardian newspaper. I will refrain from naming Names, for fear of causing Offence, which it hath ever been my great Purpose to avoid. Week after Week the Contributor in question gives his full and frank View on the present State of Affairs, making his Opinion known that the Cares of Statesmen are manifold and their Tribulations endless.
Does Mr Blair show his Gratitude? Does he invite the Authour of these Civilities to No. Ten Downing Street or to Gatherings at Chequers in Bucks? So far as one is able to tell (although I am naturally open to correction in these Matters), not a single Letter of Thanks, still any Recommendations for a Dignity or Honour, has been found winging its way from Downing-street towards the object of his regard or, I should more properly state, the Person who ought to be that object of his high Opinion.
Master Blair much prefers to pay his Respects to Master Simon Heffer of The Daily Telegraph or to assorted Harpies at The Guardian; the Friend of whom I speak has been most shamefully neglected by those sett in Authority over us.
It will not have escaped the Attention of the observant that Master Blair is anxious to make his Peace with Mr Brown. He wishes to do so, in order to secure Mr Blair's Legacy, so- call'd. There is a great Scheam or Plan of Action which would cause no great inconvenience or great rise in the Taxes. Indeed, my own application of logarithmick Tables could well bring about an Amelioration of the publick Finances.
I have referred severall times in this Paper to Master Blair's well-attested Habit of taking his Vocations abroad. Why should he not stay in these Islands for such time as remains to him?
In one Sense, this might require the rejection of a Policy that had previously been pursued. This policy required the active enlistment of Benefactors who were both rich and Foreigners; although, as I have already had occasion to mention, there were a few indigenous Natives of the United Kingdom who were in a position to be able to meet Master Blair's Requirements.
The Benefactors concerned would not have been able to hold out for a long time. It would have been like the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan an Endless drain on the publick resources. It could possibly have gone on to August or September. But there is a simpler solution; that is, for Master Blair to spend the rest of his remaining Days at Chequers.
I really do not know whether Master Blair likes the Place. I would not expect him to use it as undoubtedly he is able to do. He clearly possesses a liking for getting into or out of Aeroplanes, and for staying with other People rather than for other People to stay with him. He is more Nature's Guest than he is Nature's Host; and the same can presumably be said of Cherie Mrs Blair, for she likewise is more Nature's Guest than she is Nature's Hostess; perhaps more so.
Of course, it is not going to happen. No-one ever said it was. The entire Point of sending Mr Blair on a sojourn to Chequers is to try to see what would happen. Clearly, Mr Brown would come about, sooner rather than later.
My customary annual Predictions will return next year. For, to say the Truth, and to be perfectly candid, the whole Performance is becoming a Strain upon my Resources. The Question of when, precisely, the Queen's First Minister should take over is quite serious. We have been playing around with it for most of the last Year. What we have now, at the end of December, is perhaps worse than that which we had at the end of September. Mr Blair has brought uncertainty all round. The present State of Affairs becomes more unstable by the week.Reuse content