Terence Blacker: The Budget of Ken's dreams


Related Topics

By one of those inexplicable quirks of modern technology, there was a most unusual case of crossed wires in the House of Commons this week. While the rest of the nation listened to George Osborne's Budget speech, another narrative was coming through loud and clear on the smartphone of a junior parliamentary correspondent. It was, unmistakably, issuing from the contented form of the Justice Secretary, who appeared to be asleep. Here, exclusively, are the main points of Kenneth Clarke's dream, which seemed to get under way quite soon after the Chancellor began speaking.

"Today's Budget is an urgent call to action for Britain...."

Hm. Hm? Sun on the face, hair ruffled by the gentle wind. Murmuring sound around me, what could that be? Ah yes, it's my classic Morgan convertible purring down a country road. Radio's on. Somebody's droning on and on. Voice seems annoyingly familiar.

"... This Government declares these principles again today for the modern age..."

Modern age! How many times have I heard that in my life? What's on Radio 2? Ah, jazz favourites. Now we're talking. It's the great hard-bop supremo Cannonball Adderley, playing One for Daddy-O! Wha-what? Someone's nudging me. I don't believe it. There, gazing provocatively at me from the olive-green leather passenger seat is none other than the classic French chanteuse Juliette Greco. I smile seductively at her. Bonjour to you, ma cherie.

"Ken! Ken!" I could almost swear that's the voice of Danny Alexander, junior minister of something or other. Ignore it – that always works. Was that a thump? I have a nasty feeling that I might just have run over the little Lib Dem, but here's a funny thing – I don't give a damn.

"... Britain has a plan. And we're sticking to it..."

I glance across. The gorgeous Gallic charmer Anouk Aimée is holding something firm and beautiful in her slender hand. Now I'm breathless with excitement. The little minx has only managed to bring a Romeo y Julieta Corona with her! She places it delicately between my lips. Mm, mm, first two puffs – a Cuban cigar lit by a French starlet. Could anything be better?

"... we simply cannot go on like this".

Suddenly we're home. The lady wife is at the front door. I have that niggling sense that I've forgotten something. Was I meant to be making a speech? Are my fly-buttons undone? I explain to the wife that there might be a bit of fuss since I've just run over Danny Alexander and replaced him with my new friend – I turn– the smouldering jazz temptress Annie Ross. That annoying voice is still speaking.

"There should be no cherry-picking on either side..."

And this time it's coming from my own sitting room. I burst in. Sitting around a long table is a group of smartly dressed schoolchildren. One of them is speaking. It's Osborne!

Marianne Faithfull stands beside me, straightens my tie and tucks my shirt into the front of my trousers. "Have you forgotten, Ken?" she asks huskily. "It's a Cabinet meeting." I stride forward and, without more ado, sit firmly in the chair occupied by Cameron, squashing him flat. As I settle in, I feel him twitching beneath me but only for a few seconds. He's rather comfortable.

"We have put fuel into the tank of the British economy..."

I'm peckish, as it happens. At that moment, the door opens. Margaret Thatcher enters, bearing a mighty roast with all the trimmings! A wine waiter at my elbow pours me a glass. "Not a bad dwop, is it, Ken?" I look up to see my old pal Heseltine. The old gang is back! In short order, the schoolkids are kicked off their seats and run away blubbing. I'm surrounded by chums - Norman Fowler, Johnny Major, Hurdo, even Smoothie Parkinson.

" ...and I commend this Budget to the House." Hear, hear!


React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for scepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little