The Curious Campaign Diary of Tony Blair

We may have a War Room, but we don't Mention the War

Share

"The Basil Fawlty Election" ... that's what Alastair called it on Monday. I said: "But wasn't Basil Fawlty a misguided, egotistical, incompetent owner of a small hotel in Torquay who, in his head, was running something altogether grander, so what has that got to do with this election?"

"The Basil Fawlty Election" ... that's what Alastair called it on Monday. I said: "But wasn't Basil Fawlty a misguided, egotistical, incompetent owner of a small hotel in Torquay who, in his head, was running something altogether grander, so what has that got to do with this election?"

When Alastair stopped laughing, he said: '"No, it's The Basil Fawlty Election because we Don't Mention the War." Which is odd because we Won the War. And now Iraq has Peace and Security and Democracy and will soon have Shopping Malls and McDonald's.

Anyway, he briefed me on what to do if the War does come up. What I do is put on my Troubled Face. Then I say that I know it is a Contentious Issue. Then I say it was a Hard Decision. (This is when I do my Hard Decision Face.) Then I say I respect the people who disagreed with me. (This is when I do my Sincere Face.) Then I quickly move on to a different subject.

It's very clever. Because it appears that I'm discussing the issue when I'm actually Shutting Down detailed debate.

Wednesday was a lovely day. I got to do chatting with Jeremy Paxman. It was great because, for some reason, we haven't done chatting with each other since the last election. "Not presenting Top Gear any more, Jeremy?" I joked. And he quipped back: "You won't admit you misled the country into War, you don't know how many Illegal Immigrants there are here, and last election you lied about raising taxes."

This is called Banter. I'm not very good at doing Banter. I'm much better at doing Indignant. And doing Sincere. So I had the clever idea of combining both and doing Indignantly Sincere. This was obviously a great success, as afterwards Alastair said: "Nice one, Tone mate, that was a fucking vote winner!" Then he left the room in a hurry.

Then on Thursday The Sun told its readers to vote for me. Which was nice. But even though this is a massive boost to my campaign, I am Not Taking Anything For Granted. And that's why, even though we Don't Mention the War in the campaign, we still fight the campaign like one.

So we have a War Room, and an Attack Task Force, and a Rapid Rebuttal Unit, and a Media Monitoring Unit to give us up-to-the-minute Intelligence. But the most important thing we have to do is to convince the British public that there is a War to be fought. And you can't fight a War unless you have an enemy.

Our problem is that Mr Howard is a rubbish enemy. And not much of a threat. But we have to pretend that he is. That's why I go on and on about his Policies of Mass Destruction. That gets everyone worried. Then I constantly highlight his record of Past Atrocities, like the Poll Tax.

Then you need something that brings it all into focus. You need a claim that Crystallises the danger. That's why I go on and on about the Tories' £35bn of Spending Cuts that would leave all the doctors and teachers in the country On the Dole!

What's worse is that I have Extensive and Detailed and Authoritative intelligence that Mr Howard could unleash his £35bn of spending cuts within 45 minutes of coming to power.

Then I get to do my "Could You Really Live With Yourself If You Do Nothing to Oppose This Madman? I Know I Couldn't" look.

It's one of my favourites.

When I told Alastair all this, he smiled. Then he said his favourite wartime tactic was Embedding journalists. He said that in this way the Twat-Faced Bunch of Complete Gilligans are so excited at covering the fire-fights that they have no idea of what's really going on in the battlefield as a whole. Then he made a joke that I didn't understand, about The First Casualty in War, which made the others laugh.

I don't like it when I don't get the joke, so I Exerted My Authority and told the others to get on with doing something useful like coming up with a catchy name for this new War we were fighting. Eventually Gordon suggested what about "Gulf War Three - Bridging the Gulf Between You and the Electorate".

But I didn't know what he meant. Ciao, Tony

As told to Rohan Candappa, author of The Curious Incident of the WMD in Iraq. (He is also available for work sexing up dossiers)

React Now

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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

So who, really, is David Cameron, our re-elected ‘one nation’ Prime Minister?

Andrew Grice
Time travel: Thomas Cook has been trading since 1841  

A horror show from Thomas Cook that tells you all you need to know about ethical consumerism

Janet Street-Porter
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable