As you know, the Cabinet has been divided for many years between those who believe in a united Europe and those who believe that any move towards union will betray our nationhood.
Those who believe our destiny lies at the heart of Europe, and those who believe it will be a whole lot more fun to go it on our own.
The strife within the Cabinet has led to many lethal resignations and fatalities over the years, as well as injury to innocent bystanders. The battle has also spilt over into the public domain, with cabinet ministers and former cabinet ministers attempting to shoot each other's arguments full of holes, blow each other out of the water, nail each other down and even go for the jugular.
It has long been known that the Prime Minister could not let the violence continue.
However, the Prime Minister has let it continue. Now he has finally got to do something about it. But what?
Well, a peace process always seems to do the trick.
And that is exactly what he is engaged in doing.
A peace process may not bring peace, but it sounds as if it brings peace, and that is the main thing.
For some time the Prime Minister has been planning a cabinet peace initiative that would install an immediate ceasefire within the Cabinet and establish a framework for productive peace talks, etc etc.
Now, the draft discussion document has come into my hands, and it shows the Prime Minister means business.
It is a tough, urgent document, written in short thrusting paragraphs that show its author wishes to be thought of as a tough, urgent, thrusting sort of chap. It certainly has had a deleterious effect on my prose style, reading this war communiqu from our own Prime Minister.
I think deleterious is the word. But that is another matter ... The document is headed: "Highly Tough, Urgent, Thrusting and Confidential Discussion Document."
"To all cabinet members:
"I think you know what this is all about.
"Oh, yes, you do.
"I have told you often enough.
"Especially you, Kenneth.
"But in case you weren't listening, I'll spell it out again.
"1. We are now hopelessly divided over this whole, wretched question of Europe.
"2. There seems to be no prospect of our overcoming the historical wounds that have traditionally divided this great cabinet of ours into two opposing factions.
"3. But at least we are agreed on one thing.
"4. We must not let the outside world see our division.
"5. Because then the whole Tory party would fall apart, and we would be blown out of office, and although that might not be a bad thing for the country, there is a chance some of us might not get well-paid consultancies in the City after our fall from power, and that is not a chance we can reasonably be expected to take.
"6. Therefore, please, please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not go around writing articles and making speeches and giving interviews in which you publicly criticise things said by other members of the Cabinet in their articles, interviews and speeches, as I am sick to death of going on TV and being asked to explain why you are all saying different things and giving out different signals.
"7. I beg you not to do this.
"8. This is an order.
"9. While we are at it, could you please, please, PLEASE not use words like hegemony and nationhood and sovereignty. It makes people feel nervous. It certainly makes me feel nervous.
"10. It would also be very helpful if you would all please, please, please stop making references to the Second World War. It is now officially over! We all knew it would be a difficult five years during which we all celebrated the 50th anniversaries of the various events of the war, in which, sadly, our friends in Germany and ourselves were on different sides, but that is now almost over, as 1995 marks, let me see, yes 50 years since the end of the war, so thank goodness we are now in the clear and about to celebrate the great events of peace, such as the crushing defeat the Tories suffered in the first post-war election - no, as you were, there must have been something else worth celebrating, perhaps you could let me have a list.
"11. Please try not to leak this document without clearing it with me first."Reuse content