Wing Commander Tom flung his immaculately tailored jacket to the floor and brandished his handgun from within his waistcoat.
“I’ve been waiting for you to give that order for so very long, ma’am,” said Tom, checking the magazine.
Lucy was not only breathless from the impact of seeing the Wing Commander in slightly fewer clothes, but also a little excited that she suddenly appeared to have the power of life and death over journalists. She found the latter a little worrying, if she was honest.
“Prime Minister, I would strongly advise against this course of action,” cautioned Sir Edd, his previous assurance now noticeably wavering.
“First against the wall is that bastard editor from the Nazi Times,” spat Tom with uncharacteristic spite. “I mean the Daily Mail, obviously.”
“Actually,” cut in Nigel Farage, nonchalantly positioning himself closer to the biscuits. “I think Sir Edd’s right on this one, Prime Minister. People tend to notice these things and they rarely go down well.”
“We need to retrieve that weapon most urgently!” insisted Tom. “If it was hidden in the bushes it was probably put there by whoever shot Tony Blair. It will lead us to the killer.”
“Yes, but there’s got to be a better way of going about it than shooting everybody,” said Lucy, reasonably. “Sir Edd, you said they had questions for me?”
“Yes, Prime Minister,” replied Sir Edd, removing a crisply folded sheet of paper from his jacket pocket. “Let me see, yes – well, they specifically want to know why an American weapon has been hidden in the shrubbery by the front door. The Daily Mail want to know if the Chancellor of the Exchequer used it to shoot his tailor…”
“Aha! So they still don’t know about Blair!” King Boris exclaimed, leaping to his feet. “This is most fortuitous indeed. Listen up, chaps – I’ve got a plan!”
Nigel’s head involuntarily fell into his hands and a small wail slipped through his fingers.
“No, honestly, it’s really good…” Boris licked his lips and struck a grand pose that he hoped would entrance his audience. “We tell them that the gun was mine and it slipped out of my trousers as I was coming through the door. I shall thank them all in the most unabashed manner for finding my shooter and demand the damn item back from them like the King that I am. You see?”
Wing Commander Tom appeared to be sulking, a sure sign that he hadn’t thought of anything better. Minister for Good Ideas & Gin Dr Martens was artfully combining both aspects of her role by thinking rapidly and drinking gin with equal gusto.
“I think,” said Dr Martens “That it is a Good Idea. They can’t very well argue with the King of Oxford. Well, not to his face, anyway. They would definitely have to give the gun back. All that worries me is, it’s not a very interesting story for them – they might start looking more deeply into things.”
“Aha! That’s simple!” exclaimed Boris. “This used to happen to us all the time, back in the olden days. We just need to divert their grubby little attentions towards something scandalous and – shazam! – they forget all about the properly important business.”
“Really?” said Lucy, eyebrows reaching for her hairline. “Is it really that easy?”
“Oh, yes,” chortled Boris. “Why do you think they kept me around in government for so long? The minute some hideous governmental cock-up got a little too feisty, out comes old Bozza! A wave of the todger and a bit of casual, light-hearted xenophobia and before you know it, the crisis is averted. Bozza becomes the crisis! I was what you might call a ‘decoy politician’. It’s nice work if you can get it, I tell you.”
“If that’s the case, how is it that Nigel wasn’t more successful?” asked Tom.
“The problem was that my lot were all decoy politicians,” answered Nigel, with a sigh. “But listen. We do have the perfect scandal – and I was thinking that, just to be on the safe side, maybe we should recreate the scene for some photos – maybe even a video – that we can leak to the press.”
“You mean the peace treaty?” asked Lucy.
“The legally binding peace treaty,” cut in Wing Commander Tom.
“Erm…” for once, Boris struggled for words.
“Yes, yes” continued Nigel. “And this is where the really clever bit comes in. We make a big song and dance about the peace treaty – historic event, leading the way in unity, blah blah – get everyone really fired up, right? Then, we schedule a sort of ceremonial thing – signing bits of paper, the joining of the nations, whatever – create a massive media circus, all eyes on us, yes? On the big day, we get the most junior minister we can find to send out a really dull-sounding press release about whatever we say about Blair and it’ll get about four lines at the bottom of page sixteen.”
“We can just tell them that we tried him for war crimes but he died in his sleep during his first night in prison!” squealed Lucy, excited to be joining in. “This is it! This is my plan! And look – it’s working!”
“Well done, Prime Minister!” said Dr Martens, offering a small applause.
“Well, we can sort out the details about Blair later,” said Nigel, waving her into silence. “I think, right now, the really important thing is to get these videos and what have you leaked out to the press, so we should probably look at sorting that out right away…”
But the Cabinet were already toasting the success of the Prime Minister appearing to have done something vaguely productive. Inexplicably, Lucy’s plan to bring Tony Blair to justice and reunite Great Britain actually seemed to be happening. ‘Seemed’ being the operative word, of course, because neither of those things were quite true. But it didn’t matter. Sometimes when things are written down enough, they become true, one way or another.
King Boris was noticeably less enthusiastic in the joviality than he might be, but was gamely joining in with the celebratory quaffing nonetheless. Even he was considerably more pleased than a stoney-faced Sir Edd Evans-Morley, however. Sir Edd was not pleased at all.