I am really feeling quite chipper about the political extinction of Tony Blair
…a gloomy Scotch mist has descended on Westminster…
I rejoiced – and then Brown began to speak
You know what, I decided about lunchtime yesterday that I couldn’t take any more. The whole thing was turning into a blubfest of nauseating proportions. First we had the Pyongyang-style standing ovation, in which hundreds of hypocritical parliamentarians clapped their hands sore in celebration of Tony Blair – when a great many of them have spent the past 10 years actively trying to winkle him out of Downing Street, a group that includes many on his own side, and above all his successor.
Then poor Margaret Beckett was so overwhelmed that she started to weep, and had to be “comforted” by John Reid, a procedure that is surely enough to make anyone snap out of it. And then we had the cavalcade moving off to the Palace, and what with the hushed tones of the newscasters and the thudding of the television helicopters overhead, the whole thing started to remind me of Diana’s funeral.
“It has been a very emotional day,” said Sky News’s Adam Boulton. “I have seen some incredible things today, things I never thought I would see.” What were these incredible things? “I have seen the Blairs’ exercise bicycle removed from Number 10,” groaned the honest fellow; and across Britain one imagined the Sky audience returning their sodden handkerchiefs to their eyes as they were racked with fresh bouts of sobbing. The exercise bicycle! The Prime Ministerial exercise bicycle! Never more to be used in Downing Street again! Woe, woe and thrice woe!
Even among the cynical brainboxes who sit here in the shadow ministry for higher education, I noticed a certain oohing and aahing, and so you will understand that I was seized with a desire to puncture the mood. Enough, I thought, of this glutinous sentimentality, and prepared to denounce the entire proceedings as a fraud.