My New Order – Tony Blair in the Wilderness 2

…the continuing story of Tony Blair in the wilderness…Tony’s train north drags on…Tony starts to talk to his teddy bear…

It may not have been, Ich bin ein Berliner, but then Berlin, divided and surrounded by Soviet tanks, was not Sedgefield. I’d been in Scotland five hours and I’d only travelled forty miles. Relatively speaking, I was going backwards. This was not something to be tolerated in my new order. Going backwards was not an option, although it was better than going nowhere, like those other wasters. At least I was doing what I was told to do. I smoothed down the side of my suitcase.

“Stay cool, buddy. We’re nearly there.”

A woman opposite, dressed head-to-toe in colourless hessian, was staring at me.

“I beg your pardon.”

I cleared my throat.

“I er…have a little friend in there.”

“Well never mind your little friend. Would you mind awfully? I’d like you to do something for me? I wonder if you could reach that drinks machine over there and bring me back a Pepsi, please.”

I’d already dismissed the drinks idea. She leaned forward and held something out. There was always the fear I’d be left behind. When I was told to go to the Hotel Machiavellian in Invershneckie, they meant Invershneckie not Carstairs. Carstairs was nowhere. Carstairs was beyond hope. Definitely not cool for cats.

“I’m sorry, lady, but there’s no way. No thank you ma’am. I have a political career to think about, and Carstairs is not the place to launch a popular revolution.”

“I’d be very grateful.”

“I know, and the country needs me, but the train’s about to leave, lady.”

“And begger my poor old legs. They just won’t carry me there and back like they used to, but I do think you have a little time left if you hurry. They’re still alighting. You won’t miss the train.”

“Look I’m sorry. It’s just not possible for me to address the needs of everybody.”

She smiled and dropped the money in my hand.

“Please, sir. For an old lady.”

Train doors slammed, and hey! I had a self-image crisis to think about.