You know, I might as well have committed some sort of hideous, unjustified crime. I might as well have launched my suitcase at somebody. I might as well have stood on my head, because every single dude was staring at me, Tony ‘Bono’ Blair, and I didn’t know what I could possibly have done differently.
I pressed the stop button on my brand new Dictaphone (Walkabout edition). I squashed my face against the train window, pushing my trendy new baseball cap back. People, wet and shiny against the platform, slid into view. I was in a place called Carstairs, in an awful little country called Scotland, where I’d once struggled to escape humble beginnings, where it rained slowly all the time, and I wasn’t allowed to speak my mind into my brand new Dictaphone within earshot of other people who were offended by the freedom train I was riding.
I saw a drinks machine on the platform. I was gasping for a drink, but bloody hell, not even a tomato juice passed my lips when I was Prime Minister, and now that I had the opportunity there was nothing doing. The soup kitchen they called the buffet had closed hours ago—something about lack of staff, whatever that meant, and now I was wondering whether I could reach the drinks machine and make it back on the train before it left Carstairs. But hey! My years in office hadn’t changed me one iota. Reaching a drinks machine would be no problem for an ex-PM superhero, although I’d already witnessed saddos left behind in places like Carstairs: Prestonpans, Auchterleechie, Michtamuchtie, and that made me really mad—left behind by a train that was already late. What kind of a train service was that? It was incomprehensible. The train company seemed to want the train to reach its destination empty, and late. But even so, the platform drinks machine was a temptation, a tantalising step too far for an ex-Prime Minister trapped on a train in standard class without a drink.
I readjusted my baseball cap and switched on my Dictaphone Walkabout again.
“Train companies. Make them a top priority. One for the future… Well, it’s day one on my train of hope… I’ve been stuck here for hours now. You know, everyone I talk to remembers where they were when they heard that I’d been deposed, stabbed in the back by my friends after leading Labour to another great victory, which is encouraging because I’m not finished yet, not by a long chalk. Welcome to my journey of self-discovery. You know, this is the story of a forced exile, and a triumphant return. No more Mr. Nice Pie. My message is clear kids: I’m a straight kinda guy.”