…Tony is on the train to Scotland to take up his new position, CEO of a top company…the continuing story of Tony Blair in the wilderness…
You see, I just couldn’t bloody pay up, not having a brass farthing to my name. I looked at a magazine in front of me—a dire-looking glossy: Construction News for Scotland. According to the magazine, construction was hot in Scotland, and my ex-wife had led me to believe it was all cabers and kilts. There were pages and pages of ugly old-fashioned mechanical diggers, heavy trucks, pneumatic drills, vast concrete mixers that made Big-Boy Truck News look like a toy fair. My backbone dissolved at the sight of it. Construction was more hideous than a Labour party convention in Blackpool. It was so, you know, northern and grubby and Old Labour. I put the magazine down, looked out of the window, and vowed not to have anything to do with construction, except, of course, on a superannuated basis.
Oil appeared to be pouring out of the Scottish sky. The surfaces shone brilliantly. I shivered and turned to the woman. I needed to engage with my people, you see. It was a habit.
“Listen. I…er…must apologise about the money rolling away. Even superheroes make mistakes.”
“Oh that. Never mind the twenty pence. At least you did your best for me, and I’m very grateful. It was a valiant effort. A veritable superhuman effort.”
“Well I am cut out for life on the edge evidently, and that’s how I like to lead it, from the front. Blair’s the name, Tony Blair, misunderstood ex-leader of the country.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Blair.”
“Call me Bono. Look, I can’t stress this too sincerely, but don’t mistake me for the other Blair, the one still in Number 10. That Blair is a shell, a husk. You know, get over it. The real Blair, er that’s me, stepped out of himself, and, well, okay, I was fired, but don’t let that fool you.”
She understood. At least I hadn’t missed the train. That was the main thing. She wanted to know whether I’d be leaving the train at Edinburgh.
“Invershneckie, where I’m assured of a very satisfactory desk position with a reputable Scottish company.”
“Is this your first time in Scotland? They send people all the way to Scotland alone. It can be a very alienating experience.”
“The Civil Aviation Agency has arranged everything, and there won’t be any mishaps. I’m keen to join a reputable company. I’m going to arrive in Invershneckie, and someone up there is going to meet me and take me to my new top position. So I’m told.”
“That’s good. Do you think Scotland is ready for you?”
I looked out of the window and saw Scotland all around me, vast and deep and green. The train was moving at top speed and the fields merged into a blur. I was close to the heart of Scotland, and Scotland was coming to me, to hear my story, to fall at my feet.
“It’s just waiting to rise up.”
The woman leaned back.
“I feel you are one of the fortunate ones. I feel you have been called upon. You tried to help me in the same way a saint would help a sinner, and I’m very grateful. You have been chosen to lead, Tony, and you will be in my prayers from now on. May God be with you, Tony.”
I smiled and looked out of the window because I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to say, other than, “I know God is with me. He gave his only son to the world, and like me, Jesus struggled. But, hey, I was born to like, lead the country ya’. I was put on this earth to lead. I feel God is strengthening my very bones for even greater leadership, and he’s testing me—”
“Is that why ya sitting on ya tape recorder, laddie?” said a rather disagreeable man behind me. “Cos ya speaking through ya backside. This is ya final warning Blair. Button it, or you’ll be the chosen one all right, chosen to go outta that window with that Dictaphone up ya River Clyde.”