The People Need Me – Tony Blair in the Wilderness 8

…Tony kicks back in his Scottish hotel room after his frightful journey north…the continuing story of Tony Blair in the wilderness…

I twisted the catch on the handle and locked the door. I saw the ripped arm of my ski jacket in a full-length mirror. My baseball cap was in the process of sliding off backwards. Where was all this leading-edge fashion profiling going to end? At the toppest top of course.

The arm of my jacket was hanging out like the stuffing from a soft toy, which reminded me—Mr. Nixon. I opened my suitcase and fell onto the quaking bed with a slightly crumpled bear none the worse for his arduous journey. Even superheroes needed a caped friend.

“Here we are at last, buddy. Scotland.”

There were a couple of small white boxes on the bedside cabinet. The first contained a hairnet, which I tried on, very fetching. The next contained a tiny sewing kit. I kneeled on the bed, took off my jacket and pulled it inside out. I tried to thread the cotton onto the needle, jabbed my finger, and lit my first cigarette instead. It had been a long time. I sat back and dragged long and hard. I exhaled feeling that, you know, life in Invershneckie might not be too bad a place for an ex-PM to rebuild a political career after all. I offered the cigarette to Mr. Nixon.

“Suit yourself, dude.”

I saw a tiny fridge, walked over to it, and removed a cold one. I lifted back a net curtain to look out of the window, and blew smoke on the glass. I could see the lights of Invershneckie below. There was definitely no MacDonald’s in Invershneckie. The lights only extended a short way, and Invershneckie was tiny, glowing like a car’s headlights fading into the middle of nowhere. I was a long way from my constituents, but these people needed me desperately.

I still had Mr. Nixon. I threw Mr. Nixon a cold one. The phone rang. I picked it up.

“I’m sorry, sir,” said the manager. “Scotland is all non smoking, as of yesterday.”

“I’ll overturn it.”

I pressed the Dictaphone record button.

“Smoking bans, taxi drivers, one way systems, and drinks machines. Ban them all. No more Mr. Nicey-pie, pardner. Va-va-va-voom.”

I switched on the TV. SC4 and prayers. No Big Brother. Boy did those people need help.

Tony Blair: The Wilderness Years ISBN 1-4196-0573-9

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