Tony “Bono” Blair is a bit confused. He believes he is the famed British Prime Minister of the same name, deposed after winning a third term. Things begin to look up for Tony when a letter arrives offering a position with McCreedie construction. Thinking he is taking over as CEO of a powerful NASDAQ company, Tony accepts the offer and travels to Scotland, hoping to meet the people, regain their trust, and use his new career as a springboard back into high office. The new career isn’t all Tony had hoped, and he finds himself building a cement runway at Ardrossan International Airport.
…Tony has arrived on a construction site…something has to be wrong…Tony sat down with Paterson the site manager, and McKong, the foreman…but they seemed as surprised as he was…the 12th in the series of the continuing satirical story of Tony Blair in the wilderness…subscribe now to feeds.feedburner.com/wordpress/CCDU, or https://iandsmith.wordpress.com/feed/
Back outside, I gazed through a tall, impenetrable, wire mesh fence and wondered about the possibility of escaping. The flat, endless landscape looked like the bleakest, farthest flung outpost of the known world. There was a shiny new steel airport terminal and a weed-infested runway, but beyond that, nothing in any direction but the ice-cold Scottish air blowing from no particular place and travelling nowhere else. Aristotle Paterson emerged from a storeroom.
“Here’s the safety equipment you’ll require, sir.”
He held up inch-thick reinforced goggles, steel kneepads, heavy-duty gauntlets, and hefty-looking toe-capped boots. I swallowed hard.
McKong invited me to look at my new office. I followed Paterson and McKong across the gravel to the door of a drab, scruffy shed. I looked up at the flapping tarpaulin. McKong opened the door. I peered inside. There was a filthy sink in one corner. An encrusted tap hissed. An old desk was pushed up to a dirty window, and there was a bench full of old wire, dried concrete, broken brushes, and empty cans. I was suddenly nostalgic for my cramped Westminster office. McKong and Paterson walked inside. McKong looked round.
“Here you are, sir. The lab.”
“This is where you’ll be running the tests for us, sir.”
I looked at the stained ceiling.
“Tests? What tests?”
The shed smelt earthy as though the wood was rotting. It wasn’t an office at all. It wasn’t even a proper lab. It wasn’t what anyone would expect a lab to look like. There were no boffins in white coats filling test tubes. I was not going to be doing that kind of filthy, demeaning work. How was I expected to test anything in such a poorly equipped lab? How was I going to turn a defeatist, what’s-in-it-for-me society of whingers into a leading edge, cut-throat, modern meritocracy in such awful conditions? Paterson held out a broom for me. I stared at the broom.
I knew it then, like the fella on the road to Damascus.
That broom was sent. It was a sign, a symbol. The only way was to sweep, and to keep sweeping. I reached for the broom, and switched on my Dictaphone Walkabout.
“Today, I have seen the future, and it works.”
“Here. Take this broom, my son, and use it wisely. I advise you to stay out of harm’s way in here for a year, sir. Learn to use the powers invested in the broom. We don’t want any trouble at Ardrossan International Airport, sir. This is your lab. This is where you’ll be testing concrete for the runway and believe me, it’s a huge responsibility. Mistakes are not tolerated here in any way. We run a blame culture, so take the broom, and try to look busy at all times. Do you understand me, sir?”
I switched off the tape, and grabbed the broom with both hands, pressing it to my immense chest, smiling, nodding, and saluting.
“And please wear this, sir. It’s very important.”
He held out a white helmet. I kneeled and Paterson placed it on my head. It was too large, so I adjusted the strap. He held out a boiler suit. He wanted me to wear it at all times, my suit of armour. Stepping into the boiler suit, I pushed my hands through the cuffs and pulled up the sleeves looking wondrously at the material. I knew it wasn’t a better fit than the helmet because it wasn’t for me. I was the wrong-sized Tony, too small to carry the burden of honour. I had to grow into the role, to rehabilitate. After all, the previous owner had been built like a Belfast battleship: Maggie.
An aura developed all round, a brilliant white light shining down. Paterson held out the reinforced goggles, the kneepads, the gauntlets, and the steel-capped boots, all several sizes too large. They were made for a bigger woman than I.
“And wear these please, sir. We want good safe practices at all times, order, cleanliness, and meticulous attention to detail. Above all you must do exactly what I say even when that means you’re doing something you can see is wrong. This operation isn’t about rights and wrongs, it’s about staying out of trouble, avoiding errors, survival of the fittest, have you got that, sir?”
“I’m not really quite clear on one thing.”
“What’s that, sir?”
“What exactly am I supposed to be doing here?”
Tony Blair: The Wilderness Years ISBN 1-4196-0573-9
This Blog Is
Dedicated To Me, Tony ‘Bono’ Blair.
Without Me, None Of This Could Have Been Possible.