A Visionary – Tony Blair in the Wilderness 14

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.

…Appropriately, in episode 13, Tony witnessed a shocking death…But site manager Aristotle Paterson is unconcerned…he introduces Tony to a very serious man, Mr. Freeman…the dark satirical story of Tony Blair in the wilderness continues…

In the world of temporary offices, it seemed as though the Portaplus Extralux 5000 was the daddy of them all. The warm, environmentally balanced, deep-carpeted interior was superior to any temporary office I had ever stepped into before. It was nearly as good as my Westminster office.

A man with untidy, but somehow distinguished grey hair, sat at a leather-topped desk, writing. He looked over his spectacles at me, and stopped writing, his pen hovering over the paper.

“What have we here?”

“Blair’s the name, Tony Blair, but you can call me Bono.”

I went to shake hands, but the man put the top on the pen, placed it on the desk, and he didn’t shake hands. I put my hand back by my side. Trying to shake hands had been a mistake.

“Tony Blair. The ex-leader of the country I believe. What an oddity. Why a Scottish building site? What are you going to do here exactly?”

“I guess self-preservation will be high on my list. But there are changes crying out to be made around here, big changes to the fundamental structure of our very being that will release the latent power of mankind.”

“How quaint. Was there some mistake?”

“Tony is going to do a great job, sir.”

“Impeccable credentials.”

The man lifted his spectacles and leaned forward.

“You’re going to find a construction site very different from the corridors of power. This is a complex operation. We need to ensure the concrete is going to be strong enough for planes, in a practical and economical way. Testing is very much part of the process, and the process is everything, so test away, Mr. Bliar.”

“It’s Blair actually.”

“And I am Freeman. Chief Engineer. I am the most senior figure in terms of legal authority on this site. I am the law. I hold the purse strings. I play the fiddle, and I call the tune. Do you understand, Bliar? Welcome to my home. There are no political theories to observe in my home and no immediate changes that need to be made as far as I know. You are here to make sure the runway is going to be strong enough for planes. Ardrossan International Airport is expanding. It’s going to lead the world. Oil is going to bring huge benefits. It’s going to be free for every man, woman, and child. You are going to learn a lot in my home, Bliar. There is no room for mistakes in my home.”

“That’s all very well. But you obviously don’t know that I am a very influential figure.”

“I don’t care if you are the President of the United States of America. I represent the causes and concerns of the Civil Aviation Agency who in their wisdom are paying very large sums of money to McCreedie for a new runway—a fact that never fails to make me very concerned, because it is my job to be very concerned. Does McCreedie pay you to test the runway?”

Paterson coughed.

“A nominal salary. Twenty pounds. Subsistence pay.”

I swung round.

“Twenty pounds? What happened to the six figure sum with guaranteed above-inflation retainers and bonuses at the end of every week? I was offered a softener, two sweeteners, and a triple-chocolate-coated digestive. What happened to them?”

“What indeed? The best resources of the mighty William McCreedie organisation are all here at your disposal, sir.”

“Well really. Perhaps you can tell me what’s going on around here Freeman? Everything was arranged on favourable terms. I want to speak to Mr. Ferguson. He’s going to make me an offer I can’t refuse, and then I’m going to be giving orders to all of you people, probably from an office just like this one. Wouldn’t that be a funny situation? Imagine me handing out the assorted biscuits. You’ve made a giant mistake in assuming I’m going to be planning a velvet revolution in that shack for twenty pounds a week. That has to be some kind of goddam mistake. How can a man live on twenty pounds a week this day and age?”

“We don’t make mistakes, sir.”

“Mistakes are not tolerated here, sir.”

“Mistakes cost money.”

I blinked.

“But we will all make mistakes. Mistakes are unavoidable wrong turns on the unmapped road to real change, on the road to a new dawn, but hey! Can’t we all look forward to brighter tomorrows because of our mistakes and not in spite of them? Mistakes are not a reason in themselves to back down in the face of oppression, poverty, injustice, minicabs, white vans, bank managers, traffic wardens, delivery men who don’t turn up, gas men who can’t tell you afternoon or morning, and boring old mobile phone ringtones. Those are not reasons to give up on this journey, because trust me, the journey we’ve started is worth taking. Come with me. Let’s hold hands with all the kids of the world and step out into the future, to take that journey together towards change, to eradicate the world of round money, taxi drivers, one way systems, and small dogs that go yip, yip, yip.”

Freeman tapped his desk.

“Clearly, Mr. Bliar, you’re a visionary. Of sorts.”

“Sure thing, bud. I’m gonna teach you cats to jive.”

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

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Dedicated To Me, Tony ‘Bono’ Blair.

Without Me, None Of This Could Have Been Possible.