Gordon Brown for Britain!

[Wednesday]

Here’s an excerpt from my next bestseller, Gordon Brown for Britain, a political thriller about a politician’s rise to the office of Prime Minister.

*

“After a tragic accident almost robs him of his sight, a young visionary named Gordon Brown fights against all odds to become Chancellor of the Exchequer, leader of the Labour party, and eventually the British Prime Minister. Driven by a deep desire to help the rich become richer, the compassionate yet misunderstood leader fights his inner demons and bites his nails.

He bravely jousts with the evil villain, Alex Salmond, who plans to break up the United Kingdom and run Scotland as an independent sovereign state and the nice-but-dim David Cameron, who plans to open a hair salon and run it like a bath.

“Our hero struggles to gain public support for the new Crusades in the Middle East, despite the obvious fiendishness of the Iranians who are planning to build to nuclear power stations!

“Brown has one hundred days to save the British Empire. He must wipe the smile of Salmond’s face, scrub behind Cameron’s ears, defeat the organised working class, and help America launch pre-emptive humanitarian bombing campaigns against several disobedient states.”

*

On becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown immediately got on the phone to the head of the armed forces, General Sir Richard Dannatt. “Floods have shut down towns and cities, hitting factories and offices, homes and businesses.”

“Yes, I know,” said Sir Richard. “We have Sky News.”

Brown paused, for effect. “We need to get them up and running as fast as possible. Sir Richard, I want all you’ve got: troops on the ground to clear debris and strengthen flood barriers, helicopters to evacuate people in the event of further flooding elsewhere, and I want you to ensure the readiness of our navy to assist with rescue operations at sea!”

Silence greeted the bombastic Brown. He waited for a moment, and then the reply came. “Prime Minister, there is no way that I can do what you ask. As you will be aware from your visits to the region, the armed forces are primarily located in the Middle East. Currently we are assisting the United States and other international forces in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, where, as you recall, we kicked in the door…”

“Yes, yes, I know all this.” Snapped the new PM, “I’ve done my fact finding, I’ve crunched the numbers. But there must be some way that I can intervene in the severe flooding that has hit South Yorkshire and…”

Sir Richard interrupted with a cough. “Ahem, I too am aware of the situation. I have the internet. But our hands are tied, I’m afraid. I know that you are keen on making a show of being a strong leader in a time of crisis, but we can’t pull the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan to protect the people at home.”

Thoughts were racing through Brown’s large head. Oh, God! Murdoch will ruin me over this, I just know it. Thirteen years I’ve waited for this job, and now I’ve got the power – all the power – I could lose it within a short period of time. The City will go for Cameron at the next election, I can feel it. Campbell won’t take me up on the offer of a coalition, and Alex Salmond has plenty up his sleeve to help him win independence for Scotland.

A wave of panic engulfed the Iron Chancellor and he began sobbing. “You’ve got to help me! Please help me, I’m begging you! I’ll be remembered as the man who broke Britain.”

“Ah, look here, Gordon – you don’t mind me calling you Gordon, do you? You’ve got to pull yourself together. I can’t talk about the political side of things –”

Brown stopped bawling and sat up straight. “That’s never stopped you in the past, you made that speech remember, I gave you permission and this is how you repay me…”

“There, there, Gordon.” Sir Richard cooed. “Look, if you want my opinion the most popular thing you could do is pull out of Iraq.”

“WHAT?!” thundered Brown. “Have you lost the plot? We’re going to invade Iran soon.”

“Let me finish. Announce that you are setting a timetable for withdrawal and make an apology. You understand me, I mean ‘pull out of Iraq eventually’.”

“Hold on, me apologise?! For what?”

Sir Richard paused for thought. “Perhaps you could make an ‘apology’ – an apology that isn’t an apology?”

“Have you been got at by Harriet Harman?” Brown asked in earnest.

“If we announce withdrawal from Afghanistan – sorry, I mean Iraq – then you’ll get a boost. A Brown bounce, as they say.”

Brown shifted in his chair. “That’s a fucking stupid idea, Richard. Anyone would think you were a bloody hippy.” And with that he slammed the phone down.

He sat in silence for a few moments, wiping the tears from his eyes. Already, he was missing his old life at Number 11. Things were so much easier then, with Tony shouldering all the blame. Now it appeared as if he would lose the dream he had cherished since he was a young man.

Severe flooding, the first national postal strike in a decade, a US investigation into the Al-Yamamah arms deal by the British government, an up-coming by-election in Tony’s Sedgefield constituency, and the threat of co-ordinated public sector strikes in the Autumn. How he envied Tony now: unburdened of petty national politics and able to strut around the world stage like a peacock.

Something had to be done to rescue the Gordon Brown for Britain campaign, but what? The former Chancellor racked his brains and nibbled on his nails. He could call an election campaign, but the party was short on funds and few billionaires would be willing to fill the coffers whilst the cash for honours probe was still ongoing.

The new Prime Minister needed something big to distract attention from the wars, the rising inflation, and the fact that he had not come to power after a general election.

Giving power away always went down a storm with the nice people at the CBI and the City of London. Already he had followed up NHS independence with a proposal for new freedoms allowing private equity firms to sell their staff along with the furniture. For some reason, people didn’t think this last one was a good idea. The suggestion that there should be an Empire Day to complement the proposed Britain Day had been similarly received. He had even come up with an idea for an EU constitution before he realised that one already existed…

What else could grant independence to? Perhaps he could give the police powers to make up laws on the spot? Whatever scheme he came up with, there was always the problem of the party. Expectations of a radical change of policy were high within the ranks of the Labour Party, and it was clear that if there was no movement away from the neo-liberal “reform” agenda, the unions would stop bankrolling the party.

I know what to do, he thought, recalling the stunt days before in which a Conservative MP called Quentin defected to the Labour Party. A cunning plan had formed in his mind and it was a much more spectacular act than bribing an eccentric Tory to say nice things about him. This will guarantee my position as PM for years..

With a grin, he reached across the desk and picked up the telephone handset. “Susan, would you put me through to David Cameron. I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse…”

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