My mate Tony Blair's emailing me again. After I complained about the Word documents he kept sending me, he kindly switched to HTML mail with minimal formatting and a graphic of his signature at the end. He attaches a slightly more elaborate PDF document telling me what's wrong with the Tories' plans for the National Health Service.
Tony's bruiser sidekick, John Reid, sent me one the next day, too, about the same thing, except it had a picture of his hard face trying to flex into a smile at the top. (Don't get me wrong; there's nothing I enjoy more than listening to Rottweiller Reid bury his canines in the twitching leg of John Humphrys during a Today Programme interview on BBC Radio 4; I just wouldn't book him as a children's entertainer.)
What spooks me about Tone's own missive is that, perhaps because Alastair Campbell doesn't provide the content any more, his former master's insistent, posh-but-trying-not-to-be voice rings out from every word. When you read a stirring sentence like this:
“Without investment in capacity and in essential standards and facilities, sustained not just for a year or two but year on year as a matter of central national purpose, there is no credibility in claims to be able to extend choice to all.”
you can feel the impression of Anthony Charles Lynton's borderline loopy stare boring into your forehead from your computer screen. I'm sure he's more-or-less right about “choice” in public services, but I'm only slightly less interested in what's happening on Big Brother than I am in the details of implementation of Labour's policy on foundation hospitals.
If we're talking value-for-money in reducing the sum of human suffering, I'm happy handing over thirty-odd percent of my pre-tax income to fund the gyro in a cruise missile targeted on the offices of Saddam's secret police or sponsor the left leg of a wiry SBS man jogging from a river into the West African jungle to take out a pack of machete-wielding child rapists.
What would be nice, Tony mi ol' china, would be to have the bastards arrested/killed/vapourized specifically in my name. I propose a scheme for willing supporters like me to have their tags embossed onto, say, hand grenades before they're tossed into the path of marauding wannabe martyrs, ambushed on the Iraqi border on their way to fill some schoolgirls with shrapnel.
The idea of a homicidal Jew/gay/woman-hating zealot heading off to blow himself up, along with a queue of Iraqis, but instead being intercepted by a bunch of cheerily brutal squaddies fresh from Colchester lifts me more than seeing a Live Aid truck delivering grain to the starving when I was a sixth-former. When they come to take “my” “insurgent” away in a special purple armoured personnel vehicle, I want the fucker to wave his cuffs in mystification at the distorted McDonald's logo on its side.
The last words he'll offer before they bundle him in will be: “What is 'PooterGeek'?'. The grunt with the SA-80 will reply: “Oh he's a cowardly nerd who writes one of those online diaries, but he declares every last penny for every visiting lecture he gives, in the hope that one day it'll help to put shit like you behind bars. Though obviously, like you, he'd prefer it if you resisted arrest and we had to give you a painful gunshot wound first. Now duck your head down, mate, so we can fit you through the door. We want you just about here so you're first in the firing line of any of your friends' RPGs.”