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Dossier? What dossier?
Didn't your parents tell you not to kick a dog when he's down? Of course they did and yet you lot persist in hounding our Tone over something as silly as an intelligence dossier. Ridiculous!
That dossier was one of the finest documents ever to come out of Number 10. How do I know? The 'Master of the Universe's' Bull Mastiff called it 'exquisite'. What more do you want? Ok, so it was 12 years old. So what?
All right, I hear you. Part of it was plagiarised. It was lifted off the web. In fact, most of it was, but my sources tell me that Tony's press secretary Alistair Campbell is unfairly in the soup. Stop cribbing will you. There was a far bigger intellect than his behind the fiasco of the file.
Between you and me ... Sssh! ... M15 is on strike. Those intelligence chappies, earning a mere ... Oh, sorry classified ... heard that the Lord Chancellor's entertainment allowance was more than theirs and took off to the cocktail circuits of Chechnya and Kazakhstan. MI6 have all grown beards, and are pretending to be terrorists in northern Iraq. So what's a poor PM supposed to do? I ask you.
There he was, ordered to produce a 'top secret' intelligence dossier prior to Powell's presentation to the UN, when, lo and behold, the Bonds had all buggered off. They're never around when you need them.
First, he did what he always does and called his press secretary. His trusty spinmeister would come to the rescue. But Mr Campbell was lunching with the editor of ... Oops! Classified again. Poor Tony cast around for someone who could throw him a bone when Cherie came to mind. Then he remembered. She was working out with her best friend Carole. You know, the one with the conman boyfriend.
Eureka, thought Blair. I'll ask Jeffrey Archer. He'll know about the Iraqis. Nope. He's too busy with champagne parties, scrubbing the toilets, and writing his memoirs in his open jail. John le Carre. Nah! Too hung up about a little harmless depleted uranium. Ramsey Clarke's an Iraqi apologist. Scott Ritter's embroiled in sex scandals. Tony Benn's joining Al Jazeera and George Galloway has the gall to accuse me of being Sykes, or is it Picot? I know. I'll call Gordon. Better not. He's after my job.
Then came the call. It was the patient man himself. "Where's that file? You'd better not be shirking again. Remember. We are God's gift to the world. We must wage a crusade against evil people who are jealous of our freedoms. You are either with us or ... er! ... with what's 'is name ... umm! ... well, you know who I mean ... him with the cigar. I'm warning you to co-operate buddy. You don't want to be stuck with the old Europe crowd and be called irrelevant do you?"
"No, No, I mean, Yessir Mr President, sir", answered Tony. "It'll be on your desk tomorrow without fail."
"I'm counting on it. Now you don't let us down now boy. There'll be no more invites to Crawford if you do. God bless America and have a nice day".
So there was Tony at his desk, head in hands, fearful of being persona non grata in the hallowed halls of Washington, with nobody to help out.
That is until Gertrude Tolpuddle, the tea lady, walked in with his biscuits and Earl Grey. Askance at seeing the Prime Minister in an un-groomed state, she patted him on the head murmuring, 'there, there now. Wassa matter wid yer? Tell Aunty Gertie. There's a good boy" A motherly type, she undid his collar and fed him a cookie.
He hesitated, and then broke down. Everybody was against him, he wailed. The world called him a poodle. The Pope and the Anglican bishops had ganged up on him. The French President said he was the rudest person he had ever met. The unions, the firemen, his backbenchers, and the public were all dissenters, and now he was in danger of losing his promised seat on the board of Carlyle next to his friend John Major. How could he produce a damning dossier proving Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in just one day all on his own, he barked.
But all was not lost. Tony's offspring Euan was in the next room working on his computer. He was in the midst of searching for property to include in his growing portfolio, when he overheard the pater's dilemma.
"Hey Dad. I'll do you the mother of all reports on Saddam Hussein and his WMDs. Never fear. Euan is here." And before you could say 'propaganda', the 'exquisite dossier' was born and life at number 10 went back to normal. That is until ... well, you know the rest.
Not to be outdone, Saddam's son Uday is at this very minute googling away to produce the definitive memoranda on the state of Britain's trains, schools, and hospitals. He hopes to have it ready by the end of the decade when he will deliver it to Number 10 along with his asylum application.
Thanks to insider information, gleaned from Sid who works at Sainsbury's, we have an addendum to the sorry saga. Sid delivers Cherie's groceries, and tells me that Tony is hiding out in their Downing Street basement. Gertie brings him regular buckets of ice to cool down his red face, Euan fends off breach of copyright suits, while Cherie works the phones.
Cherie: "Hi there! Is that you George? Has Laura rescheduled that poetry meeting yet? Tony? Tony is in an undisclosed location at the moment. Any message?"
The Patient Man: "Aaaaaagh!" There are naked ladies outside my window clamouring for love, not war. Laura's ran off to join them. Any idea how I can get hold of Bill?"
Linda Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was originally published in CounterPunch on 10 February 2003 and is reproduced with kind permission of the author.
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