‘It was all going so well for them, wasn’t it?’ says Lord Mandelson from his plush velour chaise-longue deep in the bowels of Whitehall, ‘but then, I had to do it. In truth, couldn’t stop myself. To see George Osborne’s lip quivering with frustration: well, in all honesty…it excites me.’
Lord Mandelson’s unparalleled record of riling the toffs began in 1997, and in the intervening years he has been personally responsible for making the Conservative Party rage and seethe like never before, achieving an astonishing 999 irritations including three resignations and spiking George Osborne’s drink while sharing a Russian magnate’s yacht. By persuading the Prime Minister to quit in the middle of delicate Lib Dem/Tory coalition negotiations, he has finally reached four figures, and an orgy of celebration is underway inside his exquisite hideaway.
‘There’s no need to be complacent, despite my fabulous form,’ he said, ‘although I think we’ve done all we need to for now, and may take a different approach in future. I’ve primed Ed Balls to sneak up on any Tory he finds giving an interview to camera, give him a swift kick up the arse, and run away cackling. Bow ties will be undone mid-speech by that little streak of ginger mischief Hazel Blears, and if any of them turn up in braces then the Millibands will be there, one each side, to give them a good twang, or perhaps snip them with scissors if the trousers in question are loose-fitting enough to give rise to further exploitable benefits.
‘But it doesn’t stop there – oh, no. I’ve got a long, long way to go yet before I’m finished with them,’ he intones enigmatically, before raising his hands to the heavens, sighing at his own brilliance and disappearing in a puff of blue smoke.