A Resignation Issue

“Welcome to the studio Prime Minister.”


“Good to be here Andrew.”


“John.”


“Sorry?”


“It’s John, not Andrew.”


“Ah well, there you go. Pray continue”


“Thank you. Prime Minister, you have just resigned from office. Can you tell the nation why?”


“Sure can Andrew.”


“John!”


“Sorry, silly me!”


“Let’s start again. Resignation Prime Minister?”


“Well, you know … I suppose at the end of the day, when all is said and done, when push comes to shove, when the circle comes back round again, when the fat lady sings … actually can I say fat lady these days? PC and all that. Have to be careful. Can’t have a non-PC non-PM can we?”


“I’m not really sure Prime Minister. Probably not.”


“What does your producer say? Is he talking in your shell-like even as we speak?”


“Hang on … he says … best probably not to say that Prime Minister.”


“OK. No problemo, kein problem, aucun problème as they say in Brussels. What about the rather stoutish person instead then? Does that sound alright? Will that do?”


“I really don’t know. I suppose so. Seems a good compromise.”


“Well I’m not a politician for nothing am I John? Or indeed an ex politician. Not just a pretty face either eh? Say that’s a point too. Do I have one, do you reckon … a pretty face?”


“I really can’t say Prime Minister …”


“Ex-Prime Minister!”


“Yes. Indeed, Prime Minister.”


“Wrong again.”


“What do I call you then?”


“Call me Madam.”


“I’m very sorry but I can’t do that.


“Ok. Well what about Fluffy? Like my husband does.”


“Really this is quite extraordinary Prime Minister…”


“Fluffy!”


“Ok, Ok. If I must… but please, can we get on? Let’s get back to the burning question of the day. The country has to know why you have decided to end your priemiership?”


“Well Andrew …”


“John! John, Prime Minister.”


“Fluffy!”


“Alright, alright, Fluffy.”


“Just joshing. But politics can be so humourless these days don’t you agree John? Nobody has any fun anymore. No laughs in the House, no one cracks any good jokes. The Lords? Well, ‘nuff said about them. And then there’s the Cabinet! Like a morgue most of the time, sitting there all glum and downcast … no mucking around, no banter…”


“Please, please Prime… Fluffy… I have to insist, the nation has a right to know. You must tell us why you have jumped ship.”


“Now that’s an interesting phrase John. Very. Jumped ship? Naval man by any chance?”


“This is ridiculous… I’ve never experienced such an interview. Are you perfectly well?”


“Four sheets to the wind?”


“I’m sorry?”


“Well, I thought, being as you’re a naval man.”


“For goodness sake Prime Minister!”


“Uh oh!”


“Oh, for goodness safe, Fluffy… please answer the question.”


“Can I have a coffee?”


“What?”


“A coffee. Can I? What can you do me? Cappucinno?”


“I… I... I…”


“Lots of froth.”


“I… I... I… Peter… this is a farce…”


“Peter? Is he the producer?”


“Yes, yes.”


“So, what does Peter say? Can be do me a medium cap?”


“… OK Peter… I’ll try to…”


“Tell him to hold the chocolate sprinkles.”


“Look. PM, Fluffy or whatever you want to be called. This has gone far enough. You are insulting the great British public.”


“Cappucinno? Pretty please?”


“Yes, yes… sure. Peter says he’ll get it…”


“Lovely!”


“Now, for the last time, please tell the nation!”


“Ok John. I get the picture. I can smell the roses. I can hear the stoutish person sing, I can smell the coffee… well not yet perhaps but in a minute.”


“For crying out loud! This is unfathomable. Let me try another tack.”


“Two more naval terms. John you must have the sea in your blood.”


“Why did you cut and run?”


“And another! Really John, don’t go overboard. I say, that’s a good one!”


“For the last time I am not a naval man. Never have been. Can’t stand the sea. Never even been on a cruise.”


“Oh, I have. Norwegian Fjords last year. Private boat. Wonderful. You should try it. Food was exceptional but then of course we did have a Michelin star chef on board. But the meals on most liners are usually very good…”


“Resignation! What have you got to say?”


“Is that my coffee? Great! Thanks ever so. Just put it there…”


“Resignation! For the final time!”


“Oh, lighten up John please do! What a grump you are. Blimey, you’d be at home in the Cabinet. Come to think of it, now I’ve gone there’s going to be a vacancy. What do you fancy – Foreign Office, Chancellor, Health? Can’t do any worse I suppose.”


“Ok. That’s it. Enough is enough Fluffy. This interview is over…”


“Lovely coffee… it’s really very impressive for studio brew.”


“This is a scandal. How can you be more interested in the coffee than the state of the nation?”


“Did I say that?”


“You haven’t said anything yet except a lot of irrelevant twaddle.”


“Some would say ‘no change’ there then.”


“I give up!”


“Just like me then. I’ve just done that too.”


“Well the viewers will know why I have. You jumping ship… I mean walking out … is a complete mystery.”


“Enigmatic. That’s what my friends say.”


“You’ve lost me.”


“Enigmatic. What they think I am. You know, something wrapped inside a thingy inside a thingymebob.”


“Tragic more like.”


“Now, now, I’m your guest remember. Be nice.”


“How can anyone be nice faced with such ludicrous obfuscation.”


“Hmm, posh word. Like it.”


“For the very last time. Totally the last. No more chances. Why have you resigned?”


“Fluffy.”


“Why have you resigned, Fluffy?”


“Well, it’s a long story I suppose, but I just sort of woke up this morning, thought it’s such a lovely day, the birds are singing, the air pollution in London is quite low, Whitehall has never looked whiter and I thought what about resigning…”


“I don’t believe this. You have resigned on a whim?”


“Whim. Impulse. Caprice. Fancy. Fad... it’s all the same.”


“But you are … were … the Prime Minister, the most important person in the entire country - well, you and the Queen I suppose - the head of the Government, our leader. You can’t just quit like that.”


“I did.”


“But you can’t. It doesn’t work that way.”


“Has for me.”


“But what about the people? The economy? The Health Service?”


“What about them?”


“The country depends on them. The public needs certainty.”


“Well I’ve certainly resigned.”


“Sorry. This won’t wash. It’s a load of rubbish. There’s obviously a bigger reason. Sex scandal? Money laundering? Taking bungs? Selling secrets. Come on Fluffy, spill!”


“John, John, John. You’ve been watching too many boxed sets…”


“Who’s got a hold on you? Who’s got your number? Why are you washed up?”


“John, you really do have to learn to sail.”


“Get real. Why are you dead in the water? Holed beneath the water-line?

Slipped your moorings? Cut adrift?”


“Water, water everywhere.”


“Please, please… for heaven’s sake…”


“OK. If you absolutely insist. Fact is John. Life’s too short.”


“I’m sorry, What?”


“Simple. Life’s too short.”


“Explain.”


“Means what I say. That’s all. Far, far too short. There’s no mystery. No sex, no drugs, no secret I’m afraid. Just, how do you say, what’s the words… running out of time. Yes, that’s it. Running out of Old Father Time. None of us know how long we have left on this Earth do we. Tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow. And I may not either but it’s a great deal less than there was. So, woke up this morning, birds in Whitehall, and there you are. Resign. Served all my life John. Day in, year out. Voluntary work, local councillor, MP, junior minister, minister and one day, right out of the blue, the top job. Top of the greasy, greasy pole, Prime Minister. Your Majesty and all that. Always tried to do my best, always have. Won some, lost some. Yes, well the media – social or otherwise – have never been slow to tell me when I’ve lost. Hashtag loser. But I’ve never stopped John, you know that? Given so much time to others. So much of my life for my fellow man and woman. Public servant. Not a pauper by any means but still the eternal servant. Well, I’m sorry but I’ve decided the rest of my time is going to serve me instead. No big deal, no fuss, time’s simply too precious to waste, even for the great public out there. For when you get right down to it John, at the end of the day, when that stoutish person really starts to wail, you have to put your house and everything you are in order. I can’t do that living a life in a fishbowl anymore John. Too many blue skies to stare at, too many lost dreams to come true, too many stars to wish upon, and too few seconds remaining to remember it all by. So, that’s it. Not one more day in Parliament, not another hour at the Dispatch Box, not one more minute in Downing Street to minute. Done. Doesn’t matter anyway. There’ll be a new PM in a trice. Time will roll on. We are all here today, gone tomorrow really. Except I have sort of, well, gone today and not tomorrow I suppose. I woke up this morning remembering a line of a poem I wrote as a little girl… ‘When I sail away into the sunset, Whether I sail from pole to pole, I will leave this beautiful planet, And I will cross the horizon whole.’ When I finally sail away John I want to be whole, not holed under the waterline. Catch my drift? You can understand that can’t you? Speaking as a naval man.”


“Prime Minister …I… I…”


“Fluffy, please.”


“I …”


“I know. Anchors aweigh. Goodbye Andrew.”




©Keith Bradbrook 2020

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