Peter Machiavelli, whose appointment as business secretary was the key surprise in Gordon Brown‘s cabinet reshuffle, has dismissed past tensions between himself and the prime minister.
“Of course there have been difficulties in our relationship,” he smiled. “But even in some of the darker moments, we were still able to talk very frankly to each other. And very honestly.”
Our reporter asked Mr Machiavelli exactly how frankly he had exchanged views with Mr Brown, on a scale from “Get a life, loser” to “You’re nothing but a soulless Scottish billy no-mates with a serious personality disorder who has about as much idea about running a sound, regulated economy as a weasel - and your grotesque, misshapen face would break if you ever attempted a genuine expression of human warmth, wouldn‘t it, you grim, pathetic gargoyle.”
After some thought, Mr Machiavelli said he was fairly certain that he had never described the prime minister’s personality disorder as “serious“.
We then asked Mr Brown how frankly he had spoken to Mr Machiavelli in the past, from a mild “You fraudulent, ideology-free poseur” to “How does it feel to have ruthlessly butchered the Labour party’s honourable tradition of deeply-held moral belief in the dignity of the working class on the altar of your greedy, heartless lust for power whilst shamelessly digging up the corpse of your own grandfather in a nakedly-misleading attempt to present yourself as the true heir of reforming post-war socialism, you scheming, manipulative little turd?”
“I think I said ‘creep’, actually,” said Mr Brown.
Mr Machiavelli stressed that “What’s important is what things are like now, and will be in the future. And from here on in, we’re joined at the hip. Not in a genital-touching way, of course, that would be too gross for words. But we do share a common arsehole - Tony Blair. Only joking, by the way. Very nice man.
“Incidentally, I did speak to Tony about the appointment before accepting it - he said it would be a no-brainer. And when I thought about it, you know, it made sense really. Let Gordon lose the next election - and then, in the aftermath, who‘s there saying, ‘Of course, if only I‘d been brought in earlier, none of this would have happened in the first place?’ That’s right, good old Mandy - always eager to serve, always willing to give 110% for the good of the country.
“The next Labour leader? Much too early to decide, and of course it‘s not for me to say. But look at the other candidates. Ed Balls? Decent chap, very media-friendly, sensible haircut - but not a name you‘d want to represent Britain at international conferences, is it? Harriet Harman - goes down well with the Guardian readers, of course, but a bit too strident for some. Tessa Jowell? Dodgy husband, scandal bound to emerge sooner rather than later, if you know what I mean. David Miliband? Scary robot man - need I say more?
“But perhaps someone new will rise up from the ranks as a possible leadership candidate? Maybe. I shall be watching. Very carefully. You have my absolute word on that.”