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Hannibal ... Osborne?

The latest offering (Financial Times 15 September 2017) from Robert Shrimsley. And after Boris Johnson's recent article on Brexit, I'm sure Theresa May hopes he accepts that dinner invitation. I wonder if she knows her own invitation to dinner will be arriving soon....



A magazine feature on the former chancellor of the exchequer turned newspaper editor George Osborne has chronicled how he is using his paper to take revenge on former Conservative colleagues, especially the prime minister, who not only sacked but also humiliated him. According to Esquire, Osborne has told colleagues he "will not rest until she is chopped up in bags in my freezer".

The scene: the newsroom of the London Evening Standard. Chancellor Philip Hammond is visiting his old boss George Osborne.

GO: Ah Philippe, I thought it was you.

PH: Hello George. Good to see you.
GO: Do come in.
PH: (nervously) I'd love to but they told me to stay behind the glass. What's all that about?
GO: I don't know. I so rarely receive visitors from Westminster these days. (Sniffing the air) You are still wearing Armani Attitude Extreme...and sometimes Colonia Essenza by Acqua di Parma...But not today.
PH: (Scanning the front pages on the wall behind Osborne, each a savage attack on the Conservative leader). Did you write those headlines yourself?
GO: Headlines are all I have Philippe. Now why have you come?
PH: I was hoping for some advice.
GO: Iain Duncan Smith once asked me for some advice. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. So life is not quite so rosy with the prime minister, the dead woman walking? I'm surprised you and your friends haven't taken her outside for a spot of summary justice. She'd have done it to you.
PH: I could really use your help.
GO: What with? Disposing of the body? Or are you all secretly hoping I'll do your dirty work for you.
PH: No, no. Nothing like that. Well, not at the moment, although let's stay in touch re that last point. No, I need your political expertise, your deft touch, your strategic genius.
GO: Oh no, no, no, Philippe. You were doing so well. You were courteous and respectful. You had encouraged trust with an amusing aside and now this clumsy attempt at flattery. Do you think sycophancy will work?
PH: I thought it was worth a shot. Look, we both want the same thing.
GO: Theresa lying in a pool of blood?
PH: Actually I meant a Brexit that safeguards the British economy through a multiyear standstill transitional arrangement that retains access to the single market and customs union.
GO: You have quite the way with words Philippe.
PH: I can't get the cabinet in line. I've got Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and Priti Patel saying no deal is better than compromise. Ordinary voters -- the ones who are Just About Managing -- are losing faith in us.
GO: Ah yes, you still hear the bleating of the Jams. You know, I recall a time when my advice was not so welcome when you ostentatiously reversed my policies. I doubt I have much to offer a man of your fiscal brilliance.
PH: You know that wasn't personal.
GO: Or economical. Very well. Now Fox, does he travel by light aircraft?
PH: I don't think so.
GO: Pity. They can be very unreliable.
PH: There must be a way through this.
GO: I can think of several solutions.
PH: Do they all involve murdering the prime minister?
GO: Let's just say I've never been afraid of tough decisions. The Northern Powerhouse could help.
PH: How?
GO: New infrastructure is a great way to hide a body. You and Theresa go up north to break ground on a new bridge -- only one of you comes back.
PH: Is there nothing you can think of that doesn't involve murder?
GO: Er....
PH: But even if we do bump her off we've no one to replace her.
GO: I wouldn't say that.
PH: You mean me?
GO: Don't be ridiculous. You need someone uncontaminated. Someone with experience but who has been out of government for oh, I don't know, 15 months.
PH: (incredulous) You mean you?
GO: Of course. What we need is a compassionate conservative.
The phone rings. Osborne picks it up.
GO: Ah Boris. Yes. Come around at 7:30pm, we're having risotto. (Turns to Hammond) Must go now Philippe, I'm having an old friend for dinner.

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