An open letter and discourse upon journalists, and the affair of the Miranda and how the First Minister may behave. From Niccolo Machiavelli to David Cameron, Prime Minister of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and First Lord of the Treasury!
Noble signore! Greetings from your most humble servant, Niccolo Machiavelli, and salutations!
Oh noble signore!
Much has changed since I, your humble counsellor Niccolo Machiavelli departed this mortal realm near on 500 summers since. For example, amongst your assembly and even amongst your own counsellors you number many of those of the female gender and not even of noble birth, and even the very prefect of your Home Office is a Daughter of Eve who wears strange apparel and shoes which would have made even Lady Lucretia Borgia blush. And yet, I can imagine that my former patron, Lord and Prince, Cesare Borgia, might well have considered this a matter of some joy, being, as he was, enamoured of courtly love. Or perhaps not, for he was not renowned as an Equal Opportunities Employer.
On the other hand, my most noble signore, nothing much has changed at all, and a good First Minister must learn of and grasp the levers of Power, in the interests of Himself first, and the Estate of his Peoples and the Citizens second.
Now, my noble patron Prince Cesare Borgia has maintained an interest in matters temporal from beyond the tomb and on high, including the X Factor, which he finds very base and cruel beyond any measure of his own alleged crimes, and also has been following you upon his celestial Twitter feed.
And thus, my noble patron Prince Cesare Borgia has bid me write words of advice and counsel to you, knowing as he does of much weeping and gnashing of teeth in your realm upon the Fate of one Miranda, who be not a lady, but a Green and Yellow Fellow.
Now, my Lord and First Minister may expect your humble correspondent to be writing from the very Seventh Level of the Inferno and the Pit of Beelzebub, with the fires so hot as to boil the very ink of my pen! But it transpires the Good Lord has a broader and less Politically Correct attitude than many of your present Body Politic and hoi polloi may allow, and my place in the hereafter has been most assuredly Upon High.
Having now resided in the company of cherubim and seraphim for so many years, what advice would I, of ancient wisdom and high experience, offer to My Lord in these times of turbulation and flatulence? First I have words of general wisdom for a First Minister of every degree.
A wise first Minister should not be seen to be gadding about too much in the Summer Holidays, and having many thereof, for that upsets those of his citizens who are poor and starving and afraid for their homes and jobs, of whom there are many in the present times, them not being bankers, or civil servants or politicians who so shrewdly pay themselves so much at public expense, and yet in return for so little.
Also a wise First Minister should not wear shorts on any occasion. At all. Ever, .
Next, the First Minister should always beware of those who present themselves as jolly, upper class eccentrics who hold independent offices of Mayor, especially of his Capitol. For their assurances of friendship will, as sure as Fate, be fakery and false, and beneath the veneer of their jollity these are often serial womanizing snakes, and with all their might will focus upon obtaining the very office which you, my noble signore, now occupy, even to your destruction. Therefore, keep such men close, but have your agents of the State follow them about and to their wicked and immoral assignations, of which there are many, and if necessary lay temptation in their paths, and then make use of their Human Weakness as and when it is ripe so to do. For blackmail and character assassination are the tools of the trade. Ask any spin doctor.
A wise First Minister does not eat quiche, but will never be clear about whether he does or does not; and neither will he condemn quiche as such, for a wise First Minister will be all things to all men.
But a wise First Minister should not be keen to befriend varlets and outlaws and âhoodiesâ believing them to be misunderstood and ill used, for his people travel the turnpikes and footpaths that the First Minister doth not, and know them to be nasty dangerous little animals who want hanging from the nearest lamp post, not counselling. And his people will long remember if he the First Minister betray them and the safety of their families and chattels, and come across like an out of touch condescending twat.
A wise First Minister would keep his nose right out of hornetâs nests, where no good can be done, like Syria.
But, noble signore, what policy and advice do I send thee from on High and in the company of the angels on the affair of the Miranda in particular?
Of course, signore, in my day, things were a little easier. First almost nobody amongst the common people could read. But fie, there is no change there then! But yet, if a scribe, emergent from the New World, had held many and diverse documents and a CD ROM upon his person containing private papers and information belonging to a prime ally and partner of the City State in matters of war, what would my Lord Cesare Borgia have done? Why, my Lord Cesare would have been most politic, and would have admonished not the scribe, but would have preached openly for his safety and the forgiveness of his sins. And then after having him secretly pulled in and tortured upon the rack and obtaining the documents in question, had the little tinkerâs throat cut, his body dumped in the Tiber and a statement blaming the Romanians issued the next day. We used to call it âplausible deniability.â
Now, oh honourable signore, I and my patron the noble Prince Cesare know full well and note that things have moved on and assassination is no longer allowed. Apart from David Kelly and Princess Di, of course. But, in the main, nowadays the Press must be courted like an expensive courtesan on one part, and paid handsomely well for their services and sure discretion, and then like the pretty daughter of an impoverished noble man, to be plied with sweetmeats and promises and seduced, and then right abandoned and sold to everlasting whoredom with never a second thought.
But when it comes to those who play with the security of the State and the Stateâs allies, more robust action is required. Of course, a wise First Minister will always make it plain that he is above the matter and that the actions of his Cityâs police are not of his doing and with him his Minister of the Home Office too. Ave, Theresa! And a wise First Minister will thus always be careful to ensure that his agents and the police obey the strict letter of the law and the spirit of it too, for in this lies the long term safety of the State and the Constitution.
And a First Minister should be well counselled and be perfectly well aware that the scribe Miranda was not really ever seriously suspected of being a terrorist within the meaning ascribed to that term by section 40 of the Terrorism Act 200.
And thus he was not capable of being lawfully detained under schedule 7 of that Act in any way shape or form whatsoever.
However, a Wise First Minister would also know that in matters concerning the security of the City State, sometimes laws are to be stretched and even broken and that an occasional act of criminality is necessary to make sure that those who live in Hampstead and Islington, who read Polly Toynbee and who work in bleeding Matrix Chambers do not totally bollocks everything up. And all the more so, signore, when a spy is one who takes the other bus to Tuscany, as we used to say. For those who read The Daily Mail and The Sun care not for such.
A wise First Minister would be aware that there must be limits to this, and the next time Nu-Labour whines on about it, point to the fact that it was not really legal to arrest an opposition MP, Damien Green, in the confines of the House of Commons and have the heavy mob trash his room because he found out stuff that embarrassed the government over its public stance on immigration.
But the wise First Minister will know when the slap of government is required, and that he is the guardian of the affairs of the State, and not those of the Fourth Estate who proclaim themselves the Guardian-istas.
Thus, signore, rest easy and stay above this affair! Know and preach nothing but honest propriety and respect for the law, and behind the scenes give such Lordly winks and nods as befits a complete and utter two faced bastard, which a good First Minister must always be.
And trust me on the shorts. Never a good look Dave.
Ciao for now.
Your dear friend and servant
Niccolo Machiavelli is a medieval diplomat, political scholar, playwright and composer of popular contemporary comedies and songs and is the author of the best selling spin doctorsâ handbook, The Prince. In his spare time he enjoys line dancing.