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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

NIBBLES AT NUMBER TEN: Meeting Tony Bliar in Downing Street

Tonight was something a little bit out of the ordinary for us mere proles’, I went to Ten Downing Street for drinks and nibbles with the Prime Minister.

How I ended up there was a bit of a sham to be honest, during the election earlier this year I was working full time for my union. Some how I got roped into being a ‘Trade Union Liaison Officer’ for one of my branches. I was not keen on the idea but I was after a full time job so I kept my gob shut and got on with it, all be it not very enthusiastically, if you see what I mean. Probably best I say no more, ‘cos I am still after a full time job. No mater how vigorously I carried out my role, simply because I had done the job, I got invited to number ten, along with about 150 other TULOs for a ‘reception’.

I had to give it a great deal of thought, did I really want to socialise with the man that has sent this country to war more times than any other Prime Minister; the man that almost single handily removed any socialist element in Labour Party policy, turning it into the party of big business and globalisation? The answer to that was an emphatic NO! But how often do you get a chance to have a look around one of the top five most important buildings in the world? The history of the place won out, and I decided to go and have a nose around. I think it is better to regret something you have done, than regret something you have not done.

I travelled up on my own by train and went for a wander around Westminster to get some photos of London by night, then headed for the nearest pub to Downing Street. The pub was full of Westminster types, backbench MPs, journalists, civil servants and of course tonight there was a healthy dose of trade unionists. It was not long before I bumped into some other Welsh TULOs that I knew.

After a while we wandered over to Downing Street. The security was fairly tight, as you would expect. We went through an airport style security area, got frisked, went through metal detectors and had to show photographic ID. I could not help thinking that despite all this security, they had not worked out who I was. Maybe I am just not as big a threat as I think I am.

We then wandered up to Number Ten itself, and paused to take some photographs outside the famous door. Once inside we had to hand over all cameras and mobile phones, then we were escorted up the stairs, with photographs of past first ministers covering the wall to a banqueting room where we were offered drinks by an extremely well spoken young lady holding a silver tray with a variety of drinks on. Unfortunately, due to the deficiencies of public transport in Wales, I was not going to be able to make the last train up the valleys, so could not drink because my car was waiting for me in Cardiff.

In the small banqueting room the walls were lined with expensive artwork and the floor was covered in trade unionists. Young girls wandered with trays of mainly carnivorous nibbles, or topping up your drink before you realised it was even empty.

Eventually Big Toe himself came in, wandered for a bit, then got up to make an informal speech He thanked us all for our 'hard work' during the election and stated how highly he regarded the trade union links with the Labour Party (We did, after all, create the bloody thing). He reminded us that if the Tories ever get in, we will never get invited to Number Ten, and will not have any input to how the country is run. I just stood there thinking ‘what a two faced git’; any impact we have on his policies is just lip service, or morsels to keep us quiet while he runs rampage. At least with the Tories we knew where we stood.

After his speech, he wandered around mingling with as many people as he could. I was determined not to shake his hand, or if i did I would grab his hand, put the head on him, and knee him in the crown jewels and shout ‘that is for Iraq you B*stard’. When the time came, I was stood next to the Regional Secretary for the South West region, the man who was going to be interviewing me a week later, who just happens to be married to a cabinet minister and is a big Blairite. I bottled, and shook his hand politely. “Sticking to the orange juice?” he queried. “Saving myself for a 24 hour binge drinking session tomorrow when the licensing laws change” I responded. Yeah.. well radical, that told him!

After a bit more mingling, it was back to Paddington then home.


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