British politics is shrouded in an illusion of grandeur, dignity and power. It plays out in vast halls, gilded meeting rooms and the upholstered caverns of England’s finest restaurants.
The shoes that strike the pavement of Downing Street are owned by those in authority and the houses lining its side are occupied by the rulers of the nation.
When the tattered velcro of a well-worn Umbro trainer cross its towering gates, then, eyebrows are raised.
“What a mighty pair of sneakers, dude,” remarks one floppy haired aide. “Please, follow me.”
Jamie Vardy looks bemused, staring dumbfoundedly at the imposing Georgian houses looking down on him. He’s used to the chicken shops and drive-thrus of Sheffield. Naturally, he feels nervous.
But he’s not the only one. Inside 10 Downing Street lies an issue.
Politicos flap around with battery packs and jump leads in a panicked fluster. Somewhere a spin doctor sweats profusely from a crumpled brow, wondering just what The Mirror would make the unfolding scene.
A woman sits, like a puppet without its strings, sagging in a chair in the centre of the buzz. Cables and wires jut out from her limp body as plug sockets are periodically turned off and on again with pleading frustration.
Basil from Currys is on the phone, trying desperately to help. He’s failing.
When the solid, black door to the place is opened, silence prevails. Gareth Southgate steps over the threshold and observes the situation, his England squad waiting impatiently behind him like a gaggle of students on a school trip. “Mr Southgate,” one adviser trembles, “we’re in big trouble here.”
Peering over the gaffer’s shoulder – the pesky little ragamuffin – Jamie Vardy quips up from his disturbed concerns about Westminster’s grandiose. “‘Ere, geez, I gotcha. Me ‘n’ the lads ‘ad this problem all the fackin’ time back when we was jump startin’ ‘em motors at home.”
“Jamie, what have I told you about using such profanity on day trips to places such as this?”
“Fack off, boss. Anyone got an ‘air pin or sa’ink?”
With remarkable ease and fluidity of movement, the Leicester City forward whipped out a Clipper from his pocket and set to work; burning the end of the hair clip, jamming it swiftly into his phone’s charger port and then inserting it into the nearest socket, one that appeared linked up to the lifeless woman.
With a whir and a buzz, the trick seemed to work and Theresa May clicked into life. “Hello – strong and stable – I, I, I welcome each and ev-er-y one of you to my humble abode. Please do enjoy a light refreshment. It is a pleasure to meet you, human. Extend arm and shake hand. Smile. Walk. Repeat. Walk.”
Having lined up along the picture-blanketed wall of No.10 (albeit after some serious organisation, 3-5-2 doesn’t fit in a straight line), the England squad awaited their Prime Minister’s introduction nervously.
“And you must be Jesse? No, Ashley? Blast. Fabian? System failure: error code 451. Upgrade required: speaking to young men, file 279.”
A flustered aide hurriedly whispered in the PM’s ear.
“Oh, Raheem. Of course, silly ol’ Theresa! Tell me, do you like my crib? It’s very hip, no? And just what does a young *ahem* man such as yourself get up to on a day to day basis? Listen to R’n’B, is it?”
Moving on rather swiftly, Mrs May seemed to have eased up a little upon meeting Eric Dier.
“Oh, Eric. How lovely to meet you. Here, you look just like one of those charming young men I spoke with at a rally once who told me that they love the party. Said something about migrants as well, but I can’t quite remember that boring old mumble. Few naughty boo-boo words scattered in there.
Anyway, the hair – or lack of it! Success: joke – reminds me of them somewhat. I too had a wacky haircut once. I can be ‘down with the kids’, as they say.”
In the corner, a tightly arranged trio stood, heads together, deep in intellectual debate. Harry Kane, Jordan Pickford and Jamie Vardy whipped around when they noticed the Conservative Party leader approaching their little cabal.
“Mrs May,” struggled Kane. “We got some tips and that on what them people are wanting what with Brexit and not being Europeans no more.”
“Please continue, Mr Kane.”
“Well we was just thinking like we want our country back, innit? We wanna take control from France and Israel and, like, China and sh*t. Jordan over ‘ere reckons you gotta say somefing like, ‘‘ere, Europeans, giz us back control and that.’ You know what we mean, yeah?”
May’s eyes glistened and something seemed to switch in her once robotic body. A layer of quasi-humanity prevailed and the leader of the country relaxed, almost smiled, and shook each man by the hand.
She told them, “that’s it, gentlemen! The spirit of Great Britain in one chuffing go! The reason we voted en masse, the crux of our independence. What was that last line, ‘giz us back control and that?’ I love it. Find me a programmer.”
Within seconds, a zany young man had fiddled with his computer and shared a few quiet words with Mrs May.
She straightened up, eyes glazing over again and limbs stiffening to their Tin Man status quo. “Giz us back control and that,” she uttered, straight faced and monotone. Beaming, her advisers applauded. The PM remained rigidly still.
“We’ve got it, ladies and gentlemen! The soundbite of the century. She’s coming for you, Europe! And there’s nothing you can do to stop her.”
Well, nothing bar some water or a power cut, that is.