The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Chequers Nights
Eamon Sweeney • 18 September 2003

I have spent considerable time this week trying to write something positive surrounding last weekend’s visit by An Taoiseach to the weekend retreat of the British Prime Minister. After pondering the various calculations of how our political process was to be revitalised, I came to the weary conclusion that the best I could muster was an imaginary scenario on how Bertie and Tony might spend the evening after the unenviable pressures of the day were at an end.

I am eager to convince you that this is the best I could do, not because of a lack of insight nor a lack of ability in speculating about the topics open for debate. We are all too familiar with what or what was not open for discussion. It’s just that it is more entertaining to think about the nocturnal activities of this couple than dredge through the innumerable ermutations of Saturday’s meeting.

So as twilight draped itself across the gentle plains of Hampshire and the servants opened the bottles of “Powers” and “Glenfiddich”, was there an enthralling game of chess at Chequers? I would imagine Bertie lost the chess because his full forward line, like his beloved Atha Cliath, were particularly static and the marble chessmen were not as easy to flick as his specially commissioned GAA Subutteo players. He would however have found them easier to move than the Minister for Foreign affairs Brain Cowen, but then again Popeye on spinach suppositories couldn’t move him if he tried.

Next it was to the games room. Having had the benefit of many diplomatic briefings on Irish history, Tony decided to avoid the darts board. After gauging the (Irish) whiskey fuelled look of reticent patriotism in Bertie’s eyes after his chess defeat, Tony thought better of turning his back on a Dub wielding a sharp and pointed object.

Bertie also refused to play Pool as he was sick and tired of being caught behind the 8-ball.

Billiards was also rejected on the grounds that the press would make too much innuendo of his already over scrutinised love-life if he was seen to be playing a game that involves three balls!

So after another dram, the Snooker started. Bertie sniffed victory as Tony seemed to be colour blind. Well, if he wasn’t colour blind he seemed to have great difficulty telling the difference between the reds and the blue. Predictably, however it all went “south” for Bertie when he kept insisting on sinking the green at every turn.

Things began to get heated during the poker game as each of them were convinced that the other had several more aces up his sleeve than should have been there, and Snap was a no-go because Bertie thought that this was another British ploy to claim more of “his” property. The pinball was going well until the flashing lights began to confuse the Taoiseach and he thought he was back in Templebar after another “long late night session in the debating chamber.” Then, Bertie flipped when he heard someone mention “Space Invaders” and he began to scream at the security men for letting Sinn Fein into the room.

Enough was enough, the games were over.

Tony then suggested that it was time to retire to the lounge. Perched in the corner was a beautiful guitar. As Tony began to render a version of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel”, just to show how trendy he was, he caught a glimpse of Robin Cook and Clare Short in an old Cabinet photograph and he promptly broke the fret board. Drawing muffled guffaws from Bertie, Celia and Cherie, Tony vowed he would return for more after changing his snapped G-string.

It was just as well, really as Bertie had been silently preparing himself for a bravado version of “A Nation Once Again”, but he was buggered if he could remember the words. Then, Bertie offered a compromise. He just happened to have an autographed copy of Westlife’s greatest hits on him. In a round of improvised karaoke, Tony sang “Fool Again” and Bertie dedicated “If I Let You Go”, to all the “Bhoys” in Portlaoise. Bertie was definitely drunk!

The session ended on high-octane duet of “I have A Dream.” A request by the lads for Celia and Cherie to sing “Uptown Girl” in their nighties was swiftly rejected by their spouses.

At 4am, nervous and tired security made notes that things were definitely getting out of hand as Bertie and Tony lumbered towards the playing pavillions, bottles of Bud in hand. After a millenium of slaughter and sacrifice Ireland’s glory was to be won back on an English tennis court! The game was abandoned before it began because Bertie would not accept Tony’s demands that he should have the umpire’s powers as well as playing on the grounds that was his court they were using after all. Bertie also flatly refused to settle it with a penalty shoot out since there was no way he was going to flout the foreign games rule, especially on British soil.

At breakfast next morning amidst the sheepish looks and almost tangible sense of hungover despondency, Tony cringed at the diplomatic faux pas when the butler offered Bertie a choice of “Orange” juice and cereal or an “Ulster” fry. An international diplomatic disaster was averted however, when Tony remembered Bertie was after all a member of Fianna Fail as well as Irish Premier. Bertie had already consumed the juice and cereal and slipped the fry into his pocket for later on.

As Taoiseach 1 roared skywards towards the Irish sea, Bertie quietly congratulated himself on a job well done. He was indeed proud of his role as the “leader of Nationalist Ireland”, a title he had bestowed upon himself some years earlier.

Meanwhile, back at Chequers MI5 agents tried to decipher the transcripts of the bugged data removed from An Taoiseach’s car some hours earlier. Who were the cats? Where was Croker? And why the hell did the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic want to place five hundred “spondoolicks” on them?

On the hotline at Thames House, the Director General of MI5 was informed that the Irish were planning to croak Blair, with high explosives placed inside a kitten sent as a present from Dublin, exploded remotely by the newest Russian detonator, the spondoolick.

Deep in the bowels of the Oval office the big red phone began to ring. As the receiver was lifted, a distinctly shaky English voice dryly whispered, “George? Is that you George?…Those bloody Irish are at it again!!!”




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

23 September 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Dissident Republicanism
Davy Carlin


Revenge or...
Pedram Moallemian


Chequers Nights
Eamon Sweeney


An Open Letter to Michael Moore: You Are Way Off Base About Wesley Clark
Terry Lodge


Remembering the other 9/11
Anthony McIntyre

The Letters Page has been updated.


18 September 2003


Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others
Eamon Sweeney


Members of 32CSM and IRPWA Physically Assaulted by RUC/PSNI
Andy Martin


Report: Belfast Anti Racist Meeting
Davy Carlin


The Shadows
Carrie Twomey


DHSS Lives
Liam O Ruairc


Freedom and Democracy in Cuba Depend on Support for Dissidents
Vaclav Havel, Arpad Göncz, Lech Walesa


Cancun - Whose Setback and Whose Opportunity?
Michael Youlton


How Do You Like Your Elections - Fixed and Murky?
Toni Solo


Armed Struggle
Anthony McIntyre


Republican Sinn Fein commemorates Robert Emmet




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