Belfast Telegraph

Brace yourselves for the Peter and Tony revival show

By Mark Steel

It looks like the next stage of the New Labour project is for the leaders to become proper celebrities.

Mandelson's doing well so far, with his advert for The Times being impressively putrid, in which he publicises the serialisation of his book by sitting in a camp Gothic pose purring “I am the Prince of Darkness”.

But it fails in one respect, that the reason he's called the Prince of Darkness isn't because he played Dracula in a film or always wore a cloak, it's because he really is the Prince of bloody Darkness.

But Alastair Campbell was ahead of him, the publication of his book propelling him on to game shows and panel shows, where he joined in with scripted gags about false documents like he was a proper celebrity.

If he's asked by any other inquiry whether he has any regrets about supporting the war in Iraq he'll say: “Certainly not.

For if I hadn't played such a prominent role I'd never have been invited on to Celebrity Come Dine With Me.”

Then he'll issue a 12-inch club mix dance version of his denial of a sexed-up dossier, and appear on GMTV to reveal how he kept his skin so soft after David Kelly's suicide.

Maybe it's part of the plan for Brown to keep a low profile for a while, as this will make it all the more dramatic when they all get together with Blair for the comeback tour. It's almost as if to be truly famous was what they really wanted all along, and all that stuff about New Britain for the many, not the few, was only a means to that end.

It's lucky we didn't have a similar culture in 1945, otherwise Goebbels would have whispered to Hitler in the bunker: “Don't do yourself in, give it a few weeks to blow over and re-invent yourself.”

Maybe the Government have already got their eye on future careers, and they're working out a character to adopt, like wrestlers.

Danny Alexander will start arriving at Cabinet meetings in a mask he refuses to take off, and Liam Fox will dress as a Cherokee called Mighty Big Society.

This is one way the BBC could provide the public service role it's desperate to fulfil, by agreeing to allow the ex-Labour leaders on their shows in their jocular celebrity form, but only if a caption appears over the top saying “Remember: these people might look like chirpy little urchins, but in the real world they are truly, truly reprehensibly truly foul.”

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