The Metropolitans 

Episode Twenty Eight


“That” Checkers Meeting Truth Edition


Did the scene go like this?


‘Well, come on now, settle down. We’ve got to make a decision on my Plan.’

‘PM, if you please.’

‘Yes, Chris?’

‘We’ve got some leverage with the EU on how we negotiate. We should use that to the full to get the kind of agreement that really benefits the country. In every way.’

‘Am I to understand you consider my Plan does not do enough to benefit the country?’

‘I am sure we will benefit from a negotiated exit. But we have many options. I am not sure that the current plan is the best for the UK. We can—and should—do better. We’re giving far too much away with the current proposal.’

‘Hear. Hear.’

‘Ah, Boris, you have something to say?’

‘Indeed, PM. I am with Chris on this. Your Plan—and I note the capital P that goes with it—does offer some benefits. But it needs to be compared to the alternatives.’ He gestured at the document in front of him. ‘What happened to the briefs that we were asked to prepare making the arguments for the different alternatives? I don’t see that these have gone into the Plan, PM.’

‘I can assure you every facet of the Plan is carefully crafted. It provides a comprehensive structure that achieves the intent of those who voted leave at the referendum.’ She waged a finger at him. ‘You should be pleased. We’re squeezing Bernard and his ilk in such a way that we’ll emerge from Brexit triumphant. It’ll be a huge success, you’ll see.’

‘For which you’ll no doubt claim credit.’

‘No Chris. We’re here to exercise Cabinet collective decision making. We must all agree on my Plan.’ Mary paused before continuing. ‘Of course, as PM, it’ll reflect well on me.’ She saw their expressions. ‘And on everyone here, of course.’

‘This is not what people voted for.’

‘Now, Boris, what makes you think that?’

‘May I quote your own words back at you? Leaving the EU means leaving the Single Market and the ECJ; it means controlling immigration.’ He tapped the document on the table. ‘This doesn’t guarantee these things.’

‘Now, let me reiterate. After we leave, we’ll be a great, global trading nation and will be safer, more secure and more prosperous.’

‘So, you expect us to buy into this Plan…’ he picked up the document before letting it drop on the table ‘…you have put before us.’

‘Precisely. It’s the best alternative.’

Boris shook his head. Chris tapped on the table with his fingers.

‘Can I have a show of hands on agreeing this is the way forward.’

Hands went up around the table.

‘Boris, Chris, you haven’t raised your hands.’

‘That’s because I can’t support this.’ He pointed at the document.

‘You’ll have to reconsider your position in the cabinet. If you don’t agree, you’re out.’

‘I see PM. That looks a lot like blackmail to me. I don’t like it. Nor will the party.’

‘You’re on you own on this, Boris. You should know I have taxis on standby if you decide to resign. There’s also a stenographer in the ante room who will be pleased to take down your resignation letter.’

‘You are putting me over a barrel, PM.’

‘Indeed Boris.’ She waved around the room. ‘This is a hard game.’

Slowly he raised his hand. Chris followed likewise.

‘So, we are all agreed then. How nice.’


Or like this?


‘Well, come on now, we’ve got to make a decision on my Plan.’

‘PM, if you please.’

‘Yes, Chris?’

‘I would just like to have it on record that you have come up with a very inventive way of tackling the thorny issue of leaving the EU. I couldn’t have come up with a better proposal myself.’

‘Why thank you, Chris, that is so kind of you.’ She beamed at him. ‘Since you haven’t, as yet, put forward a proposal, we won’t be able to compare our plans, will we?’

There were titters in the room.

‘PM, please.’

‘Yes, Boris?’

‘I have concerns about your Plan. I note you put it in capitals. Most daring of you. Up to now, we’ve been hitting our head against the proverbial and possibly physical brick wall in our negotiations with that froggie creep Bernard. Do you honestly think it will survive encounter with that toad?’

‘We’ve got his measure.’

‘But PM, any dilution of your proposals may make us a vassal state of the EU.’

‘It won’t come to that, I can assure you.’

‘Do I then have your assurance that, if any of our red lines are breached, we’ll break off negotiations? It could mean a hard Brexit.’

The were mutters around the room.

‘Of course. When I said Brexit means Brexit, I meant it. And I still do. It most definitely means we’ll be leaving the Single Market and the jurisdiction of the ECJ and taking back control of our borders. It’s what people want.’

‘In that case, I think I can go along with the Plan.’ He tapped his fingers on the document in front of him.


‘Chris. You’ve got something on your mind?’

‘Indeed, I do. I’m asking PM why you didn’t include some of the suggestions from the working parties that looked into our negotiating stance?’

‘We did.’

‘But I can’t see anything from their reports.’

‘There isn’t anything.’

‘Come again, PM?’

‘None of the recommendations passed muster. I had to start from scratch and come up with my own Plan.’ She picked up her copy and rolled it up. She held it like a truncheon. ‘We’re here to exercise Cabinet collective decision making. We must all agree on my Plan.’

‘Are we voting?’

‘Yes, Chris, we are voting on the Plan.’

‘Ah, it’s come to this.’

‘Well, if you’re unhappy you can always resign.’ He said nothing. ‘Let’s have a show of hands for my Brexit plan.’

Hands shot up around the table.

‘We’re all agreed. How nice.’


 Or was it like this?


‘Well, come on now, we’ve got to make a decision on my Plan.’

‘PM, if you please.’

‘Yes, Chris?’

‘Frankly, I really don’t understand a thing about it.’

‘Hear. Hear.’

‘Ah, Boris, you’ve got something to say.’

‘Well,’ he tapped the proposal in front of him, ‘it’s gobbledygook.’

‘Anyone else got a snide comment about my Plan?’

There was silence in the room.

‘Shall we take a vote on who is in support of proceeding with my Plan.’

‘So, it’s your plan now?’

‘And whose, Chris, did you think it was?’

‘I am Brexit Secretary you know.’

‘I am perfectly aware of that.’ She glared at him. ‘As PM, however, it is my prerogative to have the final say on policy and decisions.’ She stared at each of the cabinet members in turn. ‘With the backing of the Cabinet of course.’

‘Hear. Hear.’

‘Your heckling Boris is becoming quite intolerable.’

‘Just providing my support for our collective position.’ He sniggered.

‘This is a Cabinet meeting, not Question Time in the House.’

‘Well, I thought Checkers was a house.’

‘You know what I mean.’

‘But PM, you must agree that the proposal in front of us won’t work. They’ll never buy it in Brussels.’ He turned to the minister next to him and added sotto voce ‘They won’t have the cash.’ He tittered at his own joke.

‘I suppose that’s meant to be funny?’

‘Well, it’s true isn’t it? Once we leave, they’ll have a beaut of a time paying all those froggie farmers.’

‘This has nothing to do with the CAP.’

‘If the cap fits, wear it.’

‘Boris. Get a grip on yourself. You’re the Foreign Secretary, for God’s sake. You’re not writing one of your columns now, you know.’

‘But I will be.’

‘Don’t you dare!’ Mary picked up her copy of the proposals and slammed it down on the table. ‘We vote.’ She glared at her ministers. ‘Does anyone wish to vote against my Plan?’

The Cabinet remained frozen in a tableau vivant.

‘Good. Then it’s agreed.’


*   *   *


‘Open up.’

The pounding on the door echoed in the hall.

Ahmed opened the door from the lounge and then hesitated. Weren’t expecting nobody. More pounding. Shit. Not the bailiffs again.

He tentatively made his way towards the front door.

Through the closed door he shouted out. ‘Who’s it?’

‘It’s me, Mrs. Patel.’ Oh God! I haven’t seen her in ages. Why’s she ‘ere?

He opened the door. She gazed at him expectantly.

‘What yah want?’

‘I heard about it.’ It?

What’s it?’

‘Your money, dearie.’ Was I supposed to be doing someit with me dosh? I ain’t got any.

‘I don’t get yah.’

She passed over an envelope. ‘See!’

He opened it. It contained a mix of notes and a few coins at the bottom. He took out the notes and counted them up. Then the four quid in coins. Two hundred and thirty-four quid.

‘What’s it for?’

‘It’s for you, dearie. We ‘eard about your troubles, see.’ What’s ‘appening?

‘For me?’

‘I’s went round and did a collection. Ta ‘elp yah out.’ Collection? To help?

‘People gave me the dosh?’ Yah got to be kidding me.

‘Yes, silly.’

‘Why?’ Shit. What do I say?

She laughed. ‘Ta give yah a bit after ‘em took yah stuff, see.’ Dosh for me. Can’t believe it.

‘Thank you.’

‘There’s else.’

A man carrying a flat screen TV appeared and shouldered past her and tried to pass Ahmed, who blocked his way.

‘Err, what’s that?’

‘Yah TV, mate. It’s ain’t just a pretty piece of glass.’ That’s not mine!

‘Don’t look like me TV. Where’d yah get it?’

‘You donna want ta know, mate.’

Mrs Patel grabbed his arm. ‘You need a TV with the kids ‘n’ all.’

‘It’s for me?’

‘Well, Eddie ‘ere ain’t putting it in ‘is ‘ouse, like. Ain’t that right, Eddie?’

‘No way, Mrs Patel.’

‘That man suggested it.’

‘What man?’

‘The guy at the church.’ You go to church?

‘Do yah mean Welham?’ Can’t be!

‘That’s the bloke. He suggested we do ta whip round.’

‘You know ‘im?’

‘ ‘es ‘elped many ‘round ‘ere.’ I’d no idea.

‘Dah like a cuppa?’

‘Sorry, mate; just puttin’ this in’s lounge and be off.’

‘Mrs Patel?’

‘Nah, Ahmed. You enjoy yah TV.’ I will.

She stomped off.