Chuka and Tristram meet with Tom

From Jeremy and Corbyn, Chapter Twelve – order now on Kindle

‘How the situation has arisen no longer matters,’ said Tom, mashing his pad.

Chuka leaned into Tom as he turned a corner, tapping ‘x’ repeatedly.

‘That’s the way Peter sees it,’ said Chuka. ‘And we all agree that we need a man like you, Tom, to help broker the peace.’

Tristram perched on the arm of the little sofa in silent green envy, his face flashing blue and yellow as his polygons collided across the screen.

‘We all think you played a great role in bringing us all together for the New Year’s celebrations. Well… apart from the Scots, of course.’

‘Their days were numbered anyway,’ said Tom, ‘once Gordon decided to step down.’

Chuka looked up at Tristram with dead eyes.

‘Aha!’ shouted Tom, his thick-rimmed glasses momentarily bathed in a deep yellow flash so that you could no longer see his eyes.

‘Got you – you missed the level-up.’

‘You win again, Tom,’ said Chuka.

‘Is it my turn to play now?’ asked Tristram.

‘Yes, in a minute…’ said Chuka, irritated.

‘You’re right Tom: The Scots let us all down. But for the moment we’ve a bigger fish to deal with.’

‘I can see what you guys were doing,’ said Tom, planting a mine in Chuka’s path. ‘It was a good plan – didn’t occur to me at the time. To be honest, I stopped playing the trade union game after Falkirk. Len handled that all very poorly. And by the time the Collins Review came out I was too busy with the new GTA.’

‘That’s something we wanted to ask you,’ said Chuka. ‘How are your contacts with the unions these days?’

‘They’re still a good summon. Obviously nerfed a bit since they started backing Corbyn – bit of an Easter egg, that.’

‘Quite,’ said Chuka, re-spawning after his character was eaten by a sewer crocodile. ‘However, it goes to show how much we really have in common.’

‘Yes, I’ve always said the same to our people. It’s the bug our platform has always suffered. It’s like when Street Fighter II came out – everyone wanted to be Dhalsim because he had the “Yoga Inferno”. But it soon wears thin when he’s the only character anyone plays.’

‘I remember,’ said Tristram, nostalgically. ‘My favourite was Ryu… Hadouken!’ he shouted, crossing his wrists.

Tom turned from the screen for a second and stared at Tristram, mouth agape. Then he turned back and just managed to dodge Chuka’s rocket launcher.

‘But this is an open-ended game,’ continued Tom, ‘and we have the same mission-quest.

That was the problem with Tony. He wanted to keep on playing and wasn’t prepared to share the controller.’

‘Steady on,’ said Tristram. ‘The man defeated the Tories three times. Gordon couldn’t even win the leadership contest, let alone the general election!’

Chuka flashed him an angry stare, and Tristram felt foolish for letting his temper get the better of him.

‘Well, that game is second-generation,’ said Tom. ‘You can’t take it back to the shop and sell it second-hand to recoup your losses.’

‘And the trade unions?’ asked Chuka.

‘I think once the deputy leadership contest finishes they’ll have served their purpose. They were only ever a useful piece on the board when playing against you guys. To tell the truth, they have so many complex side-missions and obligatory tasks, the game became a bit dull in the end.’

‘I can imagine,’ said Chuka. ‘I think our type of game will be much more to your liking.’

‘If you want my opinion,’ said Tom, ‘you need to stop concentrating on the contest. That mission is lost. You need to start thinking long-term.’

‘Yes, the point has come up,’ said Chuka, slashing Tom with a rusty chain-saw.

‘We all know that when an individual member becomes an irritant in the PLP,’ continued Tom, ‘they’re not difficult to dispose of. Groups of irritants are harder – you have to slice them up like salami and consume them one by one. Large groups are much more of a problem – Tony learned that, eventually.’

Tristram trembled on the arm of the sofa with indignation at the disrespect being displayed by this common little man. But Chuka stretched out an arm and held him back.

‘If Corbyn gets past level one, we’ll have to teach him that the shadow cabinet is a spider’s web in which small men can get caught. There are plenty of moves I can show you boys. You’re aware of the feminist cheat?’

‘Of course,’ said Chuka.

‘And you know about worm-holes?’

‘We’ve only recently discovered them. But it seems we have much to share.’

‘Plenty.’

‘It sounds like we have an accord,’ said Chuka, smiling. He stretched out his hand to Tom and smiled.

‘Pleasure doing business with you,’ said Tom. ‘By the way, have I ever told you about some very interesting investment opportunities you boys could be involved in?’

From Jeremy and Corbyn, Chapter Twelve – order now on Kindle

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