EVER since I arranged for the Warmington-Curbishleys to come to a sticky end my sleep patterns have been disrupted. That’s now six people in whose premature denouements I’ve either been directly or indirectly involved. I’m not sure this is what I came into politics for and it’s beginning to play on my conscience. Now I wake up in the small hours screaming after a series of bad dreams.

Last night’s followed a similar pattern to the others. I’m adrift in the River Thames at midnight and a sword rises out of the water before me. As I get closer to it I see that it’s covered in blood and in the waters surrounding it I can see the faces of all those I’ve helped dispatch to their maker. A whirlpool begins to form and I’m sucked into it screaming as cold laughter can be heard around me. The last thing I see is a huge saltire cloaking the Tower of London.

And so, on my way home from work today I decide to pop into the little church of Acacius of Sebaste, home to London’s Armenian community.

My devotion to Rome has flagged in recent years and been replaced by a yearning for the eastern church of my grandpapa on daddy’s side who was descended from an ancient line of Greek sailors. After decades of rutting and drinking his way through southern Europe my great grandfather, Tobias Samaras had a crisis of faith and spent his last days as a Trappist monk in a monastery overlooking the waters he once soiled and sailed.

I light a candle and reflect on all those deaths in the service of both the UK and Scottish Governments and seek to justify them on the basis of protecting the security of the realm and keeping the peace.

But I have a nagging feeling that using Commander Oleg, a former Russian Special Forces operative, to deal with all of them in exchange for lucrative construction contracts in London and Edinburgh may come back to haunt me.


IT looks like Boris has survived the confidence vote. It really is remarkable how he’s managed to survive all this time despite being personally responsible for making the UK now resemble a corrupt pirate state of the type the CIA used to prop up in Africa and South America.

In the end we were forced to resort to the traditional Tory tactic of blackmail to force the necessary votes over the line. This included secret documents detailing the ownership of a chain of sex dungeons along the Humber Estuary by several northern MPs and a few in the Midlands who had set up foodbanks to disguise money-laundering activities.

This morning we’ve all been summoned to attend an ideas symposium by Shifty Gove who wants to “re-set” the agenda and help the PM move on from this car crash of a year. Number One item on the agenda is dealing with the legal challenge to Scary Patel’s Rwanda deal for asylum-seekers.

Dominic Raab (below), who still uses an aide to tie his shoelaces each morning, suddenly strides forward. You can tell he’s been preparing for this.

The National: Dominic Raab (Peter Byrne/PA)

“I think we really ought to think about using some of those islands off the west coast of Scotland,” he says. “After all, they’re always complaining about depopulation and the Jock government can’t even build enough ferries to keep them connected.”

“He can’t be serious,” I whisper to Samantha from Transport. But old Dom couldn’t be more serious. He produces a set of diagrams and numbers that look to me like the sort of maps the old East India trading company used to locate small islands in the Indian Ocean to bury their loot.

His plan is a simple one: we call a snap independence referendum to catch the Scottish Nats on the hop. “We’re almost certain to win this as the SNP have no money and are riven by internal dissent,” says Raab. “Then we bribe the local authorities with hospitality tickets to Wimbledon and the Qatar World Cup and promise them that we’ll build them as many ferries as they like.

“And then we deal them into a plan to send them 10,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. We can provide temporary accommodation initially by using the new ferries as floating hotels.

“The Jocks are always banging on about how compassionate they are about refugees,” says Raab, “so this would be their chance to put up or shut up.”


I SEND an urgent message to Nicola, using our previously-agreed specially encrypted WhatsApp number. “Need to meet in person. Trouble afoot. Boris making plans for snap indyref. Using refugees as bait.”

She responds immediately: “In London tomorrow for platty joobs. Meet me in Blackford’s office at 8am.”