Somewhere Near Cambridge 1
Half-way between royal hall and nuclear bunker the room was splendid but lacking windows. Concrete and steel showed between the ornate décor and furnishings. ‘When was it built?’ ‘How many more were there?’ The Prime Minister didn’t know. She was, however, convinced her government could rule from London no longer. She was on the brink of having The Mayor declare martial law over the whole city. It was all but in place anyway. But she feared the consequences. Of course, she feared the consequences of not doing so equally. Her rule stood on a knife-edge.
Her security council was in place and waiting: so many old men with macs and iPhones sitting around a massive mahogany table. “Al Saud is dead.” She said. “Who the fuck is Bin Fiscal? What the fuck is our policy now?” “What the fuck are we going to do if the Iranians bomb the eastern fields?” She had such an impeccable stage performance. That was undoubtedly why she was Prime Minister. Gifted. It stood in stark contrast to her demeanour backstage.
“Tactical nukes.” Lord Byrant declared.
She glared around the room, at everyone but Lord Byrant.
“Is that the best you’ve got?”
Her tone made it abundantly clear that they were all fired if it was.
“If I may, Prime Minister…”
‘John Jackson’ she thought. ‘Were any of these men brilliant?’ ‘They all certainly thought so.’ ‘Was he?’
“Yes?” She demanded.
“If the eastern oil fields are compromised we will need to dramatically reform our relations with the Iranians. At least in the short term. And for that we need leverage. Leverage only the Russians can provide… and if an attack is avoided, we can make out like our overtures saved a long-standing ally from Iranian aggression.”
“Overtures!” “To the Russians!” “My good God!” complained Lord Byrant frantically.
A look of annoyance flashed across her face. Byrant fell silent.
“How do we present that to our Partners?” she said.
“The Americans are in the same situation.”
“Meaning they might try and present themselves as the peacemakers?”
“No, McCain has too much red-baiting history… better for him to let us take the lead and present it as tossing the trusty Brits a bone. Then, if it all goes belly-up, he can leave us taking the flack.”
“Well, you know, like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia folding, the oil fields falling into Shia hands and The Iranians and the Russians playing us, instead of us them.”
“Good God!” exclaimed Lord Byrant to no one in particular.
“We need the Israelis on board then.” She said. “The Turks aren’t going to like it, but they are complicit in this as much as anyone. Bottom line is both need to be deterred from making any more provocative moves.”
She caught Jackson’s eye.
“What do mean to say?” she demanded.
“Just that both are not likely to take this lying down, but both need to make concessions. What if we could make them feel like they were getting something in return?”
“Well, I mean, how about a grand initiative? An inclusive Arab-lead peace program? Something out of Cairo?”
“What, from Muhani?”
“Ah, well, no, err… we would need… someone else.”