Alistair had seen this coming. It wasn’t easy being a politician. There was always someone out there wanting to dig the dirt and bring you down. There was always someone prying into your past and your private life. It was even worse when you were the Prime Minister. Sometimes he wished that he could just ‘spend more time with the family’, but the system wouldn’t let him. He certainly had done his best to obey the rules but there were so many of them; there were bound to be those he did not know about. It really wasn’t fair. The papers were his worst nightmare. Where would they go next? What lay around the increasing number of corners in his life? When he had led the party to victory in the election everything seemed so delightfully simple. Then he had possessed a full head of shiny black hair and there had been a spring in his step. He had been full of vibrant energy. His visions had been clear. The adulation of his colleagues in the party had filled him with pride. But now seven years later…
Of course resignation was an impossibility. It would send clear signals that he was as guilty as hell. He just had to keep his nerve and wait for the storm to pass. He was not the only one under scrutiny; James and Margaret were as well. Alistair did not know the truths of their financial dealings. Certainly no one had made any revelations to him. Tight lips were the order of the day. It might be very difficult to stay confident as that fellow Baines wanted to interview him on his Saturday morning chat show. He really could not refuse. Then there was ‘Time for Questions’ when the public would have a go at him. What was it somebody said – ‘all political careers end in failure’. Was this to be his destiny?
He opened his laptop and began to write a summary of what he would say when he could no longer avoid making a statement to the press. It had to come over as forthright, positive, without shame, and emphasise that he wanted to concentrate on doing his job without the distraction of this senseless witch-hunt. Of course he started from a position of weakness – no smoke without fire, and all that. People would be suspicious and he had to disprove those presumptions of guilt. He straightened his tie which seemed to have drooped in mimicry of his own depression.
The phone rang. Should he answer it? Was this the beginning of the end?