Neil : Let’s get straight to the point. Should we remain or leave the EU?
Urquhart : Well, I think we’ve had a pretty clear indication from the country that people are looking for some kind of change.
Neil : And David Cameron’s performance in the Remain cause??
Urquhart : He’s not absolutely certain where the danger lies, for one thing; and a sudden flurry of changes may look like panic. You, on the other hand, may feel that if you were… the Captain of the Titanic, you wouldn’t be saying “Steady as she goes”.
Neil : If I were… Captain of the Titanic… which of my senior officers should I be worried about?
Urquhart : Beware of an old man in a hurry. Have you heard that phrase?
Neil : So you don’t think he’ll survive as leader…
Urquhart : You know the man now. You can see he has nowhere to go. He’s begging to be set free. He’s had enough. If you have pangs of pity, crush them now. Grind them under your heel like old cigar butts. He didn’t have the brain or the heart or the stomach to rule a country like Great Britain. A nice enough man, but there was no bottom to him. His deepest need was that people should like him. An admirable trait, that, in a spaniel or a whore — not, I think, in a Prime Minister, hmm?
We simply put the poor bastard out of his agony. So let’s not indulge ourselves in any squeamishness. Remember that frightfully nice man who talked a lot about the classless society? He has to go, of course, in the end. Everything changes.
Neil : And the accusation of negative campaigning and scaremongering by Remain? Project Fear and all that goes with it?
Urquhart : I don’t think the people will want any more muckraking. I think the whole nation is sick to death of negative campaigning and dirty tricks. They want to be given hope, they want something positive. I want to show them that there is an alternative.
After the smiles. After the handshakes. After the arms around shoulders and the merry, hollow laughter. After the conditional promise and the purchased friendship. After the elusive, dangling reward, the nagging threat. After all that – the calculation of the odds, the sifting of the probabilities – and then, the fear. Fear in the smell of damp newsprint and the crackle of the radio. Fear that this might be the day that we wake to find the magic gone.
Neil : So your view is that the EU is floundering and taking Cameron with it… that we should get out while we can?
Urquhart : You might very well think that. I couldn’t possibly comment…
Neil : Thank you Mr Urquhart.