A co-conspirator just pointed out this old anecdote to Guido:
In the summer of 1996, the satirist Rory Bremner had a curious encounter with Tony Blair that showed the youthful premier-in-waiting was already lining up a circle of celebrity courtiers to cast a reflected glow of glory onto his government.
Bremner, holidaying in the south of France, had learnt that the Blairs were staying in the next village. To his astonishment he received a telephone call from Cherie Blair. “She asked me whether I wanted to play tennis,” he recalls. “To this day I don’t know how that came about.”
After a pleasant game with Blair and making a few jokes at the expense of John Major, then prime minister, Bremner raised a serious point. “I said, ‘We’re laughing at John Major now, but if you get into power the boot will be on the other foot and you’ll be on the receiving end.’
“Blair laughed rather nervously and said, ‘Uh, um, how does Lord Bremner sound to you?’ ” It was a joke, Bremner emphasises, “but he was aware of patronage and bringing people within the circle”.
Not so funny now?