My call to Lachlan Murdoch is apparently 47th in the queue. 'Top 50!' I mouth to my wife

From the diary of Rishi Sunak, Britain’s most long-term view-taking prime minister

THE moment I heard, I picked up the phone to offer my congratulations. And the three hours since have simply flown by. 

I was never a favourite of Rupert’s. He approved my promotion to chancellor, or course, otherwise it would never have been allowed, but he never took a shine to me. Or Liz. Or Boris. Or Theresa, or David. In fact he hasn’t liked any of us since Blair.

‘He doesn’t like anyone,’ says Akshata, breezing past. ‘He’s not even pleasant to my father. But you’re right, he didn’t like you especially.’

‘Why?’ I say, stung. ‘Surely not racism?’ ‘Ha,’ she replies, ‘as if. He leaves that to his editors. No, I think it’s the way you fail. It reminds him too much of his sons.’

‘45th in the queue now,’ I announce, letting the slight slide because I understand marriage is about listening to the heart not the words. ‘Anyway, what about my headlines this week?’

‘I’m certainly not chasing headlines or short-term popularity with my net zero policies, which are long-term decisions for a brighter future like it said on the podium,’ I continue assertively. ‘But did you see the headlines? And I hear the polls are good.’

‘Yes well old men like it when the world is ending,’ she snaps. ‘Makes them feel important. Worry about Lachlan now, not that he’s any good or he wouldn’t have been chosen. He’s shitting himself, the poor little lamb.’

‘You seem to know a lot about it,’ I say as the hold music – Mars, the Bringer of War from  Holst’s Planets Suite – continues. ‘Mm,’ Akshata says, ‘I just got off the phone with him.’

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All this trouble to save the life of a chicken: The gammon food critic visits a vegan cafe

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who thinks since these Bully XLs are being culled anyway we might as well make them fight each other

VEGANISM. The way I see it, you’re going some if you’re going a step more extreme than Hitler.

And what happens if we all stop eating chickens tomorrow? They’d be fucking everywhere. You’d be shooing them off your car before you could get in it, and there’d be flocks of them wandering the streets.

But I’ve had a text from an ex, in town and wants to meet up. At a vegan cafe. They’re like that, vegans. Never miss an opportunity to win converts, like born-again Christians and ski holiday enthusiasts.

She was always a bit hippy. Went to university, liked a spliff, read books, all the dangerous stuff. Still I won’t hold it against her if there’s a chance of some action. She never used to be averse to a length of meat, after all.

I stroll in there, having lied to the waiter that my shoes are pleather, and there she is not just older but having tubbed up. How’s that possible when all you eat is aubergines and fucking lentils?

The menu’s worse than I thought, though if you could eat sanctimony it’d be a feast in itself. No meat, no dairy, everything plant-based. Even the beers are ‘vegan’, as if you use cows to brew Banks’s mild.

She orders the five-bean chilli. I make a mental note to open the windows if she comes back to mine, because she’ll be farting like the breath of Beelzebub.

What will I eat? Cauliflower fritters sound disgusting. Plant-based burgers I won’t eat on general principle. Lentils were a joke in the 70s, let alone 50 years on.

My ex suggests the 3D-printed steak might be a gentle introduction to veganism. Apparently it looks just like a steak but it’s made of soy and beetroot and shit. I reply that this looks just like a restaurant but it’s apparently a meat forging mill.

But, open-minded as ever, I give it a try. And as bullshit passed off as meat goes, it’s not even close to the Greggs sausage rolls. Looks the part. Tastes alright. But why go to all that trouble when you could just slaughter a cow?

I nip off to the loo and the Pepperami I smuggled in down my trousers. It’s a bit sweaty but tastes like heaven, especially knowing I’ve got one over on the diet Nazis.

The so-called meal over, I suggest that, seeing as I’ve crossed the divide and come here, she owes me a visit to a steakhouse? She says ‘it doesn’t work like that’ and ‘this was probably a mistake’. You’re telling me, love.

Will I eat vegan again? Not knowingly. And believe me, with their fake food I’d know. I detour via the Chinese for a mixed meat chow mien special, then head home for some proper food and a hearty wank. Another day in paradise.