'This is piss all to do with you. Frankly I'm ashamed to be resigning under such a shitey prime minister,' she said. 'Thank you, Nicola,' I replied

From the diary of Rishi Sunak, Britain’s most conciliatory prime minister

RELATIONS between Downing Street and Bute House have always been cordial, except when the phone rings late at night. ‘Is that the useless wee bastard?’ Nicola asks. 

‘Sorry to hear of your resignation,’ I say, turning the conversation effortlessly from Trainspotting-era vernacular to statesmanship. ‘Had you been mulling it over long?’ 

‘It’s fuck all to do with you,’ she slurred. ‘The resignation. I’m not having a little shit like you chalk this up as a victory. What I’m most ashamed of is resigning with you in charge.

‘But before you it was the mad hen, before her Boris, and I can’t hang around my whole career waiting for a Tory who isn’t an arsehole. The music stopped on you.’ 

The wise fighter, I learned from Dom Raab’s karate lessons before he discontinued them and kept the money, pays attention to what his opponent is not doing. What was my Scotch counterpart avoiding saying? That I could turn Scotland Tory? 

‘So it’s over,’ I said, not unkindly but with an air of finality. ‘For you, for independence, for the whole devolution project. There are 59 seats up for grabs, and I believe that under my leadership the Conservatives can contest every single one of them.’ 

This, perhaps, goes too far. She can’t answer. All I hear is sobbing, mixed with shrieking. My steely edge can be upsetting. Until she comes back on the line, and I realise it was laughter. 

‘You?’ Nicola says. ‘Win seats? Up here? You daft fucking weapon.

‘Flying in like a golf twat on your private jet to walk round a fishery? Raising our taxes and stealing our oil? Scotland would sooner vote for Edward Longshanks than your set of cunts.’ 

‘Actually, in 2024 we’ll be presenting a set of policies with significant mass appeal,’ I say, perhaps rashly, but to nobody. She appears to have hung up. 

‘Who was that?’ my wife calls. ‘The first minister of Scotland,’ I answer, while planning to misrepresent the rest of the conversation. ‘Mm,’ says Akshata, ‘that is about your level.’ 

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Pasta, pizza, and military cowardice: The gammon food critic goes Italian

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic for whom capital punishment doesn’t go far enough

I’VE never liked Italy. Opera, fussy paintings and footballers rolling around on the floor like they’ve been shot. 

And that’s before you mention the war. Side-swapping cowards joining whoever was winning. If they sent tanks to help Ukraine they’d reverse all the way to fucking Dover.

But their food’s meant to be alright, I always liked Sophia Loren and I’m by no means a prejudiced person, so I took the trip to the new Italian ristorante, or possibly trattoria. I don’t speak the language because our side won the war.

Ordering drinks? Keep in mind that their wine is shite. Weak, acidic and unpleasant. Order three bottles, like I do, and it’s the equivalent of one pint. Neck it like it’s water on a boiling day.

The menu? 500 different names for pasta. Linguine, rigatoni, fusilli, penne; the list goes on interminably because they mint a new name for every new shape. Pointless. Do you see Heinz dreaming up 26 names for a tin of Alphabetti Spaghetti? Exactly.

They don’t have spaghetti bolognese. The waiter, who has the effrontry to actually be Italian, informs me there’s no such dish in Italy. So I made it up, did I? I go for pizza instead, which has been a staple Italian dish since the very earliest days of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But what I get is, to say the least, disappointing.

No proper toppings like tandoori chicken, pineapple or jalapenos. No stuffed crust. Flat, thin and nothing more palatable than anchovies, mozzarella and tomato sauce. I need a fourth bottle of lambrini to wash it down.

It shouldn’t surprise me, from a country so lacking in culinary gravitas it named a biscuit after its most celebrated general and honored its greatest explorer with a mint with a hole in it.

I order tiramisu and, spirits buoyed by the meal almost having ended, I join in with the incessant Pavarotti they’re piping in. I’ve always fancied myself as that lad off the Go Compare adverts. But as I reach my crescendo I’m taken under each armpit and frog-marched out.

‘How the fuck was I meant to know it doesn’t translate to just one Cornetto?’ I ask the manager. ‘What’s the matter? Still throwing your hissy fit over the Treaty of Versailles?’ which gets me dumped on the pavement and told, in surprisingly decent English, to go fuck myself.

Taking a leaf out of their book, I offer no resistance and beat a retreat, having not paid the bill. Stupid bloody Italy. They lose every time.