The RAF has flown the Brexit deal document from Brussels to London for Boris Johnson’s signature.
I have it on reasonably average authority that the choice of an aircraft from 32 Sqn (The Royal Flight) was only one of a number of options considered…
We join an urgent Zoom call between Sara Oizys (SO, a junior civil servant in Number 10), General Walter ‘Woolly’ Cardigan-Fitz-Snuggly (WCFS, Head of the Army), Admiral Jack Speek (JS, Head of the Royal Navy), Air Chief Marshal Baz East (BE, Head of the RAF) and Gwyn ‘Throaty’ Slasher (rank not disclosed – TS, Director of Special Forces).
SO: Good morning gentlemen. We’ve got an urgent mission from Number 10. The PM wants you to get a doc out of Brussels.
BE: I see. Well, as an Executive Member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons I expect Belgium would have docs essential to pushing back against the Russians.
SO: It’s not that kind of doc.
JS: Understood. So, someone critical in the Covid fight then?
SO: No, it’s not Covid. Or Russia.
BZ: Acknowledged. What is it then?
WCFS: SAY AGAIN, OVER.
SO: It’s the Brexit doc. And General, please stop shouting.
JS: There isn’t a Brexit doc. Unless you mean a specialist in national psychiatry, the entire country’s been driven ga-ga by the whole thing.
SO: No, I mean it’s an actual doc. The document the PM has to sign to make the Brexit deal with the EU work.
BE: So not a live doc then?
SO: No, it’s a piece of paper. The Brexit deal.
WCFS: DEFINITELY NOT A LIVE DOC THEN.
SO: I can’t comment on that. And General, please stop shouting.
JS: Throaty, you’re on mute. And take your balaclava off.
TS: Negative. I just like to keep my own counsel, see?
SO: Gentlemen, the mission, please.
BE: Should be easy enough. I’ll get the chaps – and chapesses, sorry Wiggo – on it now.
SO: Air Chief Marshal stop, you can’t tell anyone about this.
BE: Can’t tell anyone? Why not?
WCFS: THIS IS TOP SECRET.
SO: It’s classified higher than that. And General, please stop shouting.
JS: You don’t mean…
SO: Yes, Tippety-Tip-Top Secret Level 10. You can’t tell any non-essential personnel.
BE: Serious then.
SO: Yes, friends and family only.
JS: If it’s secrecy you’re after I’ll rustle up one of the Astute Hunter-Killer subs. Nobody will see it.
SO: That sounds good Admiral. Which one.
JS: HMS Agincourt should be ready.
SO: Not quite the hand of friendship.
JS: HMS Audacious?
SO: Well, the bold and risky line fits.
JS: HMS Agamemnon?
SO: He prolonged a war and increased everyone’s level of suffering. Perfect.
BE: Rubbish! I’ll whistle for an F-35 stealth fighter. It’ll be back here before you can say ‘no loose items in the cockpit’.
WCFS: TANKS. YOU NEED A TANK. ONLY WAY TO GUARANTEE IT GETS THROUGH.
SO: General, you’re fighting the last trade agreement not this one. Challenger 2 is so old it won’t make it. And please stop shouting.
Throaty Slasher has been chuckling throughout the conversation and sharpening something just hidden from the camera; probably a pencil.
TS: Put your toys away gents. What you need on a mission like this is cold steel.
SO: You don’t mean…
TS: Yes, the Porsche Cayenne sat in the SAS driver training fleet. Hardly ever gets used. I’ll get Lofty, Dinger and Fingers to give it a run out.
SO: I don’t think so. They’ll trip over their flares for one thing – they all think they’re in the Sweeney circa 1977.
WCFS: CAN’T WE USE THE FAX? WE RELY ON BOTH OF THEM IN ARMY HQ BUT YOU CAN BORROW ONE AFTER THE RACING RESULTS HAVE COME THROUGH.
JS: Ships! The Type 32 is so stealthy it’s basically just a doodle on a fag packet.
BE: Air Force! We’ll zap the doc over a couple of satellites just to show we’re in space.
WCFS: THE LAST SIX INCHES OF DEFENCE POLICY ARE MADE OF STEEL.
JS: What does that even mean?
WCFS: NO IDEA.
SO: Covid has cost the Treasury a fortune and we’ve no idea of the economic impact of Brexit yet. I think we better save the taxpayer any further pain. I’ll book a ticket on the Eurostar.
At this point the government data system cut out. The only reliable means of communication was the fax machine in Army HQ, but that kept giving the ‘busy’ tone.