Inside Downing Street, Gordon Brown broke off a piece of Milky Bar and chewed on it thoughtfully.
Fiddling with a pair of cuff-links gifted to him by Bill Bailey, the psychologically-complex PM growled as he looked at a ticker tape displaying the latest headlines.
Surrounded by his trusted lieutenants – Peter Mandelson, Alistair Campbell, Neil Kinnock, David Tennant and his loving wife Sarah – he leant back in his chair and barked an order.
“Get that cunt on the phone.”
The Labour coterie looked at one another askance. Was the genitalia in question Clegg or Cameron?
Cautiously approaching the bellicose son of a Scottish preacher, and still nursing wounds from repeated Brown-inflicted knife wounds, decked out in organic maroon cotton socks, Lord Mandelson pressed Brown for a clarification.
“Not those fucking cunts!” bellowed Brown, hurling a photocopier at a nearby teasmaid. “THE Cunt! Tony!”
Pouring a cup of organic, fairtrade green tea in his small Westminster office, Nick Clegg looked around at the unassuming, crowded room and mused on the path that brought his party to its greatest moment in decades.
Paddy said he had ‘made him proud’. Menzies Campbell had talked at length of the constitutional mechanisms that the Tories and Liberal Democrats now needed to negotiate. Charles Kennedy – always the Belch to Campbell’s Malvolio – was uncontactable, thought to be filming a political chat show pilot for Dave.
He asked his three trusted inner circle what he should do next. Huhne had been cautious, Laws had been more optimistic. Cable had talked about the ‘trust deficit’.
He could be kingmaker for a day, but at what cost? A lifetime in the political wilderness, with a Liberal Democrat party split down the middle between the Rainbows and the Orange Bookers? Daniel Radcliffe looked on nervously.
Clegg opened a tin of Fox’s biscuits, a gift from Shirley Williams, selected a double chocolate melt and announced his decision.
Lounging on a yacht belonging to Pete Waterman, two miles off the coast of Cannes, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair poured an iced Orangina into a glass gifted to him by Ban Ki-Moon, opened a copy of Heat magazine, and frowned.
His cell phone was playing a chirpy rendition of a popular track by rock band Dire Straits, the track that signalled that his long-time enemy and sometime brother-in-arms needed him.
Blair – who had been in a rock band known as The Ugly Rumours, and constantly frustrated that his project had almost been derailed by Brown, always the Macbeth to his Banquo – sighed and answered the iPhone, a gift from the Beckhams, with a flick of the thumb.
Washing his hands in a small toilet in Admiralty House, David Cameron gazed out of window across St James’ Park.
Over the past 48 hours he had slept little, nibbling on Brannigans’ roasted peanuts and snatching brief moments to watch In The Night Garden with his young family. He thought back to his time at Oxford, running amok in the dormitories with his fellow Bullingdon members, young turks in the corridors of future power. Now for the reality.
His trusted advisers – the so-called Blue Tongue Brigade; George Osborne, Oliver Letwin and Michael Caine – sat downstairs, munching on chicken satay and star fruit.
Hague, sipping Volvic mineral water, had counselled caution. Coulson, aggressively chewing on a Mars Bar, had urged him to ‘smash the fucking bastards’. Grayling, picking dirt from underneath his fingernails, had mumbled something about Gary Neville. Clarke, known for his love of jazz, had merely smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes and stared at his brown suede brogues.
Straightening his blue tie, a gift from Margaret Thatcher, he moisturised his forehead with his wife’s Oil of Olay, a gift from Carol Vorderman, and cleared his throat.
He opened the door and began his walk downstairs to meet Clegg, whom Cameron regarded as an low-class oik, for the final time. From the small, unassuming toilet – Royal Doulton – towards destiny.
• Extract from Underneath the Hung Parliament by Andrew Rawnsley, as told to Robin Brown