“Good morning,” he uttered, in a tone that implied his mood was anything but good.
“Morning,” was their unenthusiastic reply. They were expecting the worst. They’d been asked to remain in London for the weekend, and to be summoned to Downing Street for an emergency cabinet meeting on a Sunday could only mean that the situation had deteriorated.
The PM took his place at the table and began speaking. “The control measures have failed, and in retrospect, it’s probably true to say that they had no chance of ever succeeding.”
He paused and looked at his colleagues. The Home Secretary seemed uneasy, but said nothing. The others also remained silent.
“Consequently,” the PM continued, “there was no other option available to me than to instruct DI55 to execute an immediate decontamination operation.”
The Secretary of State for Scotland, a blustering, bad tempered, no-nonsense straight talker (the press hadn’t nicknamed him “the Klingon” for nothing) made no secret of the horror he felt about the idea. “It’s absolutely monstrous!” he raged. “We can’t just destroy 100,000 people! It’d be mass murder!”
His outburst inspired some of his less courageous colleagues to speak up. The President of the Board of Trade went first. “Shouldn’t we at least consider our position in the polls? They’re bad enough as it is. This would certainly finish us off for good.”
“And it would be a gift to nationalists, both in Scotland and on my patch,” added the Secretary of State for Wales.
The Prime Minister was unmoved by their protests. “This isn’t an issue for debate. I’m not here to ask for your approval. I’m here to tell you what’s going to happen. The decontamination order has already been given. A suitable cover story will be issued to the press to limit any political consequences.”
He stood up.
“Extreme situations demand extreme measures.”