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Joe King with… the Rt Hon David Cameron

This week at STA Travel Bath, I was quietly minding my own business when, to my utter surprise, (I’m not sure why I’m still surprised, I’ve been doing this a while now) who should not come in, but the Right Honourable David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain & Northern Ireland!

I stood up (which seemed appropriate) and saluted (which, as I was about to discover, seemed inappropriate). Mr Cameron looked confused; his boyish face wrinkled as he tried to understand what on earth I was doing.

David Cameron painted portrait _DDC9187

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland pops in to see Joe King | Photo by Abode of Chaos

I realised my mistake, and quickly moved to cover it up, smoothing back my hair I introduced myself. “Hello Mr Cameron sir, what a surprise to see you here. Please, have a seat!”

D.C. (I can call him that, he doesn’t mind) looked uncertainly at the chair I offered him. After an awkward pause, he shrugged and lowered himself into it, trying to keep as much of his weight upright as possible.

Where does the PM want to go?

“I need to take a tour through Europe, these EU chums are getting too high and mighty. It’s time to show them I know my baguette from my bratwurst, and my Viennese from my viennetta!”

Despite his yammering, I though it best to do as the Prime Minister said. “OK Mr Cameron, not a problem, have you ever thought about interrailing — to show you’re a man of the people?”

A slight furrow appeared in the minister’s brow, and the colour drained from his face. “You mean, on public transport?” He moaned in amazement, “With… the people?”

I faltered for a moment, having been unaware that the thought of a public train could cause seizures in the wealthy, but my loss of words was rescued as Mr Cameron appeared to catch himself.

He set his jaw and muttered grimly “Potentially… do go on”.

“Well, sir” I mumbled, doing my best to find my bearings, “you can hit many different cities of European importance by using out 10 days in 22 pass, which means you can travel up to 10 days out of a 22 day period. You can choose which days those are, and also where you start and finish.”

“That sounds… wonderful” the pink-faced Premier murmured, in what was almost a whisper. “Tell me, young man; is there at least First Class on these trains?”

“Oh yes indeed Mr Cameron! You can take advantage of all the comfort and style of first class on that particular ticket for just £504.”

“Ah now that’s more like it! Even George Osborne can’t moan about £504!” The Prime Minister beamed, “This is starting to sound like a plan I can relate too — I was worried this was going to be like a meeting with that berk Clegg…”

On seeing my expression Mr Cameron hastily added, “Sorry old chap, I suppose that is rather a harsh comparison isn’t it… he means well, he’s just something of an idiot.”

I pulled myself together, trying to stay out of the Prime Minister’s internal struggles — although I imagined them to be rather less impressive than the Blair – Brown battles of the last government. “So, Mr Cameron. Where would you like to visit?”

Which European countries will the PM visit?

“Oh I don’t know” he waved a hand dismissively. “I usually just get on the plane and somebody else has dealt with all the details, but since that penny-thief Osborne is cutting the purse strings I’ve had to get rid of most of my staff. Where to go, where to go…” He drifted away to another place, staring into the distance and looking not unlike Miss Piggy. “I’ve always wanted to go to Amsterdam but Samantha won’t let me, perhaps if it was on official business… can I start there?”

“You certainly can sir, I’m sure she’ll be delighted! Where to from there?”

“I like Paris, and Sarkozy does serve lovely cake. Yes, on to Paris!” The PM was beginning to get rather excited, I think it’s fair to say he saw his train storming forward, at the head of a conquering horde.

Samantha could get her fill of tasty treats in quaint Paris. | Photo by `

“Fabulous,” I replied. “On the way you could even stop in Brussels? Then from Paris, perhaps on to Berlin?”

“Good God, no! I’ve seen enough of that awful Merkel woman to last me a lifetime. I’m sick of hearing about how utterly wonderful their economy is, and how we’ll all be begging them for scraps any day now. Can’t I miss out Germany altogether?”

“No problem, Dave. Perhaps visit Switzerland instead, and then on to Italy?”

“Good thinking old bean, I dare say there’s not much point appealing to the Spanish any more, not a peso between them. Anyway, I am rather fond of Toblerone. On to Bern, then perhaps Milan. I can pick up Samantha’s Christmas present while I’m there,” he mused to himself.

“Indeed you could sir, will anyone be accompanying you on your official visits?” I asked, becoming exasperated at the Prime Minister’s lack of focus.

“Certainly none of the cabinet, I tell you, it’s like an episode of Young Apprentice in there. A greater bunch of miscreants and incompetents I’ve never seen!” he blasted.

Finalising Mr Cameron’s itinerary

“Perhaps, Mr Cameron, I can finish off an itinerary for you, and send it over for you to take a look at? I imagine you have somewhere to be?” I asked.

“Yes yes, quite. Good thinking. I’m supposed to meet some of the Bullingdon chaps for lunch at The Dorchester. Thank you for your work Mr King; wonderful job.” The Prime Minister rose to his feet and puffed out his chest, I sensed a speech coming.

“With people like you driving this country forward, working for a brighter future and pushing the boundaries of excellent service, skilled workmanship and intelligent innovation, I have no doubt we will soon be riding upon the crest of a wave of innovation. Perhaps a revolution. It’s days like today that make me proud to be British. Go forth, Joe King, and lead your people through a cloud of optimism, and into an age of unbridled adventure!”

All that for an InterRail pass, I thought.

The Prime Minister strode out of the door, turned left and passed out of sight. Only to reappear instantly, upon realising he had turned in the wrong direction.

Britain is in good hands, I mused.

What do you to Joe King’s recommendations to David Cameron? For more information on following in the Prime Minister’s footsteps, and setting off on an InterRail adventure of your own, visit the InterRail pages of our website, or drop into your local branch.

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