There are fears that some of the country’s top political figures could be cracking up under the pressures of electioneering, after former Tory leader William Hague apparently admitted that, for several months, he had suspected that current Conservative leader David Cameron was merely a figment of his imagination. “Thank God he’s real – I was beginning to think that I’d suffered a psychotic episode and that he was an hallucination that only I could see,” the shadow foreign secretary allegedly told men’s magazine Bollocks, in an exclusive interview with its editor, Ian Hornington. “I mean, I was really beginning to doubt his existence – it seemed that nobody else could hear a thing he said. How else could you explain the fact that we seem to be going further backwards in the opinion polls the closer election day gets?” According to the former Tory leader, he only accepted Cameron’s reality after his successor had an egg thrown at him by a heckler during a recent public appearance. “Obviously, if someone could throw an egg at him, they had to be able see him, didn’t they?” Hague says in the interview. “Either that, or we’re both suffering the same delusion!” Hague hadn’t always doubted his leader’s reality. “I was a firm believer when he was first elected and had absolutely no doubts as we moved ahead in the polls,” he muses. “But as our popularity began to slip, I started to question what was really happening. After all, looking back at his early days as leader, it did seem like a dream, didn’t it? We finally choose a young, charismatic and dynamic leader who, despite his complete lack of experience, was able to constantly outmanoeuvre a Prime Minister who had formerly been the most successful Chancellor for decades!” Hague admitted to the magazine that he began to harbour suspicions that he might have imagined Cameron’s accession to the leadership. “I thought that, after all those years of humiliation at the polls and bitter infighting which had made the Conservative Party a laughing stock, perhaps the mental strain had caused my mind to crack. Maybe I was experiencing an extreme wish fulfilment fantasy,” he says. “I even started to think that perhaps I was still Tory leader, that the Ian Duncan Smith and Michael Howard regimes were just another nightmare in my disturbed brain! After all, why on earth would anyone in their right mind think that either a bank manager, or Hannibal Lecter’s creepier older brother could lead us to an election victory?”

Cameron’s apparent inability to come up with any concrete policy proposals reinforced Hague’s suspicions that the new leader was merely a fantasy figure. “The fact that nobody else in the party seemed to listen to anything he said fuelled the fires of my doubts,” he revealed in the interview. “All his talk of cleaning up the party and improving our image seemed to fall on deaf ears as everyone just carried on as before, fiddling their expenses, accepting company directorships, taking contributions from non-doms!” However, confirmation of Cameron’s reality has set the politician’s mind at rest. “It really is a relief,” he declares. “Our election prospects might be turning to crap, but at least I’m not going bonkers!” Hague has subsequently denied that he ever doubted Cameron’s existence, claiming that he had never even given an interview to Bollocks magazine. “Oh, for God’s sake! The very fact that he doesn’t even remember the interview just goes to prove he’s cracking up under the pressure, doesn’t it?,” says the magazine’s editor, Ian Hornington. “Either that, or the ten pints a night he claimed to have drunk when he was younger have caused permanent damage to his memory.” Another recent article in Hornington’s publication has further fuelled speculation that this is proving an election too far for some former party leaders, with the latest issue sensationally claiming that former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has converted to socialism. According to the magazine, the conversion took place at the house of former Labour minister Tony Benn. During the ceremony Mr Blair allegedly renounced the market as a mechanism for the fair distribution of services and admitted that the invisible hand of the afore mentioned market was nothing but a superstitious fallacy. “Like God, the invisible hand is something we like to believe in as children – imagining that it is out there gives us a sense of security,” Blair is quoted as saying. “But I have come to see that it is entirely illusory, that the only true protection we have from rapacious capitalism is state intervention to ensure a fair redistribution of wealth.” The article also claims that it was Britain’s unique political culture which had previously prevented Blair from openly discussing his true political beliefs whilst Prime Minister. “Anywhere else in Europe you can come out and say that you are a Socialist with pride – it’s considered quite respectable,” he is quoted as saying. “But in Britain, if you say things like ‘I believe in the redistribution of wealth through a graduated tax system’, people think you’re a nutter!”

“It’s all true,” Hornington maintains in the face of mounting claims that the article is entirely fabricated. “It’s based upon eyewitness testimony – our source was actually present. In fact, he was the one holding the copy of Das Kapital on which Blair swore his oath of allegiance to international socialism.” Political analysts are divided as to the implications of the article, with some claiming that, even if it is true, then Blair’s supposed conversion is merely a cynical publicity stunt designed by the Labour Party to try and win back disaffected left wing voters. However, others are claiming that it simply provides further proof that the election campaign is pushing senior politicians over the edge. “The twin pressures of having to campaign for his deadly rival Gordon Brown and defend his own dismal record on civil liberties, the war on terror and social reform, have clearly sent him completely bonkers,” opines Professor Harry Chubbins of East Acton University. “This supposed conversion, like his earlier conversion to Catholicism, is simply a way to expiate his guilt.” Chubbins isn’t surprised by Blair’s apparent breakdown and Hague’s delusional state, highlighting the extreme mental and physical stress that campaigning can have upon politicians. “It’s especially tough on former party leaders like Hague,” he says. “I mean, on the one hand if they win the election they have to pretend to be happy for the current leader to have succeeded where they failed. On the other hand, if their party loses, then they know they’ll be stigmatised as some kind of Jonah. That’s enough to send anyone off their rocker.”