As the reign of British Prime Minister Tony Blair draws to a close, the question on everybody’s lips is: “What will he do next?” Blair himself has given few clues as to how he intends filling the hours once he relinquishes the keys to Ten Downing Street. Indeed, what can someone who has wielded such power do with the rest of their of their lives which wouldn’t seem anti-climactic? Expose themselves in public parks, perhaps? Incredibly, this is how Dwight D Eisenhower, former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and US President, liked to get his kicks once he’d left the Oval Office for good. “Apparently he liked nothing better, in his declining years, than to stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue with his cock hanging out of his flies. It was the thrill of seeing if he got caught,” claims historian Harold Whiblin, author of Twilight of The Chiefs, considered the definitive work on the post-Presidential careers of America’s Commanders in Chief. “The problem was that his Secret Service guards always made out sure that he didn’t get caught. Not even that time he whipped it out in front of that party of nuns. They just paid them all off in dildoes specially blessed by the Bishop of Baltimore, made a generous donation to their Abbey and confiscated their cameras.” According to Whiblin, the Secret Service has a whole division devoted entirely to covering up the indiscretions of ex-Presidents. “Over the years they’ve spent millions of dollars buying people off with money held in a secret Treasury slush fund,” he reveals. “It is considered essential that such things as photos of Ike waving his upstanding soldier at parties of tourists never fall into the hands of the press – it could fatally undermine public trust in the office of the President!” Indeed, no expense is spared to prevent post-Presidential peccadilloes from becoming public. In 1976, for instance, when it transpired that Richard M Nixon was employing the burglary skills he’d learned from his Watergate co-conspirators to break into women’s apartments and steal their underwear, the Secret Service’s clandestine cheque book swung into action. “It turned out that he had a vast collection of purloined panties, which he used to spend his evenings fondling and sniffing,” says Whiblin. “Unfortunately, despite wearing a ski mask on his raids, several of his victims – awakened by the sound of him snorting their gussets – recognised the distinctive nose. Using the entire resources of the FBI’s forensic laboratories, the Secret Service was able to trace the owner of every piece of underwear in his collection and buy their silence.”
Not all ex-Presidents have turned to indecent exposure to try and recreate the adrenaline buzz they got from having their finger on the nuclear button. For instance, Gerald Ford, the much maligned President and lifelong naturist – it is a little known fact that he used to wander around the White House in the buff – devoted much of his retirement to extreme sports. “Ford had a real passion for three things: wildlife, wrestling and nakedness,” says Whiblin. “After he left the White House, he regularly combined all three at his remote mountain hideaway in Colorado. In the late 1970s, hardly a weekend would go by when he wasn’t involved in some kind of nude wrestling contest with a wild bear.” In front of specially invited guests, Ford would regularly take on ursine opposition in a specially constructed arena. However, unbeaten in over a hundred contests, he started to get bored and began to turn his attention to ever more exotic wildlife opponents. “It was like a menagerie up there sometimes,” recalls the historian. “He once punched out an elephant with a single blow! Then there was the time he had a no-holds grappling match with an eagle. That bird damn near got the better of him, knocking him to the ground with its wings before sinking its claws and beak into his abdomen and pulling out lengths of intestine!” Despite his horrendous injuries, the former President was able to turn the tables, head butting the giant predatory bird before breaking its neck whilst it was still stunned. After emergency medical treatment and several months of painful recovery, Ford was back in the arena. “He was never quite the same, though,” says Whiblin. “His sights were set much lower and he tended to concentrate on the smaller fauna with stuff like otter boxing. He once persuaded former Vice President Spiro Agnew to join him in a tag team match against a pack of ravenous weasels, though. Agnew nearly lost the match for them, he was screaming like a baby and would have submitted when the weasels had him on the canvas – luckily Ford managed to tag him and beat the little bastards to death!” Not only was it necessary for the Secret Service to keep news of Ford’s activities from becoming public – for fear of a backlash from conservationists – but, as he grew older, they found themselves having to take measures to ensure his safety. “He was wrestling well into his eighties,” says Whiblin. “But by then his reflexes and eyesight were going. So, unbeknownst to the former President, the Secret Service ensured that he only faced geriatric and sick animals in the arena – lions with no teeth, mangy wolves and gorillas with gout, that sort of thing.”
Rather than looking across the Atlantic, Tony Blair could instead seek inspiration for his retirement from some of his own predecessors at Number Ten. Whilst most former Prime Ministers have been content to spend their declining years tending their roses, there have been a few notable exceptions. Former Tory Premier Ted Heath was alleged to have pursued his ambition to play every Cathedral organ in the UK with his todger. “He used to jokingly refer to it as his ‘organ pipe’, and invite ladies to blow it at parties,” says veteran political commentator Charles Flange. “He was quite proficient with it musically – he used to practice playing his old upright at home to the early hours when he was preparing for his organ marathon. It wasn’t just the classics like Bach that he could play with it on the organ, he often delighted audiences with renditions of popular tunes like the theme from The Sting.” One of Heath’s predecessors, Harold Macmillan, retired to his ancestral home, where he cultivated a huge cannabis farm, eventually becoming one the UK’s leading suppliers. “Everybody assumes that the Lords are all senile because they never seem to quite know where they are and have trouble stringing together a sentence. The truth is that they’re all stoned out of their minds,” chuckles Flange. “Macmillan himself was always influential in making out sure that, during his lifetime, cannabis wasn’t legalised. He wanted to be able to keep his prices up.” Mrs Thatcher, of course, was never able to get used to not running a country. Her withdrawal symptoms got so bad that her son tried to acquire a new country for her via an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea. Returning to the question in hand: what is Tony Blair going to do with himself when he steps down as PM in a few weeks time? Will he wrestle wild animals, become a flasher in Hyde Park or deal dope? Sadly, the ravages of time and stress have taken their toll on his once boyish features, probably ruling out a post-Prime Ministerial career as a rent boy. However, there are strong rumours that devout Christian Blair is planning to devote his life to missionary work, risking life and limb spread the ‘Good Word’ to the savage natives of Britain’s inner cities. Even now, the cannibals of Moss Side are rumoured to be preparing their cooking pots for his visit.