The name game

There’s a meeting of the world’s most important leaders, and Rishi has been invited along, too


This article is taken from the June 2024 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

“Have you seen my tie?” asks Rishi. “The thin one.” Akshata is helping Rishi pack for his trip to Italy. There’s a meeting of some of the world’s most important leaders, and he has been invited along, too.

“Darling,” says Akshata, “I don’t understand why you’re so bothered. You hate all foreign events.”

“I do,” says Rishi, “but it’s a dangerous world out there, and I’ve realised that only I can keep the nation safe.”

“That’s right!” says Rishi’s new friend Ric, who is sitting in the corner, fiddling with his phone. “Not like Sir Fears Harmer.”

Akshata makes a face. Last night she asked Rishi why Ric has to come round so much, but Rishi said he liked having him here “because he explains how I’m going to win. No one else tells me that”.

Mainly Ric comes up with rude nicknames for people Rishi doesn’t like

I don’t know exactly what Ric’s job is. It’s something to do with party chairs, which I think is one of the games the girls play. Mainly he comes up with rude nicknames for people Rishi doesn’t like. That and put on funny voices when he makes phone calls, like he’s doing now: “Is that Islington Police? I’d like to report my neighbour, a Sir K Starmer, for putting out paper recycling on a plastics day. My name? It’s … um … ” Ric looks around wildly. “Mr Bed Carpet.” He hangs up.

Akshata rolls her eyes and changes the subject. “Who else is going to be there?”

“Justin Trudeau.”

“Smoothy-chops who thinks he’s God’s gift,” Ric mutters under his breath, without looking up from his phone.

“Joe Biden.”

“I’m boring, vote for me,” Ric whispers.


“Tiny technocrat.”

“Giorgia Meloni is the host, of course.”

“Keeps talking about immigration, can’t control it.”

“Ric, would you stop this,” Rishi says. “You can’t just sit there attacking our allies.”

Ric looks horrified. “Oh, I wasn’t talking about them,” he says. “I was just reading something.” Rishi grabs Ric’s phone and looks at it. “This is one of Isaac’s focus group reports,” he says. “Why wasn’t I shown this?”

“Well, we didn’t want to … ”

“All these terrible things people are saying,” Rishi says. “Everyone really does hate Starmer.”

“Oh … yes! It’s about Starmer. Yes.”

Akshata hands Ric back his phone and smiles at Rishi. “Enjoy Italy, darling.”

Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print

Try five issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £10

Critic magazine cover