Go straight in. He is expecting you Herr Speer. The guard motioned me down some more steps and into the Bunker Room, where the former Chancellor had recently taken to staying at all hours of the day or night.
"Well Herr Speer. You have visited the city?" he asked.
"Yes Sir. I have come from there directly"
"And.. it is as bad as those fleeing attest?"
I hesitated. But he had to be told.
"It is worse."
The great leader flinched. He balled his left fist. It was clearly shaking He held it behind his back.
"Tell me" he asked, his voice soft in the cold cement room.
"A swing of to the Conservatives. The majority is completely gone."
The leader never moved. Never made a sound.
I continued. " The Labour candidate has fallen. 7500 vote swing to the tory party. There is enormous shock in the constituency. Supporters are fleeing in their thousands. They fear that the Tories will come back"
"Hmm" he murmured "What was the turnout? Barely 55 %. We can improve it. You must have faith."
"Another six defeats like that and there will be no way to continue. All will be lost. They will come at us again. I cannot promise that we will be able to stop them."
Then he came forward, around the large desk, and took me by the arm. His face was troubled. A tick made his eyelid flicker and the corner of his mouth twitched badly. he looked ill and under grat stress.
But then he straightened himself up. A thin smile touched his lips.
"You will fix it Speer. You always have."
"Sir,"I began.. but he raised his hand to cut me off.
"You will fix it. I can count on you."
Then he took me by the arm again and we walked to another table. His favourite model displayed.
"Look Speer. You should forget this matter, and concentrate on this. Look what we can achieve."
We looked at the architectural models laid out on the display.
"Here, a road through our Capital. Taking the delegates to the Olympic Stadium. This giant structure.. a symbol of our power. here the swimming complex. Here, the balcony. I will be addressing the people..and all the people of the world from here. Build it for me Speer. You have whatever funds you may need."
I could not stand idle any longer.
"The price of materials is rising. There is no money! Even bread.. the price rises daily. Fuel ? Where am I to get fuel to run the trucks.. "
"You will do it Speer. I trust you. do not worry. We have new ideas. we launch these ideas every Monday into our opponent's camp. New ideas, new methods and policies. it will improve, you will see."
There was no point. he was not really listening. I tried another tack.
"There is a delegation here. They were in Crewe and Nantwich. They have worked tirelessly. They want to see you. They want you to visit the place. Will you meet them?"
"Let Ed see them. Don't worry about it Speer. You will fix it for me."
I walked to the door. As I laid my hand on the handle I said
"They will come for Henley next. We can't stop them at Henley with 'Toff talk'. even the Police are talking about leaving their posts. We need real policies and an economic miracle. Can't you at least do something about the Fuel duty? Its gone up 25% this year alone. A 20% reduction for hauliers and transport companies. It will help slow rising prices..it .." But he wasn't listening. Instead he rounded on me.
"Do not doubt our ultimate victory. We have high flying policies. They won't catch those. We can launch 20 new initiatives a day. They will never match that kind of production. "Tory Toffs" was just the start. We can mass produce hundreds of attacks like that every week. And soundbites. I have them being made even now. We still have the finest PR in the world. Our propaganda is the best there has ever been.
Henley..Who cares about it. We can always drive south again. Rural areas. What use are they? Once we have regrouped we will come back and take what we want again.
Tomorrow I will begin a cull. I will sack those who failed me.
Then... A relaunch. A major campaign to be begun. I will target the environment again. Green issues. This will raise taxes too. Wind tax maybe? Some form of 'wasting energy' tax at any rate.
Enough. Go Now. It will all be alright tomorrow."
I left him.
But as I climbed the stairs to the outside world, a cold, hard world, I heard the sirens begin to wail all over the city.