The last line of defense

The prime minister had enemies. Lots of enemies. Powerful enemies. Dangerous enemies. Enemies that could and would go the distance. The kinds of enemies that are not your friends.

But as Plato said: it is not your friends that teaches you to build high walls.

So he built the best wall of them all.

He named his successor, in no uncertain terms, and declared that if anything untoward were to happen, the successor would step in, effective immediately, with full ministerial authority. Which, to be sure, is how it usually goes, but know this: the appointed successor was the kind of person no one wanted in charge of anything, at all, ever, at any point in time. No one.

Including the aforementioned enemies.

Over the next few months, things changed. The prime minister at one point discovered his health care plan had been upgraded. The meals he ate at state functions and lobby lunches became five notches healthier. Every gym, spa and retreat found indirect ways of letting him know that his future payments would default to “on the house”. And somehow, by some feat of magic, there always seemed to be an available seat whenever he rode public transit.

Things improved. In many subtle ways.

Sometimes, the best defense is a good enemy.

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