No, it really didn't mean anything, the Foreign Office official told David Miliband. "They do things like this all the time, Foreign Secretary," he soothed. "We've got good relations with Argentina. Nothing to worry about." It was the day after the Argentinian President had issued a Presidential decree forcing all shipping to get prior permission before entering Argentinian waters adjacent to the Falkland Islands. But as usual, the Foreign Office was worrying too much about appeasing potential enemies.
The First Secretary of State's political nostrils twitched, sniffing a political opportunity. "Get me Lady Thatcher on the phone," Lord Mandelson yelled to his private secretary.
LATER THAT AFTERNOON
"Adam, get over to Number Ten, something's afoot," shouted the Sky News producer. "We've just had a tipoff." This was why Adam Boulton loved 24 hour news. You never quite knew what was going to happen next.
Fifteen minutes later, the crimson Daimler entered Downing Street. It was nearly twenty years since the occupant of the luxury car had left in tears. As the car glided over the security grids, the memories came flooding back and her eyes moistened. As the car came to a stop, Lady Thatcher's private detective opened the door for her, and at the same time, the door to Number Ten opened, as if by magic. As Lady Thatcher exited the car the flash bulbs went off, creating an effect of sheet lightning. "Lady Thatcher," shouted Adam Boulton. "What's going on, why are you here?" "Are you back for good," screamed Paul from the BBC News Channel. As questions continued to be shouted, Lady Thatcher turned to the cameras, smiled, waved and said something which the microphones couldn't quite pick up. To the policeman guarding the door to Number Ten it sounded very much like "rejoice".
Prime Minister Gordon Brown emerged from the darkness of Number Ten grinning as if his life depended on it. Shaking his predecessor but two warmly by the hand, he guided her over the threshold and into the building which she had lived in for eleven and a half years.
"Well that's got them wondering, Prime Minister," said Lady Thatcher softly. "Let's get down to business." As they sat down on a sofa in the Prime Ministerial study, Gordon Brown proceeded to outline the overt and private threats being made by Buenos Aires. "I'd value your opinion," he told the woman whose Premiership was defined by the victory in the Falklands. "Be firm, don't go wobbly. Take no notice of the Foreign Office. They're quislings," spat Lady Thatcher. "Send some ships South so they are in no doubt that we mean what we say."
They talked for a further twenty minutes before being interrupted by Brown's two sons, who had been encouraged by their mother to say hello to the woman their father had spent a decade opposing throughout the 1980s.
TEN THIRTY PM THAT NIGHT
Lord Mandelson was purring. "Alastair, is that you?" he murmered into his iPhone. "Good pics on the Ten, eh? The Iron Lady and the Iron Man. Will go down very well in Basildon, don't you think?"
"Very good. Very good indeed," came the reply.
"Now what you need to do is get some info on the Argentinian military capability. See how quickly they could launch weapons against the Falklands. Can't take them more than 45 minutes, I wouldn't have thought. See what Mi6 can find out."
"Good thinking, Alastair. Missing you already," slithered the Dark Lord. "We might need to make more of your services if things go according to plan. Let's keep in close touch."
And so it came to pass. Within a week, Gordon Brown had mobilised what remains of the Royal Navy and despatched it south. It was hardly comparable to the task force of 28 years previously, but it would probably do the trick.
And three days later, Brown called an election. He wasn't quite dressed in Khaki, but he might as well have been.