KEITH NEWBERY When fact can be even stranger than fiction...

The following scene is set about three months ago during a script conference for the next series of the political satire, The Thick of It.

Producer: “Right! What outlandish scenarios have you lot come up with this time?”

Writer 1 (tentatively): “Well, what if loads of people are shot and killed during a revolution to depose a dictator in a Muslim country – Egypt for example.”

Writer 2: Yeah. As if!”

Writer 1: “And no sooner has the shooting died down than our prime minister visits the country a week later – accompanied by a load of arms dealers looking for business.”

Producer: “Come on! I know this is a spoof we’re writing here, but we can’t make it too ridiculous.”

Writer 2 (sneering): “Why don’t we make it totally farcical and have an uprising in Libya a few days later, during which Gaddafi uses weapons bought from us to gun down his own people!

“And while this is going on, our prime minister comes out and says in all seriousness how much he condemns the violence.”

Writer 1: “There’s no need to be silly. It was just an idea...”

Art and life have long since given up imitating each other when it comes to politics, because the boundaries between them are now thoroughly blurred.

We have no idea at this early stage of his premiership what David Cameron has in mind when it comes to a personal legacy.

It may not be something which troubles him unduly, because there was a time when prime ministers placed far more importance on what they were achieving than in how they would be remembered.

But the vainglorious Tony Blair changed all that.

He set about deliberately constructing a persona for himself that he hoped would be enshrined forever in the history books – and the one he had in mind was Tony the Peacemaker (complete with halo).

However, the image became stained by his decision to take this country into an illegal war in Iraq, for which he may yet have to face the consequences.

Now his shameful embrace (both physical and metaphorical) of the Libyan madman Gaddafi a few years ago will show him up once and for all as someone whose judgement and motives were not merely suspect, but thoroughly shameful.