It’s been a few years since David Miliband and I locked horns over Iraq when he was in Tony Blair’s cabinet, and I was editor of the Daily Mirror. More recently, we were both forced to f lee Br itain to seek gainful employment in New York — away from the treacherous individuals who betrayed us and broke our hearts. In his case, brother Ed. In mine, Robin van Persie.
David’s just started work in New York running a refugee charity, and we were reunited at a private Manhattan dinner for John McCain, the US senator and former presidential candidate. He seemed relaxed and genuinely upbeat about his unlikely new career and life path.
But as the fine wine flowed, and we verbally jousted once more over big global issues like Syria and the US government shutdown, I saw an intelligent, eloquent, passionate man still at the top of his political game, searing ambition only temporarily thwarted. If I were Ed Miliband, I’d watch my back.
Because in this real-life movie, I’ve got a sneaking feeling David will turn out to be Michael Corleone, and Ed will be… Fredo.
‘I had been duped, conned and exposed as a global laughing stock – and not for the first time’
he joined Twitter. I knew it was definitely him because his account was verified to me personally by his former international team- mate, ex Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
A tweet Bergkamp and the official Arsenal account instantly retweeted — removing even the tiniest scintilla of doubt from my always- sceptical mind. I thus gleefully spent the morning honouring King Dennis by posting clips of his greatest goals, as thousands of other Arsenal fans rushed to follow him, just as we’d followed Bergkamp like dizzy- eyed disciples during his decade of trophyguzzling glory.
I even urged my three sons to get involved. And then, suddenly, Dennis Bergkamp’s account was suspended. Gone. Defunct. MIA.
Minutes later, Edwin van der Sar tweeted again: ‘Okay, sorry for the confusion and misunderstanding, but account of Dennis Bergkamp is fake!’ Fake? FAKE???? Yes Piers, fake. I’d been duped, conned and exposed as a global laughing stock. (‘Not the first time,’ I hear you cry…) Now, I don’t care when Twitter trolls abuse me for everything from my hideous looks to inane stupidity.
But when some despicably meanspirited little twerp makes me think my hero is back in my life, then they cross a line.
I’m going to find that faker if it’s the last thing I ever do on God’s Earth. I’ll drag him to Nelson’s Column and tie him to the top of it wearing nothing but a Spurs shirt.
He’ll thus experience the only greater humiliation possible. I spent the morning doing the rounds of US TV shows promoting my new book, Shooting Straight. During one, I was asked my views on Madonna being banned from a cinema chain for texting during a movie about slavery, a new scientific claim that women get more aroused sexually with breast implants, and how it is female celebrities get back in shape after a baby faster than ‘normal’ women. To which my answers were: 1) Madonna should be banned from being Madonna. It’s over.
2) No man I have ever spoken to prefers women with fake breasts.
3) I have an increasingly serious conspiracy theory that many female stars give birth at least a month before they say they have… allowing them to miraculously get back into shape in record time.