Britain is preparing to host a joint state visit in September from two religious men convinced of their own infallibility and who refuse to make a public apology for their actions, his holiness Tony Blair and Pope Benedict XVI.
‘Look, it just makes sense to combine the two visits,’ said Mr Blair, ‘we are both Catholics, we both have books to promote and we both need protecting from an angry public.’
‘The Holy Father is delighted to be sharing his visit to the UK with Mr Blair,’ said a Vatican representative, ‘It will make a pleasant change for him to travel with someone who manages to be even more unpopular than him.’
The state visit, already dubbed ‘The Guilt and Redemption Tour’, will see the holy duo travel the nation in a specially adapted Popemobile, waving at the crowds from behind the safety of bulletproof glass.
Mr Blair and Pope Benedict will appear at venues around the country preaching to their followers and promoting their books, A Journey and A Bible. Both works have been heavily panned by the critics who describe them as ‘a shameless rewriting of history,’ ‘self-serving twaddle’ and ‘little more than a made-up fairy tale’.
Mr Blair has, however, promised to donate the proceeds of his book to charity, something that the Catholic Church has yet to do with the bible.
As part of his visit the Pope will travel to Birmingham to preside over the beatification of Cardinal Newman. Meanwhile Mr Blair will travel to Waterstones to preside over the beatification of himself. In true Catholic tradition Mr Blair will be charging £150 for signed copies of his book, seen by many as an indulgence.
'The combined visit will save the taxpayer millions in terms of police protection,’ said Home Secretary Theresa May, ‘it should also confuse protestors who won’t know who to hurl abuse at first.’
However some activists are looking forward to the visit. ‘This is a great opportunity,’ said professional protestor Peter Tatchell, ‘with a bit of luck I might get to make two citizen’s arrests in one day.’
The Pope-Blair visit will culminate in an open air mass in which each man will pray for the forgiveness of the other. ‘This is the nearest that people will ever get to see either man make a public apology,’ said tour press secretary Alastair Campbell, adding ‘we might do God but we don’t do sorry.’