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The Prince

The K Hole visits a self-appointed nobleman, desperate to stop a revolution.

A warm breeze swept in from the Arno, it was scented with a delicate night jasmine and filtered in through his shuttered windows. He stood wearing curial robes. In one hand he tightly held onto a book whilst with the other he gripped the top of his curved iron balcony. He looked balefully out onto the empty square. The coppery chimes from the palazzi provided the soft mid-night hands that cupped his thoughts.

There were murmurs of discontent in Florence. The professional classes and the ordinary people would have to be quickly convinced of his reforms before rumour turned into civil unrest. He needed to give them the impression that they were listened to.

Full of uncertainty he stepped back into the room and caught his reflection in the candle-light. He was black velvet and a thin petering edge of gold.

With rose bud renaissance lips he began to speak to himself.

'I will make decisions that will affect the well-being of all of my subjects and I will do this by only consulting those who are closest to me. To engage and empower others will lead to my own destruction. I will resist all threats to my sole authority and surround myself by those in my favour. Only those who agree with me and pledge their total and devout allegiance shall be counselled. And like a spider on her web I will sense all those who are against me.'

In defiance he held up his book, it was written in Latin: The Prince and The Art of War.

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen

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