Subject: Away at the races
I am sorry that you cannot get a “compassionate leave” ticket from the Whips to attend the Cheltenham races. I suppose someone has to man the front bench whilst colleagues are knocking up in their constituencies or digging the latest tunnel to freedom. I see that the great trencherman Stephen O’Brien has landed some top UN job for dispensing largesse. At least he knows what he is talking about, unlike some of these international quango wallahs. He tells me he has been inundated with text requests from parliamentary aspirants wanting the low down on his Eddisbury seat.
Talking of seats, Soames and I had to laugh at the gnashing of teeth and wailing as a consequence of M. Rifkind standing down at Kensington. You and I know what a snake pit of ambitious thrusters make up the younger membership of that Association, and many had calculated that Sir M R would stand down in 2020 so they could safely fight a hopeless seat this year. Consequence: not available for this month’s selection – ho, ho, ho!
Of course CCHQ can now draw up a short list of six hopefuls who will go before the selectorate. Last Friday, all those rushing to apply had to submit a CV to the Party Chairman on the lines of “Why I would make a good Conservative MP for Kensington”. One thing for sure is that some members of the Association will want some flamboyant creature guaranteed to be a Cabinet minister in twelve months.
Talking of CCHQ, have you seen their “Candidates Guide for Successful Electioneering”? I thought this was a spoof until I checked with the Whips. It had such helpful tips as “What to wear out canvassing” – jeans and an open necked shirt for men and a shell suit for women. “What not to wear” – blazer and red trousers for men (that disposes of Soames and your humble servant) and for women twin set and pearls.
Mind you, if we think our people come up with some bizarre ideas, have you seen the latest from one of Labour’s Eagle twins? All about bad behaviour in the Chamber with the Speaker (not biased of course) establishing a “sin bin” for Members who shout and use inappropriate language. Apart from the fact that it’s got nothing to do with this Eagle woman, she needs to look no further than her own front bench – Balls and Dugher – to see real rough trade.
If the electorate decide to renew our licenses in May we face the prospect of living in a building site or being resettled to Milton Keynes. The engineers can no longer prop up the buildings which we held together by hot air and rat sh*t. It will be like the war when we spent some time in Church House – good for the soul I suppose.
You will have seen how the management apparatchiki who now run our Mother of Parliaments have decided to replace the EPNS Portcullis-stamped cutlery with stainless steel from the land of the Rising Sun. All to save money because so much is nicked and it costs a fortune to keep clean. As Soames said to me: “Reggie, the boys in the bar at White’s were horrified at this lowering of standards – whatever next, KFC to run the dining rooms?”
Yesterday evening, I had Colonel Bob of Bosnia fame grab me in the bar to confide his fears about the new cameras in the Chamber. It appears there have been complaints that the current cameras are too high up, and show bald patches and cleavages of many members. I know – just don’t go there! Colonel Bob is worried that “foreign powers” (I suppose he means the French) will be able to listen in on confidential conversations. More likely watch colleagues viewing inappropriate images on their ipads – like that suppressive blog Guido Fawkes.
Like you, I was disappointed with last week’s “Stale, Male and Pale” dinner at the Bromley Legion Hall. I didn’t think Sajid Javid got into the spirit of the occasion – which was the punters attending quizzing him for his leadership potential, and not him interviewing us as potential long-term unemployed.
I am tapping this out in the wee small hours of the morning as Lady Mary returned after midnight – somewhat tired and emotional – and woke up the Jack Russells who in turn did me the favour. She had been attending a “casual but influential” wine and cheese party for our female MPs, and she had been invited as Honorary President of “Wimmin to Win 2015”. I suspect that some laddish lady like Anna Soubry or Caroline Nokes had slipped a mickey finn into the Chateau Thames Valley. I shall exit the marital home before Lady M emerges from her alcoholic stupor.
I hope you will be attending the Press Gallery drinks next week in “The Nest of Vipers”. We are relying upon you to keep up the reputation of the Party in your magnificent rendering of Zulu Warrior.
Yours till lights out,