From : Reggie@toptory.lidl.com
Subject : The Weakest Link
Well, this has been a roller coaster of a week, with the polls showing gridlock between us and Miliband’s crew – apart from the SNP who seem to be positioning themselves to p**s all over the parade of the brothers and sisters.
I am tapping this out late on Tuesday evening, as Lady Mary has gone over to see the grandchildren. I understand from your people that you have gone to an aid conference in Glasgow – for God’s sake, we’re not handing out more dosh to the Jocks, are we? It must have been a white knuckle flight from that funny little airfield at Winchfield in Wing Commander (RAFVR) Sir Gerald Howarth MP’s Fieseler Storch – last seen flying over our brave troops in Normandy circa 1944!
I meant to ask you when we had the convivial drink at “The Whistling Leper” on Monday what you made of this chap Tim Montgomerie – no relation to the Field Marshal I assume? – who is something of a God-botherer and has launched this movement called “The Good Right”. That assumes there must have been a “Bad Right”, and if so are you and I members? I don’t know why all these chaps who write articles, pamphlets and blogs don’t just say: “We’re Tories”. I admit the punters seem to have a low opinion of our massed ranks, whilst liking D.Cameron.
On that subject, you can imagine what a shock it was here in the Palace of Varieties when we heard it told by that nice gent from the Beeb ,young James Landale – an OE of course – that, unlike Maggie, DC wasn’t seeking a third term after 2020! Rather undermines the PM’s authority, as when “Bubbles” Carruthers told the Blues and Royals that he wasn’t serving out his full tour as CO – consequence a nasty needle match between the senior officers resulting in some techi from the Tanks being appointed over their heads.
I can’t make out whether this was a cunning, calculated move, or just a natural cock up? I understand from my snout at No 10 that the “Jolly Swag Man” (a.k.a Lynton Crosby) had a seizure on hearing the news, and spent 24 hours in one of those restraining units. Mind you, the PM has now fired the starting gun on the succession, and how wise to mention only three possible successors – May, Osborne and Boris. You would have laughed to see the confusion in the lobby last night as those who considered themselves eligible for the contest – Fox, Paterson, Javid, Truss, Afryie just to name a few – were either outraged or beginning to smoke out support or both. Several no-hopers (no names, no pack drill) approached me desperately wanting to address the Pale, Male and Stale dinner.
Of course Lady Mary is very critical of DC – lecturing me about his duty to carry on, serve the Party and the Country, noblesse oblige and stiff upper lip. Between you and me, I think it’s a miracle he wanted to do another tour in the trenches.
When you look round the political landscape, it appears that sitting MPs and candidates in all the political parties are falling out like plague victims. Soames bent my ear over the weekend saying “Reggie – and I think I speak for all the boys in Pratts – why aren’t we looking to put Jeremy Clarkson into one of our safe seats? The punters like him, and all the skeletons in his cupboard are in the public domain”. I said I’d pass it on to Osborne, who decides these matters.
Well, the last week of this Parliament, and the atmosphere is like the end of term at school or college. Some of our younger colleagues have started to lay claims to better offices, and two young thrusters came into mine and began measuring up the curtains until I told them to bugger off. Many salaams and apologies as they assumed given my seniority (i.e: age) that I was for the parliamentary nursing home. Bloody cheek.
As an officer of the 1922 I attended a leavers party held at the Carlton Club – entitled “Au Reservoir” (shades of Mapp and Lucia!) I arrived early to have a noggin with the Club Secretary, and discovered the booze was a “Fruit Punch” (more punch than fruit) in giant soup bowls borrowed from the Cavalry/Guards Club.
Cringe, the Club bar steward, had already laced it with vodka and retsina and I was horrified to see those two old tipplers Colonel Bob and Bromley Bob adding litre battles of slivovitz to “give it a kick”. I kept on whisky and soda whilst all the dear departed got stuck into this witches brew ,with the consequences you and I are all too familiar with from numerous All Ranks New Year’s Eve Parties – bodies everywhere in the prone and unsupported position.
The PM was unable to attend (how wise) and was represented by that strange cove called Hayes who is the minister who runs motorway service stations and is a general factotum at Number 10. He tried to make a speech quoting Shakespeare and Dickens before he was dragged off the stage by the mob – who were seriously tired and emotional – and dumped in a wheelie bin outside. I slipped away before some passing tourist called the Old Bill or took photos.
You will have noticed that the media are making a meal of the lying in state and eventual burial of Richard the Third – a lot of fuss over a royal thug who had few redeeming features. Did you see on the box how Leicester’s Very Own People’s Rep, one Keith Vaz, played a prominent role at the ceremonies?
You have to hand it to KV: he has massive chutzpah and no embarrassment or false modesty when it comes to self-promotion. He said that a branch of his family had traded in the Holy Land and became financial advisers to the Plantagenets. One of his ancestors called Vis (I am not making this up) did confidential work for Richard the Third.
How, you might ask did this Vis survive the death of the aforesaid monarch? Because, according to our Keith V, he fortuitously happened to be with the Stanley family on the morning of the Battle of Bosworth, who changed sides, and the rest they say is history! According to KV, Vis then swore eternal loyalty to Welsh Henry – who confiscated 90 per cent of his wealth but allowed him to have a stall on Leicester Market and, eventually, chair the Watch Committee! All told with a twinkle in his eye!
I understand you won’t be back from the Land of the Haggis until after we have pulled stumps. I think we will need natural breaks during the course of the campaign and I enclose a list of dates and hostelries where we might usefully RV.
Yours till our declarations,