From : Reggie@toptory.lidl.com
Subject : Hacking and Gender Neutral Loos
How did you draw the short straw to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate on Sunday? I saw the film footage and thought you were very smartly turned out, if a trifle upstaged by the Belgian reanactment team dressed in British Army uniforms of WWI and the Sea Scout Band from Frinton. I suppose you were in Brussels attending one of your overseas aid conferences and were the nearest Brit minister.
Yours truly was on parade in the constituency, and took the salute at the march past at the War Memorial with the local mayor, a rather scruffy Lib Dem Councillor. The veterans were in high spirits, literally, as they had had a few warmers into the bank at “The Old Contemptibles” hostelry down the road. Lady Mary led the contingent of women’s organisations which made the Grossdeutschland Division look like a bunch of fairies.
I see that Brother Corbyn was on parade at the Cenotaph, and apart from an inadequate nod was reasonably turned out. And his suit will fit nicely after a second fitting. He must have been fuming after General Nick Houghton dumped all over his nuclear stance at that chap Marr’s chat-in. He was lucky not to have been given the bird as the veterans marched past.
You may not have noticed, but the Sunday before last Soames and I participated in the London to Brighton car rally. It involved dressing up in Edwardian clobber – Soames looked like Mr Toad whilst your humble servant had a passing resemblance to Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey.
We were the guests of “Sticky” Harvester, who made a mint in the City, before retiring to the Dorchester where we RV’d for a champagne breakfast. Soames and I were loaded into the back of his 1910 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, with adequate spiritual supplies – and off we kangarooed, driven by Scrotum his driver/mechanic. The Rolla stalled at Westminster Bridge, but Soames persuaded a group of passing tourists – in a mixture of Guardee, restaurant Chinese and pidgin French – to give us a push.
I remember very little of the drive down, apart from passing a broken down charabanc full of feisty Labour wimmin MPs, including that outspoken feminist Jess Phillips who gave us a right earful. Then late lunch with our Brighton MP Simon Kirby in a very exotic restaurant called “The Dancing Queens” – and the end to a perfect day.
I didn’t see you at the World Rugby Final – Soames and I had been invited to the VIP box by “Bimbo” Latham – you will recall he had to resign his commission after that trouble with the mess funds. Several colleagues enjoying hospitality, including our colleague Philip Davies, the Shipley Strangler.
Considerable liquid assets were consumed, and by the end of the match the Aussies were tearful and over refreshed. One began a contretemps with the said P Davies who, with the subtlety of an air raid, said he understood the Australian accent was due to all their forebears, who were south London convicts, being permanently “Brahmed and Liszt” in the bush and hence slurred the old speech. If it hadn’t been for “Colonel” Simpson’s son George – who was moonlighting earning some extra lolly running the bar – there might have been blood on the turf. George S shoved large flutes of shampoo into their hands and proposed a toast to all the defeated nations. Not a dry seat in the box. Soames slipped him £20 as a thank you.
You know Dessie, I try my best to keep up the morale of our colleagues, but I do wonder at times about their common sense. Take young James Cleverly, late of HMG’s armed forces, who in radio interview admitted to taking the occasional recreational drug, to getting rat-arsed on various potions, and to watching adult moving pictures on the internet. Now Reggie, I hear you say, perhaps those without sin should cast the first stone or words to that effect, but it sets a dangerous precedent for inquisitorial reptiles interviewing the rest of us.
Then we had that old trooper James Gray, who represents the good burghers of Wiltshire, write an article suggesting it was a pity that MPs had to waste their time dealing with constituency work rather than great issues of national importance. Well, Dessie, I’m sure we have all thought that at one time or another, but it takes a brave – or foolish – man to articulate that in public. In fact it read like something straight out of “Yes Minister”.
Security has been much on our minds, and it comes to something when a bunch of teenagers can hack into this “Talk Talk” firm and nick all their records. I look at my teenage grandchildren and know they are capable of doing the same. I suggested to that strange cove J Hayes, so-called Minister for Security, that we recruit a regiment of teenage Cyber Counter-Warfare agents capable of defending us against the forces of darkness that threaten all Soames and I hold dear – Whites, the Turf Club, our Great Public Schools, Oxford and Cambridge and the Members’ Smoking Room.
Our Cabinet colleagues have been running around like startled grouse as the Chancellor prepares to summon them before his Committee of Public Safety to implement cuts of 40 per cent. Some have settled because its 40 per cent of bugger all in the first place or because they are ambitious little shits who hope for preferment under “Prime Minister” Osborne.
Soames and I had dinner last night with Andrew Tyrie, that rather dessicated chap who chairs the Treasury Select Committee. Threadbare suit, two cardigans and a tie that needs dry cleaning, but pretty shrewd on the old economy. We dined at Pratt’s, and all the bar flies with serious investments hovered in the background to pick up any tips. According to the said Tyrie, the Bank of England’s Monetary Board are about as accurate at forecasts as those medieval astronomers who Her Madge’s predecessors would occasionally hang, draw and quarter pour encourager les autres. As far as Soames and I could understand, Tyrie’s conclusion was KBO – “Keep Buggering On” which was Winston’s motto in the dark days of WW2.
I finish where I began – on Remembrance Sunday. As Lady Mary and I were tucking into a late lunch – homemade shepherd’s pie and spinach with some robust claret, I happened to see an article in the Sunday Times entitled “Trendy Speaker to give Commons transgender loos”. Bercow has called in some academic professor of gender studies to draw up reforms to work out “gender insensitivities”.
Now I thought Lady Mary would be in favour of this given her caustic views on Parliament as a male chauvinist bastion. Far from it: she launched into a tirade about wasting time and money on altering the loos and allowing nursing mothers to breast feed in the Chamber and Committees – “Bad for the babies and not conducive to the blood pressure of elderly male MPs, Reggie”. She made the telling point that all of this applied to MPs and not to staff: “what about the ladies in your Tea Room?”.
Of course Soames was fit to be tied down when I told him and I wound him up by saying that in future he would have to sit at gender-specific tables in the Members Dining Room and those in doubt of their sexuality could seek advice from either Dr Phillip Lee or Dr Sarah Wollaston or that old sweat in the Whips Office, Kris Hopkins, who can tell port from starboard.
So we are now on a short half-term that bears no relation to the schools. I intend visiting a few watering holes in the constituency and if you are back by Friday and intend attending the regimental sports day let us meet at “The Knackered Stud” at Warminster.
Yours till we meet in the Gender Neutral Loo!