REGGIE large


Subject:        Conspiracies and Betrayal

Dear Dessie,

I saw you only briefly in the division lobby last night over the chaos involving the European Arrest Warrant.  It was a case of the old army expression: “knickers on, knickers off”.  You have to have sympathy for Mrs May, who was well and truly humbugged by the Speaker and the diving and weaving of Mrs Ed Balls.  Of course, much of the trouble with our people could have been avoided if the Arrest Warrant had not been European!

Not good for the morale of troops to see the Whips in full panic mood, and the PM having to rush back from some City knees-up in white tie.  So as not to be filmed by the reptiles, he had a boat cloak over his head – and would have got away with it if that clot Hayes hadn’t shouted out: “Make way for the Prime Minister”.  You then rushed off to catch a Crab Air flight to Belize, and will miss the bloody debrief today.  Suspect some members of the Cabinet will be getting an interview without coffee in the bunker.

Like you, I did the usual round of Remembrance Sunday events with a large turn out and a jolly good booze up in the British Legion Club.  That’s what the veterans like.  I wasn’t impressed by UKIP’s Regional Gauleiter laying a wreath with his Party’s sign in the middle.  Nor were the vets – they hate all politicians without exception, although mine make me the exception!

There is still some fallout from the Away Day.  I don’t know why the powers that be insist on having a cabaret during the dinner.  It is always toe-curlingly embarrassing, and this year’s was no exception, with Alan Duncan going totally OTT.  It reminds me of an all ranks smoker in Fallingbostel in 1982, when the second in command dressed up in drag as Marlene Dietrich and sang “Underneath the lamp light” before kissing the divisional general.  Big mistake as “Killer Watkins” wasn’t into that kind of malarkey, but then few engineers are in my experience – mad, married, and Methodist.

Thank God for the opposition, and in that I include our Coalition partners.  All that brouhaha over N. Baker’s resignation – I’d forgotten actually he was a minister.  As for poor little Miliband he’s a no-hoper, and the only thing that saves him is the Labour Party’s arcane electoral system, the incompetence of plotters who wish to tip him over board, and the favoured candidate A Johnson – very sensibly in my opinion – refusing to come under starter’s orders.

Of course I hear a lot of Labour info from some of my old friends on the opposite side of the Chamber over a convivial beaker of the amber fluid.  I sometimes meet them in the snug bar of that new hostelry near the MOD, “The Nest of Vipes” – much frequented by reptiles from the Press Gallery.

Last week, I happened to be buying a round when I saw a whole gaggle of hacks gathered round a table – all the cream of their profession: Simon Walters, Andrew Pierce, Kevin Maguire, Isabel Oakeshott, et al.  They had the Chancellor’s moggie Freya on the table, and had been feeding her brandy and soda whilst Allegra Stratton of the Beeb appeared to be moving a hair dryer over her.  As it turned out it was a metal detector – young Stratton having read Archaelogy at university – and the hacks were trying to establish whether Freya had been bugged.

As I said to George Osborne later, to hell with the row over the EU rebate. The real story for the reptiles was the claim that Freya had been rusticated to an unknown billet.  Rumours about her demise were sweeping the watering holes of Westminster.  I reminded him of the occasion when it was rumoured that Cherie Blair had dropped the Number 10 cat Humphrey down a lift shaft.  Alastair Campbell said it was one of the worst weeks he’d ever endured.  I reminded young Osborne that there were eight million cat owners in the country, all with the vote – and judging by Lady Mary’s incandescent reaction to the demise of Freya, not good news for the marginals.

The Chancellor explained that Freya had had to go for her own safety – always wandering across Whitehall and had been knocked over.  Be that as it may, I fear the noble mog did not get on with the Osborne new dog, a Bichon Frise, which I think is a French poodle, and certainly is not an officer-like dog.  Soames is inclined to believe the rumour that, when Freya went missing for two years when we were in opposition, the Chinese snatched her and filled her full of electronic listening devices – hence her track record of being found in the FCO briefing room, COBRA and the Cabinet Room.  “It seems to me, Reggie – and I speak for the boys in White’s – that the Chinese have snatched her back for a debrief – shades of Kim Philby”.

Did I tell you that Bill Cash had cornered me in the Library – I had just settled down for a post prandial bit of Egyptian P T.  Bill tells me he has just finished his memoirs “My Hundred Years War”, or was it “My Thirty Years War?”?  Anyway, he goes into dozens of meetings of the No Turning Back Group and every EU Scrutiny Committee.  I did gently suggest to him that it might need editing.

There are a lot of very rum coves now putting on the ermine in the Other Place.  I hear from one of our old buffers that a newly ennobled peeress is seeking a franchise for a Parliamentary Nail Bar and Tattoo Parlour.  Should get plenty of custom, and that’s just from our side.

God alone knows, Dessie, you and I do our best for the good of the Party, but it seems any Johnny came lately whippersnapper is now a “Tory Grandee” or “Knight of the Shires”.  The good news is that the public, bless them, have rather taken against youth and, with a bit of luck, those of us in the autumn years of our life may do a Churchill in our country’s hour of need.  Standby for Ken Clarke’s recall to the colours.

Yours till the next memorial service,