Subject : Proud to be Out
I’m sorry that you were struck down by the Pharaoh’s Revenge after an international donor’s lunch at that curry shop off the Fulham Road. I thought you had an asbestos plumbing system, but your good lady’s description of you legging it down the road to the nearest khazi, trousers at half mast, must have been exhausting. Lucky for you that no passing reptile took photographic evidence!
Whilst you have been enjoying bed rest, imodium and lots of mineral water, things at the Palace of Varieties have been moving from farce to tragedy, or perhaps vice versa?
For the life of me, I cannot understand all this Princess Di media coverage of this chap D Bowie (who, incidentally, was a cousin of Sir Simon Burns, which explains a lot). A nation mourns – wall to wall coverage even in the so-called heavies, and golf and cricket coverage postponed on the telly. What I can’t forget was the furious reaction years ago of our local Far Eastern POW branch to said Bowie playing a Brit officer in a Jap Camp kissing the local Nip commandant – “Happy Easter T E Lawrence”? – something like that.
Comrade Corbyn and the rest of his Bolsheviks are continuing the purge of any experienced and sensible MPs and rolling out more loopy ideas. Did you see him being interviewed on the Marr Show on Sunday? His minders, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms, blame the Beeb for allowing him to say a future Labour government (in your dreams) would have Vanguard subs but no nuclear missiles. On Monday, Labour MPs were sobbing into their muesli at breakfast.
Corbyn did attempt to show his human side by admitting that he has a pussy at home whicj doesn’t have a name, but is just called “El Moggo”, which, I understand is dago for Cat. Mind you, Winston did the same with all his feline friends.
Lady Mary is in a feisty mood after the PM said that all children needed a “Tiger Mummy” who would grip and motivate them. I’m not sure our children have happy memories of their mama’s Tiggerish behaviour! Of course our generation and class do have happy memories of our nannies – daughters of the empire and capable of seeing off a panzer division with one hand tied behind their backs. Happy days.
You will have noted that the dreaded EU referendum is exciting all the usual suspects amongst colleagues and the reptiles. Of course it’s all linked to the DC succession battle. He quite naturally sent a confidential letter to all ministers on how they were to approach the EU debate (within nano seconds it had appeared on that dodgy site “Guito Forked Tongue”) or something similar. Any minister who holds a drinks party is now seen as a potential leader of either the “in” or “out” group and trailing their coat in the face of the Chancellor’s ambitions. A sure way to get given the political version of a P45.
It has given me much amusement to witness the angst of so many ambitious colleagues who are terrified of making the wrong call. The so-called “Young Guns” amongst minsters – P.Patel, S.Crabb, M.Hancock, E.Trussette – are all ducking and weaving in a strange political dance straight out of the Beeb’s adaptation of War and Peace.
Soames and I cannot make head or tail of all these rival groups on the EU referendum – Go, Vote Leave, Business for Britain, Conservatives for Britain, Leave EU, Proud to be Out etc. On the latter, Soames and I thought it was some new Conservative gay group. Bill Cash put us right having cornered us for an hour in the Members’ Dining Room.
Writing of that venue, I have to report that Soames is on a diet and aren’t we all enduring it. He now wears some contraption on his wrist that shows all the calorie intake and how many years this will add to his rackety old life. So dining with him is now like a scene from a wartime restaurant. A prawn cocktail is minus the said prawn, larks’ tongues in aspic with precious few parts of the birdie’s anatomy. When the roast beef trolley trundled past Soames sniffed the aroma and sighed, just like an old gun dog outside his kennels.
Two parliamentary occasions showed the old Mother of Assemblies at its worse. You may recall that I sit (i.e: endure) being a member of the Chairman’s Liaison Committee in my capacity as Chairman of the House Wine Committee. Senior Chairman is Brother Tyrie who huffs and puffs on the Treasury equivalent. Alas, he always has bees in his bonnet and gave DC a grilling over Syria, intelligence and drones. He took up so much time that Keith Vaz flounced out and the PM nearly lost his rag. I can reliably say that A.Tyrie’s chance of a ministerial post or a “K” in the honours list are now in deep cold storage.
The second bit of comedy was this ludicrous debate on that weirdo American Republican candidate with a wig – Trumpers, or Trumpington. Just because 500,000 alleged punters signed a petition – according to the clerks they included Mother Therese, J Stalin and Pontius Pilate – 50 odd MPs turned up to debate this aforementioned Yankee who wants to keep out and deport all foreigners. So it was suggested that we ban him from coming home to the UK. I pointed out that in 60 years of public service Her Madge has had to shake hands with countless crooks, murderers and louche characters – and that was just in Parliament!
You may have seen that young E.Vaizey has self-promoted himself as the longest-serving arts minister in history. Isn’t much of a record attending all those champagne receptions in modern art galleries and listening to Classic FM and attending rock festivals. No, the long service and misconduct badge must go to our old friend Liders (a.k.a D Lidington) who has been the longest serving Europe minister if you exclude that old reprobate Palmerston. How he’s kept his sanity beats me travelling round Europe, having his ear bent in our House by Messrs Cash, Redwood and Jenkin and in the Other Place by assorted retired mandarins and Eurocrats. No complaints, and not so much as a British Empire Medal for his service.
The only thing that raised the spirits of Soames was the story in some Italian rag of a lady who lost the key to her chastity belt and had to call out the fire brigade to be freed. As Soames opined, “Typical Eyties, the answer was always have a spare key and the number of a lock smith”.
Assuming your interior economy is back to normal, do you fancy dinner later this week at “The Hearts of Oak” restaurant in Mayfair. Traditional English fayre – steak and kidney pudding and treacle tart? I think we will let Soames have a bye on this.
Yours till half term,