Subject: Brexit Bidding Competition
I have enjoyed reading your Twitter account and the photos taken on your Grand Tour of the Gulf States. I hope you are trying to hose down our American cousins who want to biff the Ayatollah and his Imans.
How time flies when we are enjoying the Brexit train crash. You laid down a good marker for the next leadership contest – could be before the festive season.
All is quiet on my home front as Lady Mary has been in France as the Patroness of the Lionesses football team. You probably saw her in twinset and pearls standing behind assorted muscular ladies. Can’t say I approve as women are far more lethal on the pitch than men. I still have a cracked shin bone from playing against Cheltenham Gals College in the 1950s.
Last week, Soames and I attended the Armed Forces Day Parade in Winchester in blistering heat. “Bubbles” Smythe gave us a lift in his roller, and parked outside the Cathedral in a spot reserved for the Dean. Then a liquid lunch at one of the better hotels. We raised our goblets to you in an alcohol-free zone.
Now what’s been happening here in the leadership contest? As far as I can tell Boris and J Hunt Esquire are trying to outbid each other in the Brexit war, and showering taxpayers’ money on every interest group. There are all these ghastly photos of them hugging passers by and avoiding difficult questions.
Boris seems to lurch from one disaster to the next. To divert the attention of reptiles he says he relaxes by painting wine boxes to look like buses! Sounds a bit like Comrade Corbyn photographing drainage covers. You wouldn’t have had all this rollicking nonsense from Harold M or Mrs T.
To steady the nerves of his supporters, he has appointed IDS as his campaign manager. As Soames opined, based on his sterling successes as our leader 20 years ago and reforming the welfare morass. I put it about that Rees-Mogg and S Baker were drawing up lists of potential ministers – Francois to defence and Patel to the FCO. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the weaker brethren.
Then we have had that hoary old suggestion to cut the Cabinet by half – international development to the FCO and Welfare, for God’s sake, to the Treasury. Another of the Trussette’s brilliant schemes, but unfolding fast, as the colleagues have worked out there will be fewer ministers.
Over a convivial lunch at “The Prisoner’s Friend” pub off Whitehall, Brandon Lewis, Party Chairman and Keeper of the Files, told Soames and Yours Truly that CCHQ had emails prepared to mobilise for an autumn election. Reminded me of those warning orders prepared by the British Army of the Rhine for a Bolshevik attack. Sad to say a similar end game!
Then we hear that Boris, as part of this Churchill nostalgia, wants to create a War Cabinet for Brexit. Jolly old D Lidington tells me they propose to meet in the Old Cabinet War Rooms to soak up the atmosphere and fag ash. The Imperial War Museum is promised £20 million to cover the lost tourist fees.
Meanwhile, there has been consternation here in the Palace of Varieties at proposals to put panic buttons and CCTV cameras in MPs and Peers Offices. Some blather about preventing inappropriate behaviour. As Soames pointed out, more likely catching him and me watching Wimbledon and sinking a glass of bubbly after lunch.
Well, old lad, only three more weeks of these awful hustings I am spending this weekend in Northumberland with my grandchildren and the Jacks. Sort of loco parentis although apart from using me as a human version of a cash register in the wall, I see very little of the offspring. Plenty of cricket and Wimbledon to see on the telly.
Thank you for your invitation, Soames and I would be delighted to sup with you at the Silk Road Club next week – why not invite those jolly ladies Amber R and Penny M?
Yours at the going down of the sun,