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Archive for November 18th, 2009

Diary of a Huntsman….


PODCAST VERSION: A Hunstman’s View (1) / Law & Order

18th November 2009

Cybil not awfully impressed by my latest idea to stand for parliament,  but having seen the buffoonery in SW Norfolk t’other night with the Turnip Taliban, I spoke to Jack, my head keeper,  and we both agreed I could not really make any more of  a pig’s ear of things than they managed to do as reported on Newsnight on Monday.

Arriving at Marylebone station too late for breakfast and rather too early for lunch,  the fare on offer in the station concourse had little appeal. Fortunately, Mrs P, our wonderful cook, had had the foresight to  slip a small chicken pie into my shooting bag and this, together with my whisky charged hip flask, I was able to take a perfectly acceptable brunch, seated on my shooting stick by a tree in the Marylebone Road. It was fortunate that there was sufficient earth  surrounding the tree for me to set my shooting stick for otherwise I would have had  to eat standing up – which  is just not acceptable and I would have had a bit of a walk to Regent’s Park to find a suitable vantage point.

Believing there was a possibility that I may be asked a few questions about politics and possibly even current affairs for my ‘preliminary’ chat at Central Office, I discovered that the Conservative Party is now being run rather well by a group of chaps from Eton.  I’m a rather poor example of the produce of Collegium Sanctae Mariae prope Wintoniam but at least my brains didn’t fall out the back of my head when I was there unlike some of my friends who like to say there were ‘educated’ at Eton. Be that as it may.  Jack, my head keeper, had told me that The Telegraph was no longer a reliable source of tory policy and suggested that I get hold of a copy of The Sun newspaper to read on the train.  He told me it would not take long for me to get a sense of current Tory thinking.  He was right.  it didn’t.

Law & Order brief

Reading The Sun, under the wonderful headline You’ll cop it…now! I discovered that a Tory government will give police powers to hand out on-the-spot hard labour punishments to street yobs. I know the chaps at Eton used to enjoy a bit of weed, quite a lot of it, they say, but I had no idea they were still smoking the stuff. The progenitor, or at least the distributor of this nonsense, is one Chris Grayling, Shadown Home Secretary.  He wants to deliver a sharp shock to tearaways.. he even dubbed this half thought out plan as “the 21st century equivalent of the clip around the ear”.

I rang Cybil and asked if she knew anything about Mr Grayling.  She did, but wasn’t minded to tell me as she had better things to do. Jack, my head keeper, was in the estate office. Nothing in Debretts.com but he did discover from Wikipedia that Grayling had spent much of his time before entering parliament at the BBC, then Channel 4 and running TV production companies and being a management consultant – so he is obviously completely suited to running the Home Office and opining on how best to get criminal justice shucked into shape.

The Sun reported “The Conservatives’ crime supremo said ‘Early intervention is a crucial way to deal with anti-social behaviour.’  I read with mounting amusement that this Tory Robocop wants to get yobs to dig gardens or clean up graffiti. I was beginning to wonder if my decision to stand for political office was sensible, given the rather bizarre policy on law and order I had just read. But  there we are.

Pre-selection chat

I received a message on my Blackberry to say that my interview would not be at Central Office after all. There was a bit of a flap on – the Turnip Taliban were not taking it lying down.  This news did not surprise me.  I know the type.  They remind me of people at dinner parties who repeat themselves incessantly and snort  when they manage to say something that makes even vague sense. I was told that we would, instead, meet at a pub in Chelsea.

Interview didn’t go well. A slick elegantly besuited young man who cannot have been more than 30, told me that I was not a woman.  This, I have known for much of my life. It would appear, also, that I have a few skeletons in my cupboard.  This puzzled me at first.  All the Bagshottes have been been laid to rest in the family crypt and I could not quite see why I should suffer from the really disgraceful behaviour, venal, fornicatory or otherwise,  of my ancestors. Young man looked at me with amused disdain and told me that my skeleton was that I had worked in The City for most of my career until inheriting the pile from Baggers No 7.  I was told that it ‘would not be politically expedient, at the present time, to have another candidate who (a) was a man (b) had worked in The City  (c) had inherited wealth and (d) enjoyed a spot of fox hunting. He did say that if ‘we get a large majority, you’ll be right in there for one of the early slots.’. Interview over.

So, my political ambitions thwarted, I returned to the estate.  Cybil found it most amusing and told me that I had far better things to do with my time.  She said I should be a diarist and chronicle the goings on of the new guard. Cybil  talks a lot of sense;  sometimes rather too inconveniently for my tastes… but there we are.  So I shall.

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PODCAST VERSION: A Hunstman’s View (1) / Law & Order

West London Man is still in La Guardia jail… New York…. he may get out soon and return…. but if you wish to read of his exploits… here it is.

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Inappropriate quotations (1)

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Lord Strathclyde, leader of the Tories in The Lords lists this in his bio on the Tory Party website:

PROUDEST POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • Protecting the integrity of the House of Lords and resisting government attempts to turn it into a ‘crony’ house of rubber stampers

There is a delicious irony, therefore…at least to my sardonic eye this windy, grey, morning that the same Lord Strathclyde, possibly puffed up on high octane self importance, is reported in The Guardian today as being the architect of a plan to thwart the processes of people who have actually been elected to power to govern our country.

Conservatives: we will kill off Queen’s speech bills

Tory peers will use time pressure to thwart Gordon Brown’s ‘electioneering’ package

The Guardian reports:

Tory peers are ready to block most of the government bills to be announced in the Queen’s speech tomorrow, threatening to mire the final days of Gordon Brown‘s government in frustration and delay. Lord Strathclyde, the Conservative leader in the Lords, predicted that few if any of the bills announced amid tomorrow’s fanfare and pageantry would reach the statute book without the consent of Tory peers.

“We all know that this Queen’s speech is all about better electioneering and politics rather than the better governance of the country,” he told the Guardian.

I do appreciate (before some peer has apoplexy about a blogger criticising the Lords) that the House of Lords does much good work, scrutinising legislation and that not all of them are on the take with cash for questions or have difficulties remembering where they live for expenses purposes.

If Lord Strathclyde is saying that he and his fellow peers will deliberately undermine the process of a democratically elected government for his own political ends, rather than act in a rational and reasoned way and bring wisdom to the political process – then he could find himself lighting a touch paper – for there are many in this country who would prefer to have a second chamber of ‘elected’ representatives who are interested in acting in the interests of the wider good.

The Guardian, with a degree of subtlety, notes… “Tory strategists know they will have to tread carefully not to be seen to be blocking popular measures, something governments perennially accuse oppositions of in the runup to an election.”

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I am a fan of In The Thick of It – the political satire.  It is just as well that Malcolm Tucker is an entirely fictional character, bearing no resemblance to any person, living or dead…. because Tucker certainly would not have allowed Strathclyde to stand in front of a Scottish Conservative poster… just too tempting, I am afraid, for me this morning as I cropped the image in Photoshop. (Idid nothing else to the original image)

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