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.
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.
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.