TCW asked ‘Our Man in Westminster’ Sir Charles (Chatty) Chatterton to interview Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s COP26 spokeswoman, and put to her questions submitted by readers.
WEARING a flowing Hermes dress with a floral pattern, Allegra looked splendid as she arrived for our brief meeting in Annie’s Bar. I had already ordered another decent Sauvignon to share, but she wisely opted for a bottle of Chipping Sodbury Mineral Water.
CHATTY CHATTERTON: Allegra, I hope you don’t mind me saying how pretty you look today. Many people want to know if you were named after a car?
ALLEGRA STRATTON: (Laughing) My goodness no! and I think you’ll find it was the Austin Allegro, not Allegra. I was in fact named after one of Lord Byron’s daughters.
CC: How interesting. You recently told us to instruct our staff to forgo rinsing dinner plates before putting them in the dishwasher. Do you have any other household tips that will prevent global warming?
AS: Oh yes, oodles of them, and soon the Government will be sending every household a booklet brim full of ideas, such as asking your gardener to put your hair and nail clippings on the compost heap, and instructing your maid to save old copies of the Spectator for loft insulation. One of my favourites is to ask your cook or chef to use Sicilian Black Lava Salt or Macedonian Bamboo Roasted Mineral Salt instead of Himalayan Pink Salt, as this reduces air miles considerably.
CC: That’s fascinating. Many people are concerned about their holidays at the moment. What are your thoughts?
AS: Yes, I completely understand. It is essential that we all reduce our air miles. Instead of jetting off to Biarritz, why not sail there in your yacht? Instead of flying to Lucca, why not drive there in your Electric Porsche? I recommend breaks in Tours and Avignon to recharge. The cuisine at Le Petit Macron in Tours is amazing, and the Bistro Guillotin in Avignon is to die for! An added bonus would be the chance to stock up on olives and make sure they were not brought here in those dirty diesel wagons (ugh!)
CC: What about those who don’t have the opportunity to get to the Continent?
AS: Oh, I’m sure they’ll think of something. I often see happy urchins bouncing up and down on trampolines in their gardens, or playing in little paddling pools. Poorer people can be very resourceful when push comes to shove, but we’ll legislate to prevent them using too much water in their pools and having garden barbecues.
CC: Many readers are concerned about the increasing cost of gas and electricity.
AS: As hosts of COP26, we must show that we mean business when we say we will reduce our CO2 emissions. How can we persuade China and others to stop building so many nasty coal-fired power stations if we don’t set an example? If a few older people need to put on an extra layer or two during cold snaps, I think you’ll find they won’t mind the sacrifice and will be pleased to be part of our NetZero plans. Incidentally, please ask your readers not to throw away last year’s ski wear, as it could be donated to an elderly relative or someone in fuel poverty.
CC: The Government wants to eliminate gas-fired boilers. Is this a good idea?
AS: Absolutely! There is a super new technology available now that allows heat pumps to take the chill off your home. It has the benefit of incorporating underfloor heating just like the Romans used to do thousands of years ago. It will only cost up to around £50,000 per property and I have no doubt that the cost won’t increase much over time.
CC: What about all the extra electricity we will need?
AS: We don’t foresee a problem. If there’s a shortfall, our roll-out of Smart Meters means we will be able to ration supply when it’s not windy or sunny. We are confident most households will get some power most weeks.
CC: Do you think there will be a political price to pay for your ‘green’ initiatives?
AS: Oh yes! I’m sure it will destroy the Conservative Party. I recommend that everyone votes for my friends in the Green Party at the next election. My chum Carrie will definitely be voting ‘green’ as she’s sick of living in London.
CC: Do you have any final thoughts for TCW readers?
AS: Yes, I’ve just thought of another spiffing new idea to save the planet. Why not persuade people to give their children shorter first names – something like Fox or Jet? Then when they come to write or type it, they will use less ink or electricity than if they are called Penelope or Christabel. All these micro-initiatives add up!
CC: Thank you Allegra, I can see that COP26 will have the outcome we all expect.
The meeting ended when Allegra had to dash off to a Zoom meeting with Sir Richard Branson to offer him tips on ways to make space travel more planet-friendly. As I reflected on the interview and finished off the Sauvignon, I was overcome by a sense of melancholy. Why are these people destroying my party and our once great nation?