OUR Man in Westminster, Sir Charles ‘Chatty’ Chatterton MP, is committed to truth, transparency and decency. He is happy for TCW Defending Freedom to publish his correspondence to his constituents. Sir Charles has represented the people of Greater Tittleham since entering Parliament in 1966. He has recently accepted the post of Assistant Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health.
My Dear Friends,
All of us here at Tittleham Hall share with you the unfathomable sadness and distress caused by the death of our gracious Queen and the accession to the throne of her eldest son.
As you may know, the Chatterton family has a long history of friendship and service to the Crown. My great-grandfather, Edwin, was Master of the Royal Cummerbunds to King Edward VII, and subsequently, a Keeper of the Silver Spatula to George V. In later life he became Grand Wizard of the Ancient and Venerable Order of the Pomegranate, and briefly, the King of Montenegro.
I was blessed to have the great good fortune to have entertained Her late Majesty on many occasions in my humble abode.
Liz, as I was privileged to call her, and Prince Philip often stayed at the Hall on the night before they boarded HMY Britannia to visit some godforsaken part of the world.
On several occasions they were on their way to lower the Union Flag in some benighted territory whose communist leaders were of the mistaken belief that they could do a better job than the wallahs in Whitehall. As Philip was prone to remark: ‘The blighters have made their Commie beds and they’ll have to lie in them.’
Their visits to the Hall were in the main joyous affairs. Typically, after a game of Canasta or Top Trumps, the ladies would depart to the kitchen to discuss cake recipes and the like, whilst Philip and I would retire to the billiards room with a decanter or two of unfiltered Sandemans.
The evening invariably ended with the staff joining us for raucous renditions of Blow the Man Down or Spanish Ladies. Our rantings and roarings would invariably be terminated by frowns from the Crown and scowls from my good lady.
At six the following morning I would often be awoken by Philip knocking on my bedroom door to challenge me to a pony and trap race around the gardens before their departure. The Capability Brown lawns have never fully recovered.
I miss them both.
The other news has been the elevation of the Truss woman to become the Prime Minister. This was in no small measure because of my decision to support her candidacy. As expected, I was soon called upon to do my duty to prop up the sinking ship of state and I accepted the post of Assistant Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health.
I am tasked with keeping the waiting lists for operations below ten million. It is not a role for the faint of heart. However, when I hear the familiar cry, ‘Send for Chatty’, I can only respond to the call of duty. This will be my twenty-third ministerial appointment, which I believe to be a record.
My new boss is a hefty woman by the name of Coffey. She is from the North and looks as though she was weaned on meat pies. However, she seems to be a jolly cove and is sylph-like in comparison to the appropriately named Maggie De Block, the former Health Minister of Belgium.
I have already mentioned to Coffey that the term ‘Waiting List’ has rather negative connotations and perhaps it should be renamed. I have suggested ‘The Ladder of Hope’.
Those in the queue for a new hip or an appendix removal could be regarded as climbing ‘The Ladder of Hope’, and those who were unable to be helped in time could be said to have tragically, ‘slipped off The Ladder’.
I also posited the idea that spending a long time waiting should be something to be proud of and that those waiting for over a year should be called NHS Saviours. They could be given certificates and badges to allow them to display their virtue in helping the NHS in its continuous, if doomed, struggle to provide an adequate service.
Furthermore, those waiting for longer than two years could be entered into a prize draw, with the winner receiving some sharp knives, a copy of Surgery for Dummies and a deluxe first aid kit.
In this time of tumult, trial and tribulation it is important to keep a stiff upper lip and carry on as best one can. Lady Veronica has kept herself busy by spending more time on her zither and embroidering the face of our dearly departed Queen on a tea towel, whilst Catherine has kept me busy helping me to get to grips with my new brief.
I have no doubt that you will find in yourselves the well of sustenance that you have drawn upon so often in the past and will persevere in the dark days of the new Carolingian monarchy that lie ahead.
Sir Charles Chatterton MP