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Build Back-Scratching Better


EXTRACTS from the Build Back Better Select Committee meeting held in Committee Room 8 in the House of Commons sometime in the near future …  

Sir Rawnsley Slouch (Con, St Anniesbar South) Chair: Today we welcome the recently-knighted Secretary of State for Build Back Better, the Right Honourable Sir Michael Gove, to our meeting. I’m sure Sir Michael is eagerly awaiting your questions and incisive scrutiny. Feel free to briefly remove your masks when you ask a question, especially you, Dermot. Anne, if you’d like to begin . . .

Anne Slavering (Con, Wittering on Sea): It is so nice to welcome you Sir Michael, and, if I may say so, what a splendid job your department is doing building things back better.  

One scheme that seems to have been inadvertently overlooked, but which I’m sure you would like to reconsider, is the tidal barrage between the yacht club at Wittering and Plunder Point. My husband, who happens to be a consultant for such schemes, has estimated that this one could provide enough electricity for over 500 homes, subject to tides, of course. He believes that it would cost no more than two billion pounds. By the way, I do like your new spectacles – they make you look quite dashing.  

Sir Michael: That’s very kind of you Anne, they were chosen for me by Sarah. As for the barrage, that does sound like tremendous value for money and clearly gives scope for a multitude of green jobs whilst putting us on track for NetZero2050 I will get my team to look into it. 

Ivy Knotweed (Green-XR, Doom Valley): We from the Green-XR Alliance … climate emergency … polar bears … sea levels … unsustainable … Greta … cow farts … badgers … Prince Charles … catastrophe … hockey stick … Michael Mann … slime … pestilence … Attenborough … population control … thin birds … deodorant … armpits … quinoa … algae … rainforests … aubergines … whales … penguins … gurnards … hurricanes … tornadoes … typhoons … coral reefs … starvation … climate emergency … as we so accurately predicted over 30 years ago.  

Sir Michael: I’m most grateful, Ivy. As ever, you raise important points. You will be pleased to hear that to help tackle the climate emergency the Members’ Dining Room is about to introduce an entirely insect-based menu.  

Wassim Aqbal (Lab, Grimtown Central): In my constituency the council have gone to great lengths to lead the country in the installation of 500 vehicle recharging facilities, but because of the continuing lockdowns, economic meltdown and the soaring price of electricity, only ten people in Grimtown can afford to heat their homes, never mind buy an electric car. Would it not be sensible to encourage more people to make use of these charging points by giving the elected representatives in Grimtown free cars? Surely it is up to us to avoid waste and lead by example?   

Sir Michael: Yes, absolutely, I’ll look into it. We should practise what we preach. How we get around says a great deal about our commitment to reducing emissions. My wife and I now travel to work on pogo sticks.  

Tim Grinn: (LibDem, Anomaly North): My constituency is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom, but it is blighted by a shocking absence of renewable energy installations. I can think of at least three valleys that could be dammed for hydro, and the hills and mountains could be home to literally hundreds more wind turbines, not to mention thousands of solar panels. It is a scandal that the Government is doing so little to address the climate emergency when such opportunities are available.  

Sir Michael: I take your point, Tim. But be reassured the department believes that there are no parts of the country that can’t be improved by more dams, solar panels and wind turbines. Improving the countryside in this way is a key component of Build Back Better. Watch this space!  

Sir Rawnsley Slouch: Sadly, Ifor Thengine (PG, Llysiau Gwraidd) cannot be here, as Wales is still in lockdown. But, as you can see, he has sent a leek to represent him. He requested that I ask you what are you doing about the increasing number of wolf attacks on sheep in West Wales?  

Sir Michael: Please reassure Ifor that our Rewild Wales Initiative/Menter Rewild Cymru (RWI/MRC) is progressing as planned, and I am confident that the recently-released bears will soon begin to devour the wolves.  

Dermot McTavish (SNP, Grumble on Tay): Aw ah hear is yer platitudes an’ wee bluster. We in Scootland leid th’ warld in win’ power an’ suin when we ur free frae th’ bloodsuckers in London, we’ll nae mair be subsidin’ ye sassenach plunderers.  

Nae mark mah words. When th’ oil price returns tae ower a hunder dollars a barrel, we can afford tae build e’en mair dams an’ turbines an’ shaw hoo tae pure protect th’ environment.  

Sir Michael: Thank you Dermot, I look forward to continuing our stimulating conversations in the months and years to come.  

Sir Rawnsley Slouch: Well, I think that stirring contribution from Dermot concludes this meeting. Our thanks go out to Sir Michael and his team who clearly have become a beacon to the world for what Building Back Better really means.  

I suggest we now retire to the Strangers’ Bar for our traditional drinks – I think it’s Dermot’s turn to get the round in. Dermot … Dermot? Has Dermot gone? Never mind, masks on, everyone!  

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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