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 is an Assistant Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health.
My Dear Friends
I fear I have been remiss in my communication with you and for this I hope you will accept my humble apology. This has been partly a result of a much-needed break visiting the family vineyards in Tuscany followed by a whirlwind tour of hospital trusts to encourage them to consider creative ways to reduce numbers on their waiting lists.
It has also been necessary for me to supervise the lambing season in place of Lady Veronica. My poor wife twisted her left fetlock whilst dismounting her hunter, and despite being the warhorse that she is, the painful combination of a swollen ankle and gout laid her low for a couple of weeks. You will be pleased to hear that she is much improved and, as I write, she is searching the Hall grounds ensconced in her armoured John Deere Gator on the lookout for expectant ewes, loitering labourers and prowling poachers.
However, these events have in no way prevented me from attending to my duties on behalf of you and the nation at Westminster. For example, I recently had the opportunity to report my findings about hospital waiting lists to colleagues at the Department’s HQ in Victoria Street. I arrived in the expectation that a blanket of gloom and despondency would prevail. Indeed, I had been told that the figures were not good and the inexorable rise towards ten million was continuing. Much to my surprise I found my boss, Barclay, and the Permanent Secretary, the pasty-looking Ms Shona Hunter Dunn (sadly not furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun), in high spirits and celebrating with an atrocious red from the corner shop and a box of Mint Thins. It soon became clear that the merriment was attributed to their belief that the dreadful statistics could be laid at the door of the striking doctors and nurses rather than at the hopeless management of the bloated voracious Behemoth that is ‘our’ NHS. There was general agreement that it was in our interest for the strikes to last indefinitely.
You may have read of the kerfuffle surrounding our former Deputy PM Raab and a couple of delicate senior civil servants. It seems that they became rather flustered when Raab raised his voice and asked them to implement government policies. I have noticed that on every floor in Victoria Street there is a ‘Refuge’ room with a gaily painted door. When I entered one such to investigate, I observed scatter cushions, colouring books and various stuffed animals. In a corner of the dimly lit room, half hidden beneath a blanket, I noticed a senior member of staff sobbing quietly as she clutched a toy koala. At least she was not working from home! Apparently these rooms are so-called ‘safe spaces’ for the staff to recover when they are misgendered or asked to work to a deadline.
I hope you all remembered to turn off the absurd emergency alert on your phones. I know it was all rather complicated but fortunately my faithful secretary, Catherine, was on hand to advise me about the appropriate buttons to press. I am pleased to say that her ministrations worked. Sunday afternoons tend to be the time when we are deeply engaged in vital deliberations and have no wish to be disturbed.
It pains me to report that, once again, a number of my parliamentary colleagues have been caught out attempting to sell their souls to fake outside interests for trifling sums of money. I can assure you that your tribune has no intention of debasing himself in this way. I carry with me at all times a comprehensive list of people to avoid given to me by my dear pater when I inherited his seat in the House. These included: left-footers, mountebanks, quacksalvers, the uncouth, visionaries, trade, lawyers, medics, souses and scurrilous radicals. I am sorry to say that his list covers all the members of the current Cabinet.
On a brighter note our Ukrainian refugee Zlata has now mastered the art of baking the perfect lemon drizzle cake, and she regularly sends consignments to her family in Lviv. She tells me that her mother keeps asking her to return as her estate agency is overwhelmed sourcing residences in Switzerland and Florida for the families of government ministers, but the young woman has been promised a new house in Swindon and is keen to follow her dream to become a guard on the GWR.
In taking my leave, I was reminded, as I took my early morning ride today, of one of Housman’s little ditties entitled Loveliest of trees, the cherry now.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
In these dark and difficult times, I urge you all to ignore the doom-mongers and charlatans who attempt to invade our consciousness and remind yourself of the glories that nature reveals around every corner in the beautiful villages and hamlets of Tittleham.
Your faithful servant
Sir Charles Chatterton MP