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Chatty: Calling all Albanian knee surgeons


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 

There are times when it is difficult to avert one’s eyes from the wreckage one sees strewn in every direction. I regret to say that on the rancorous political stage upon which it is my duty to play a part, loyalty is now regarded as peculiar; consistency is seen as weakness; enterprise is derided. 

Although I was only a lukewarm supporter of the Truss woman, many of my colleagues in Westminster have failed to respect her appointment and are showing their true colours, which are certainly not blue. More than a few are stabbing the new Prime Minister in the front and proving yet again that the party has been infiltrated by pusillanimous nonentities. It often occurs to me that the mendacious cove Gove is instigating the disruption.

I was unable to attend the recent Party Conference. I felt that my time was better spent ensconced with my secretary Catherine, dealing with the ever-expanding waiting lists for hospital treatments. As I reported previously my task is to keep the number below ten million. I am pleased to say that it has not yet reached that point, but will do so next year unless decisive action is taken.

In an attempt to delay the inevitable, I asked the Department’s Second Permanent Secretary, Miss Shona Hunter Dunn, to institute a staff suggestion scheme, in the expectation that the bods who worked there would have some inkling of ways to ameliorate the situation. 

Sadly the ideas proffered were not enlightening. They included . . .

‘The toilet paper here is not fit for purpose.’

‘The doughnuts in the staff kanteen (sic) are way to (sic) small. How are we supposed to work without nurishment (sic)?’

‘We need more staff in the Operations Cancelled or Postponed Department!’

‘We are far too busy to deal with their problems. If they are so worried tell them to go private.’

‘I’m not paid to give you suggestions.’

I reported my findings to my boss, Coffey, who sympathised and told me to keep trying. She suggested that someone should check if any of the thousands of Albanians arriving on the coast might have some sort of medical expertise and could help out with knees and hips. 

The woeful situation was of course predicted by my father Horacio. As you no doubt remember he was your MP before I accepted the position on your behalf. In one of his rare interventions in the House in 1946 he outlined his opposition to the proposed centralised Health Service, with his trademark rhetorical élan . . .

‘There can be no doubt that for all his flummery and windbaggery, the Honourable Member for Ebbw Vale has no conception of the inconsistencies and peculiarities of human nature. His creation will become a monster. The ravenous beast will squander the nation’s wealth. The creature will tempt the populace into imprudent and unhealthy behaviour. It will lead to the creation of a bureaucratic behemoth with an insatiable appetite for the consumption of scarce resources.

‘Neither the sturdy ploughman in Upper Tittleham nor the dutiful fishwife in Nether Tittleham should be required to pay for the unhealthy corpulent loafers sprawling on their chaises longues in Chelsea and Cheltenham, and why should the rewards of their heroic toil contribute to treatment for feckless souls in Wigan and Warrington who, I am told, spend their meagre income gorging themselves on ever-larger meat-and-potato pies?

‘I put it to you, Mister Speaker, that this Bill will result in the ruination of the nation!’

I am pleased to report that all is well at Tittleham Hall. I am sure that, like me, you see it as a beacon of sanity and stability in these trying times. The only cloud on the horizon is that Lady Veronica has recovered from a bout of dropsy which prevented her progress on the euphonium. However, she is now riding again and was able to marshal the crowds who arrived for the first Turnip Tuesday. I understand that it was a great success and the soup in four large containers was quickly dispensed. However, I urge you not to bring dogs to tomorrow’s event. Lady Veronica had to take drastic action with her lasso after Mrs Antrobus’s Jack Russell ran amok and caused a number of spillages. Mrs Antrobus has now recovered and has agreed not to bring Eddie next Tuesday.

I can also report good news from the East. Zlata, our charming Ukrainian refugee who has been helping Cook below stairs, has arrived safely in Kiev for her family holiday. She tells us she cannot wait to bake them a lemon drizzle cake. 

Despite the trying circumstances, 

I remain,

Your humble servant 

Sir Charles Chatterton MP

Tittleham Hall

Middle Tittleham

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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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