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Chatty’s Christmas message

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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

In these forbidding times when malicious unseen forces seem intent on the destruction of all we hold dear, one is reminded of Hardy’s winter poem The Darkling Thrush . . .

I leant upon a coppice gate
When frost was spectre-grey,
And winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.

However, unlike the poet, we must take heart from the ‘full-hearted evensong, of joy illimited’ from the ‘aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small’, and gird ourselves with the fortitude that is the hallmark of the good denizens of Tittleham. Together we will overcome the rapacious devils wherever they may lurk.

As ever, I have been exceptionally busy on your behalf. However, one opportunity I felt obliged to decline was the chance to join a Parliamentary fact-finding expedition to Qatar. I believe it to be a place somewhere in the Arabian desert that sends us its surplus gas. It all sounded rather interesting until my secretary Catherine pointed out that it clashed with an Association Football competition. She explained that had we gone we might have had to consort with some awful bounders who are paid exorbitant amounts of money to talk nonsense about the aforementioned event. Nevile and Linemaker I think were the scoundrels to whom she referred.

I am sure I have no need to tell you that the state of play in Westminster has not improved. Our new Prime Minister seems to be even more out of his depth than the Truss woman and appears to do whatever is suggested by Guardian editorials, Starmer, or his chums in the City. I must admit that for the first time in my life I have contemplated surrendering the whip. I have even considered starting a breakaway party to be called Tittleham Independent Tories or Tories With Independent Thoughts, but as things are in such a parlous state I shall persist with my important duty, that of keeping NHS waiting lists below the 10million mark.

I continue to offer my boss, Barclay, my innovative solutions to ameliorate the problem. For example, I told him that in view of the arrival on these shores of a significant percentage of the population of Albania and seemingly thousands of barbers from Turkey, those countries must have a considerable number of medics twiddling their thumbs and practising their latest internet dance. I imagine them to be rather bored and desirous of a few more patients. I suggested, therefore, that it would be a cost-effective good idea to fly over a few hundred NHS patients each week to those countries to undergo operations on prostates, gallbladders and the like.

I am told that these places have some highly skilled bods who could whip out an appendix in half the time it takes here and without the need to get permission from a diversity manager. My friend, Councillor Giles Fotheringay, informs me that the facilities over there are top notch. In June he went to Istanbul for an inexpensive hair transplant at the Nomorbaldi Clinic and Bazaar. Unfortunately, they told him that the hair on the back of his scalp was insufficient for the job and in order to restore a half-decent thatch they would need to transfer some from the lower part of his anatomy. As you might expect he demurred, but he had the consolation of a pleasant week’s holiday in Marmaris.

After some initial teething problems, Lady Veronica and I are delighted with the success of Turnip Tuesdays and Warm Wednesdays. So much so that my dear wife wishes to invite over-70s to the Great Hall on alternate weeks for Theatrical Thursdays. In the first such event, Lady Veronica will don her robes and sport a laurel wreath to treat the gathering to Cassandra’s soliloquy from Seneca’s Agamemnon in the original Greek. A cup of Earl Grey and a slice of lemon drizzle cake will be offered to each attendee. You will be pleased to hear that a defibrillator has been installed in the entrance to the Hall, and a team from St John Ambulance will be on standby during the performance.

I hope that many of you will join me this evening in the Drunken Ferret to ‘wet the head’ of our Lord and Saviour. Catherine, my secretary, will be on hand to take notes should you have any pressing concerns. Shortly before midnight we shall be decamping to Saint Ethelwald’s for carols and Midnight Mass when, at the request of the Reverend Slope, I shall be reading the lesson. 

Lady Veronica and I wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas. 

Your enduring 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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