OUR man in Westminster, Sir Charles ‘Chatty’ Chatterton, the raffish, six-times-married, long-serving Member of Parliament, is Assistant Under Secretary at the Department for Transport tasked with leading the ‘Volt Jolt’ initiative to promote the take-up of electric vehicles. The Conservative Woman is privy to his recent notes.
Shortly after I had finished a brace of splendid Manx kippers, my dear Lady Veronica gave me the good news that the Romanian broccoli pickers had been rescued from the sinkhole on the B7492 and were being ministered to by the splendid ladies of the Upper and Nether Tittleham WIs. Apparently, they survived their ordeal by eating the broccoli they had harvested and drinking the milk of their pet goat Antanasia. Apart from looking a bit green around the gills they are in good shape. There is also happier news about the nuns from the Stella Maris Convent who were arrested while distributing Bibles outside the Girls’ Grammar School. After I reminded Chief Constable Samaraweera of the discrepancies that occurred when he was treasurer of the golf club, all charges were dropped.
With a heavy heart I returned to London with Catherine to give more guidance to the Volt Jolt programme. Once again I was met by the mumbling masked Malcolm. I suggested to him that purple and gold trainers might not be the best look for a senior civil servant, but he shrugged and asked me if I wanted to buy a nearly new unlocked iPhone. I replied that I was quite content with my Nokia Cityman which has served me well for thirty years, and has the advantage of being uncontactable most of the time. Undeterred, Malcolm handed me his card that read ‘Malcolm da Costa, Civil Servant / Consultant / Entrepreneur, Director, Totally-Legit-Phones, PO Box 529, Panama’. I can see that Malcolm has a sense of humour and I assume he was joking when he said that he had contracts for half of Whitehall.
Malcolm tells me that Shapps wants to see me tomorrow to discuss a new project.
Shapps said he had discussed my proposals to increase the sales of electric cars with ‘she who must be obeyed’ (Carrie) and although she was not overly impressed by the details of my report, she sounded very keen to involve the communist multi-millionaire Michie and her cronies to bamboozle unsuspecting car buyers into believing that electric cars are necessary to save their grandchildren from floods, pestilence, starvation, hyperthermia and/or heatstroke. He told me that in the gaps between lockdowns, the media will ramp up their terror campaign about the climate to vilify those like me who don’t see the point in buying an unreliable, Chinese-sourced, microwave on wheels when for the same price they could have a half-decent secondhand Morgan Plus Four.
Shapps then showed me a sample of one the adverts he has commissioned with an attractive family of colour jumping into a new electric Porsche whilst their dour Welsh neighbours set off in an old Astra with smoke belching from the exhaust. It finishes with a sonorous West Indian voice intoning, ‘Don’t keep up with the Joneses’.
Before he left, Shapps told me that he had arranged for me to speak with the top brass at the Ministry of Defence to share my ideas about how they might ‘go green’.
The sudden request to help out the military was something of a surprise and Catherine and I had to work long into the early hours to research what was going on there. Alarm bells sounded when I found out that a retired Army chap by the name of Nugee has written a report about how the services should reduce their carbon emissions. This Nugee fellow is the brother-in-law of the bonkers Labour woman Thornberry, and it is just the sort of nonsense she would have come up with.
The meeting was chaired by a nondescript ex-banker with no military experience called Quinn, who has been given the poisoned chalice of the minister responsible for Defence Procurement. I could tell these people were out of their depth when all they had done so far to control their emissions was to change the light bulbs at RAF Akrotiri and ordered that the latrines in Catterick Camp should be flushed only on Wednesdays.
The meeting was the expected fiasco. Soporific PowerPoint slides were followed by a ‘brainstorming’ session during which it was seriously suggested that the fleet of Hercules be replaced by gliders, that nuclear-equipped dirigibles should replace Trident, that HMS Victory should return to service, and that the Royal Tank Regiment should ditch their Challengers for horses. My protestations cut no ice, and I left wondering whether I was too old to learn Russian.
Whilst having a quiet lunchtime drink in Annie’s Bar I was approached by a seedy-looking chap called Jovan Petrovic.
I had noticed him lurking at the Defence Ministry meeting yesterday. It seems he had been given his advisory position in the Department in 2014 by Dodgy Dave. He told me he was given an office overlooking the Thames with a staff of five, and had accompanied Dave on trips to Saudi and Jordan. His role was to be a middleman to get better deals on defence sales and procurement. Despite the changes in regime, no one had bothered to get rid of him.
After a few glasses of Swinson’s Single Malt, and obviously knowing of my stature at Westminster, he tried to persuade me to recommend the purchase of some surplus eco-friendly, stealth M1A2 Abrams tanks which he said his company, Greentank Inc, had sitting in a warehouse just outside Zagreb. I recall that he claimed they could operate on discarded chip fat, and were virtually undetectable by those with a poor sense of smell.
I strung him along for a while as he was buying the drinks, but on my return to the office I asked Catherine urgently to report the incident to Quinn. It was my fear that given the Department’s track record, and their mania for all things ‘green’, they might just blow another few billions.
My journey home was delayed by a burning Tesla on the A303, but on my return to Tittleham Hall I was delighted to find that my dear Lady Veronica had just made my favourite lemon drizzle cake.
I was also pleased to find a sweet letter from Sisters Concepta, Annunciata and Immaculata thanking me for intervening in their case and promising to say a novena for me. I think I am beyond redemption, and it would be better that they pray for the untold millions terrorised by the incompetent cabal running the country.