Saturday, September 20, 2008

The future Tory cabinet - a grateful nation sighs with relief

We can all sleep very soundly in our beds. With a generous passing hat-tip to the newly and quite rightly ennobled Alix Mortimer, Tatler, the home of stringent political analysis, have done us all a great favour and revealed the future Tory bright stars who are waiting in the wings to take the levers of power in Britain.

Phew! What a relief! It turns out that they are all very talented indeed, very intelligent and with very wide experience. But most reassuringly, they all have excellent taste in clothes - the more expensive the better. Well you can't have glorified tramps putting their bums on the back seats of government Rovers, can you?

I am amazed and bowled over by the dazzling array of Tory glitterati just itching for the British constitution to tick round so that they can take their rightful place behind ministerial desks in Whitehall. They are so smiley and well turned out.

Very helpfully, Tatler has informed us which cabinet posts these bright young things will take when the Tories meet their date with destiny and put their skillful hands on the tiller of state, to collective sighs of relief from us grateful citizens.

Shaun Bailey, PPC for Hammersmith, has an excellent taste in suits and will be our future Home Secretary, we are informed. Excellent. Shaun has an excellent background for such a role. He is "now a youth and drug worker who set up a charity for young people." (Oh, where did we hear that before? Never mind - move on quickly) "A member of the Police Community Consultative Group, he enjoys comics and South American economics in his spare time. "

"Enjoys...South American economics in his spare time"

That's a new one. South American economics. Fascinating. It is not entirely clear what inspiration or information from this interest will be used by Mr Bailey in his future career lording it over us grateful citizens. Perhaps the special economics of Columbia might be of some interest to the United Kingdom? Or the economy of Argentina (public debt 59% of GDP) or Uruguay (53%) perhaps?

Never mind. Let's move on swiftly.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg will apparently be our future Secretary of State for Defence. Excellent. From what I read of her CV in Tatler, she has a fiance who recently served in Iraq, so she is superbly suited to that role. If you still had any lingering doubts, she has a great taste in clothes and poses in one of those dressy-things with a wonderful belt in the middle (Our fashion correspondent writes). Her hair looks great too. (You can tell I am an experienced husband - I know all the right phrases like "Your hair looks great")

Jeremy Brier is 27 years old and the PPC for Luton North. He will be our future Chacellor of the Exchequer, we are told. Even at such a young age, that is obvious. He chooses for his Tatler photo shoot a very natty suit featuring a pattern which I think is called "Houndstooth". He is a commercial barrister and an accomplished cook. Cooking is always an excellent skill to have as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has a double first in English from Cambridge. Need I go on? Give the boy the keys to Number 11 immediately. Why wait?

For those of you who still wonder why Mr Brier is destined to be our Chancellor of the Exchequer then wonder no more. The answer is there, glaring you in the face, in the last sentence of his Tatler CV:

Jeremy Brier.... quotes Middlemarch as his inspiration for social policy.

Middlemarch. It's obvious isn't it? That's what Britain needs. Social policies from Middlemarch.

Now let's be fair to Mr Brier. Although Middlemarch was based in 1830s Britain (1830-32 actually), its main character, Dorothea Brooke, is idealistic and well-to-do and starts the book engaged in schemes to help the lot of the local poor.

So that is just the ticket for Britain in the 21st Century, of course. Tried and tested do-gooding by the well-to-do for the poor. Excellent.

However, Hold on there! Against the wishes of her relatives, she actually marries Edward Casaubon, a middle-aged pedantic scholar who, she believes, is engaged on a great work, the Key to all Mythologies.

So there you are! We have a dreamer and an idealist as our future Chancellor!

Middlemarch also includes an idealistic doctor hoping for reform. So there is plenty of altruism in the book and even a comedic attempt by a character to enter parliament as a reformer. Perish the thought that our future Chancellor might actually see Gladstone or some other piffling woolly-liberal 19th century politician as his inspiration. Much better a book which includes someone failing - comedically - to get involved in sponsoring the Great Reform Act.

So put aside all negative thoughts of the period of 1830 to 1832 in which Middlemarch was set. Forget about the fact that slavery had yet to be abolished. Forget about workhouses for the poor. Forget the practice of employing children as workers. Forget sending "climbing boys" up chimneys. All these things are peripheral fripperies.

1830-32 and Middlemarch really represents, socially, the way to go.

Well done Jeremy Brier!

...And I take my hat off to the Tory stars of the future!

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