Saturday, 12 June 2010

Insults and Paranoia - A Little Something For The Weekend

Supermarket surgery this morning, and it's as bad as usual. Constituents who have nothing whatsoever to complain about - which is why they don't actually contact the office during the week - spot The Boss sitting under his banner in Tesco's foyer, while they're buying their weekly groceries.

Then they frantically rack their brains to dredge up any minor irritation to talk to him about, purely to be seen by their neighbours in the company of an MP, however unkempt and hungover said MP may look.

So today we have uneven pavements; puddles at the end of driveways; overgrown hedges, and litter. Each complaint will require me to write a letter to whichever is the most-relevant agency, and to send a copy to the constituent - together with a covering letter saying how nice it was to meet them. When we eventually receive replies from the County or City Councils, they'll be sent out with another personalised covering letter.

With the weather we've been having, there are four hazardous puddle complaints alone! Then there are all the beer-toting, polyester-clad, World Cup-crazed constituents who just want their photographs taken with The Boss, who insisted on wearing an England shirt this morning. There has to be more to life than this.

Taking me home at lunchtime, The Boss drives even more erratically than usual.

"Are you still drunk?" I ask.

"No," he says. "I have a lot on my mind."

I somehow doubt that, but I know a cue when I hear one.

"What's the matter, Andrew?" I try to sound as if I give a damn and, as usual, it works.

"Do you think I'm too trusting?" he asks.

"Um,  I don't know. Where is this going?"

"I think those shits in the local Party are out to get me again. I was set up at GC* last night." Andrew's eyes are looking like Mr Beales'. Here we go again.

"Set up how?" I say.

"Bastards wanted me to confirm that, now we're finally in opposition, I can - at last - be relied upon to toe the Party line. Outrageous. I think I may have to take steps to deal with them. I'm sure that swine Peter Carew is angling to steal my seat."

I don't quite know what to say to this. The Boss has recurrent bouts of paranoia anyway - like all the politicians I've ever met - but he doesn't usually look and sound quite so unsettled. I can't actually think of anyone in the Party - Pete Carew included - who'd have either the energy or the desire to usurp him, but then I don't share Andrew's longstanding belief that they'd all stab him in the back as soon as look at him.

"I don't want you or Greg talking to anyone from the Party from now on, Molly," he says. "Not even the staff - you can't trust any of 'em."

"But they're in the next office -"

He glares at me, and almost crashes into a woman with a pushchair, who's standing at a Zebra crossing. I decide it's safer to shut up, and live to enjoy what's left of the weekend. I'll deal with this latest lunacy on Monday.

In the evening, Max and I have dinner with Susie and David, to celebrate David's company having just been sold. For three million pounds. To give him his due, David does resist the temptation to remind me that I warned him he'd never make a penny if he set up a courier company, on the basis that the market was already saturated; but he does say,

" Molly, you are the biggest waste of potential I have ever known."

Honestly, David is supposed to be my best friend. Max says afterwards that I should have asked what David meant. I say I don't want to know.

*GC: General Committee, regular meeting of local Labour Party big-hitters, to whom The Boss has to present his GC report, explaining what he's been up to at Westminster. Usually drafted on a napkin from the buffet car during Andrew's journey home on Thursday evenings, and then given to me to decipher, completely re-write to remove all references to jollies, and then pass to Party staff to print and disseminate at the start of the meeting.

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