Monday, 12 July 2010

Stones, Glass Houses, and Reckless Behaviour.

Get into work this morning to find The Boss has been in over the weekend, and has left his supermarket surgery "notes" on my desk. (It also looks as if he's searched all the drawers, but that's another story.) I wish he'd told me he was going to do this, as at least then I wouldn't have had to spend Sunday boiling to death at home, with all the windows and curtains closed.

I pass the notes straight to Greg, as it's his job to do this lot of surgery letters, now that he's finally started to take his turn to accompany Andrew to the damn things. He looks incredulous when he sees The Boss' notes.

"These aren't from Saturday's surgery," he says.

"How can you tell?" Surely there hasn't been enough time for him to decipher Andrew's handwriting yet.

"Says 'Asda' at the top," says Greg. "We were at f*cking Tesco, for Godsake."

"Read on." I can't really be bothered with this, as I am ploughing through the weekend's emails, and still have the crazed answer-phone messages to tackle.

"Oh, wait - yeah, I recognise some of these names. But look at this!" Greg shoves a handful of A5 sheets of paper at me. All bear the House of Commons crest, and are covered in hieroglyphics.

"What the f*ck?" The Boss has obviously lost his mind. He has decided to draft the follow-up letters himself, presumably because he has forgotten our long-standing - and very necessary - agreement that only Greg or I write letters. Not Andrew. Ever. The drafts make The Boss appear semi-literate, or as if he has absolutely no idea of what the constituents were talking about. This is emphasised further by the fact that they bear virtually no relation to Greg's comprehensive notes from the same surgery.

"Just ignore them, and write your own," I say. "It is our duty to stop him making an idiot of himself, after all." I refrain from mentioning that I will still have to check Greg's versions before they are posted. I might as well do everything myself!

The Boss phones shortly afterwards to check we've received his notes. Don't know why he'd think we hadn't, as he'd left them right on top of my keyboard, but I humour him.

"Yes, thanks," I say.

"Got the drafts, too?" Andrew is clearly bursting with pride at his achievement. "Cases were so straightforward, thought I'd help you guys out."

This is hardly an accurate reflection of the truth, but I let it pass.

"Hear about Mark Reckless? F*cking idiot." The Boss can hardly contain his delight. "So pissed he couldn't vote. Typical bloody Tory. Lightweights. I can vote no matter how much I've had."

"Yes, Andrew, but you have occasionally forgotten how you intended to vote," I say.

"Not 'cause I was drunk! The bastards change the wording of Bills and add amendments to catch you out. I can't always be expected to notice that."

"Well, the Press and the Whips don't appear to have any trouble keeping up with it," I say. "And I am really, really hoping that it wasn't you The Mail quoted bragging about old-timers being able to handle their drink?"

"Anything else you need me for?" he says. "No? Got to go then. My mobile will be off for a bit."

Can't help feeling that the whole thing with these drunken newbie MPs was an accident waiting to happen. Half of them haven't got round to appointing their staff yet, and those who have probably used the jobs as rewards for their keenest campaigners, or the most-fanciable members of their local parties. They'll live and learn. Even The Boss admitted that he realised quite quickly that he needed staff who would tell him the brutal truth - that's how I got my job. Mind you, he still doesn't seem to have worked out that he also needs a minder in Parliament. I spend half my life trying to get Carlotta and Marie-Louise to tell me exactly what interviews he's giving during the week, what else he's up to, and whether he's been properly briefed. Worryingly, they rarely know. That's when they actually answer the damned phone.

One good thing about a heatwave is that most of the usual suspects don't seem to have the energy to phone us today, despite all the ammunition they've been handed by the Sunday papers. Though that doesn't mean that I am spared from listening to demented moaning, as Greg spends the rest of the day ranting about his taxes funding the subsidised alcohol in the House of Commons bars. If his personal taxes stretch to single-handedly funding everything that he claims they do, he must be earning more than the bloody bankers. He wants us both to get blind drunk before work on Friday, and then challenge The Boss to fire us for gross misconduct when we are incapable of doing our jobs, and have to lie down in the Oprah room for the rest of the day.

He prints the Daily Mail article out and sticks it on the wall, then gets distracted by the comment in it about the Sloane Rangers that the Tories are alleged to have brought in as their Parliamentary researchers. He can't see how Sloane Rangers are any less qualified for the job than any of The Boss' long line of researchers have been. If you collated their photographs, it'd look like a line-up for Miss World, with almost every nation represented, if not every shape of leg.

Now I have to go home and decide whether I am speaking to Max or not. Shame he doesn't have a minder, as I am not at all convinced by that itinerary. The French looks positively schoolboy. Or schoolgirl.


  1. Those who love you ....12 July 2010 at 19:48

    ... or your blog, anyway. How do you keep it up? Daily updates! Keep going - we love it.

  2. Aw, my life suddenly feels worth living ;-)