LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
8 March 2015
The More the Merrier

Be warned. I have lost the will to live. Being in a coma until the results of the May
election would be a blessing. Debating the debate about the debates is
excruciatingly boring and seemingly endless. Wait. Why not a beach? Surely a
better choice than catatonia. Wait. You’re Back in the Room could be a solution.
A new game show beginning next week where the contestants are hypnotised. I
don’t think Werner Herzog will be involved though. However, as there is no other
news this week, I’ll do my best.

"I think they're very useful." Who said that? Why it was Dave before the last
General Election in 2010 referencing the debates. Yes, this is the same
CallMeDave who declared the debates “vital to the democratic process in the
modern media age”. Oh Dave. You were so very modern in 2010. “They even
happen in Mongolia, for heaven’s sake, and it’s part of the modern age we
should live in…I think these debates are here to stay. They clearly engage
people in politics, which is what we need.” Did I mention how modern Dave was?

Time travel to 2015. PM CallMeDave has been attacking the BBC, Sky, ITV and
Channel 4 for letting the talks descend into “a mess". "I want us to have a debate
and so what I have done is unblock the logjam that I (am) think I’m afraid the
broadcasters helped to create…right let’s get on, let’s have the debate that I
think matters the most.” Oh dear, duplicitous Dave. Transparently duplicitous
Dave.

Since the first debates when Nick (Clegg) was crowned PM-in-waiting and CMD
was seen as utterly useless, CMD has tried to do the blame-game from his fear
of Nigel in 2014 when he insisted the debates   "predominantly should be about
people who have a prospect of becoming prime minister", then he demanded the
Greens be included and then the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party
in 2015. "I haven’t put hurdles in the way…it’s a matter of being “short of time.”  
All those dinners with donors taking up Dave’s time? Seeing the pattern here yet?

Dave’s diva act of tossing his toys out of the pram demonstrated by his refusal to
debate Ed and his agreement to take part in only one ‘group of seven’ debate as
long as it takes place in the week of March 23 (surely there were specific
instructions: time, tea breaks, fancy dress, language, etc) was delivered in a
letter from Craig Oliver, Dave’s director of spin communications. FYI Craig
Oliver, who set up objections to the debates repeatedly, used to edit the news at
the BBC and covered the 2010 elections. Don’t you wish you knew what they
are saying about Oliver at the BBC…hmmmm. Perhaps not.

This was delivered to Sue Inglish, who chairs the broadcasters’ leaders’ debates
committee. “This is our final offer (you read it right: our final offer!) and to be
clear, given the fact this has been a deeply unsatisfactory process and we are
within a month of the short campaign, the Prime Minister will not be participating
in more than one debate.” If you’re not rereading that missive in total disbelief
then you must be hitting your head with your hand or screaming into a cushion.

The broadcasters will have to ‘empty-chair’ Dave. Who will know the difference?
You know desperate Dave is an empty suit. You know it would be the most fun to
see Ed asking himself questions to which he answers himself. Dave. You’re
making ‘a mess’ of things. No surprise there. All we can hope for is an empty
podium…ha.

Oh enough. I’m totally ignoring the SNP threat, the crazy coalition combinations.
Really. Wake me when it’s over.


George Who?

Equally mind-numbing is Ex-Waity. According to the press (surely the Daily
Mail
– just guessing here) ‘the Duchess of Cambridge didn’t attend the Queen
and the Duke of Edinburgh’s banquet for the President of Mexico, which
included the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal and
the Duke of York’. Because she only speaks ‘royal’ and doesn’t speak Spanish?
Possibly.

Ex-Waity hasn’t attended a single state banquet. Gosh. You know you are
curious and you know you’ll never know exactly what her stratagem is. Once her
career path has been established, the heirs have been produced, the tiaras
fitted, she’s happy with her grey-covering hair dye, what else is there to do?
Oops. I forgot her love for shopping.

The Firm reminds us that Wills and Ex-W are not full-time working royals; “It’s
not for them to do yet”. Really. So what are they doing then? So we can expect
them to begin to ‘work’ in 30 years?

There is more. It’s not the meddlesome meddling Middletons again is it? Of
course it is. Prince Charles continues to moan about the ‘Middletonisation’ of
William’s life. Who wouldn’t?

Charles says Wills is spending an inordinate amount of time with his in-laws
Michael and Carole. Hmmm. Isn’t that why he married Ex-W? Charles is said to
have complained to friends about the so-called ‘March of the Middletons’: ‘They
never let me see my grandson.’ His grandson? Do you really think M&C see
George as his, unless of course it is to their royal-climbing advantage.

A source: “Carole has rather taken over, dictating when George naps, when and
what he eats. All in all, behaving like she’s Queen Carole.” Now how could this
be a surprise to the peasants. Peasants who care that is.

Most of William and Ex-W’s time is spent at their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall. I’m
disappointed. Kensington Palace refurbishment not satisfactory then?   Our £4.5
million donated to the charity not enough? Well. Ex-W was terribly demanding
wasn’t she.

‘The Middletons are frequent visitors and play an active role in the household.
They stayed there over Christmas, when William pointedly hosted lunch for them
on Christmas Day rather than eat with the Queen, as is traditional’.

Last month and only after five months at Anmer, Wills’ housekeeper and
gardener had abruptly quit. Evidently relieved, the couple have returned to their
previous jobs at Sandringham with their five year old son.

‘Staff have complained that Anmer is not run like a proper royal household. It is
too middle class.’ I’m surprised it functions on such an impressive level. M&C
have moved in to replace the couple. Perfect.

‘Sources’ say “Kate’s greatest fear is that someone in her house could be
spying on her. She knows the queen doesn’t fully trust her and staff members
are quite loyal to the queen. Kate would hate for them to tell her anything they
saw or heard.” Oh really? Like what exactly?

‘Sources’ say “Kate…has been ‘tetchy’ and can only be truly placated by her
mother – one of the many reasons why William is happily encouraging the
arrangement.” Funny how he seems rather unavailable a lot of the time. Losing
interest with her hair-styling schedule? He said it and I’m just saying. ‘Tetchy’?
Isn’t that a euphemism for – oh dear - ‘bitchy’?

‘Sources’ say "William is very happy to sit back and let Carole take up the reins.
She is ensuring that Anmer runs like clockwork. The nursery and staff will be an
oasis of calm and evenings will be sacrosanct for relaxation, sleep and
recovery.” Scary.

Scarier is that the Machivellian Middletons are considering buying a house in
Norfolk to be closer – if they ever move out. Are there really 100 rooms?

“The Royal Family — the Queen, in particular — are also upset that Kate plans
to move in with her mother after Prince George’s little brother or sister is born.
The duchess is allegedly ‘sticking to her guns.’ And the drama, or at least
speculation about it, shall continue.” Goodness gracious me. Problems in
paradise? A royal uproar? A future furore? Oh we do hope so.


Proper Dirt-free

Now for the fun bit. Finally. UK scientists have invented superpaint that never
gets dirty. Blimey! Think of it: windows, clothes, carpets, cars - everything.
Brilliant.  

Soap, sandpaper, scratching, stomping, biting are futile against titanium-dioxide
paint. Who knew? Once the surface has been coated it remains pristine. No
stains or dirt and the surface is – ready – self-cleaning. How amazing is this?
And it’s water-proof naturally. Potential stains can be shaken off. I know. You’re
saying OMG! WTF! Or really!

Head of chemistry at University College of London, Professor Ivan Parkin, who
led the team of scientists: “It makes surfaces so super-hydrophobic that it
causes water to form ball-shaped droplets that roll away.” All those carcinogenic
cleaning products will be useless. Corporate panic.

I know you must be so impressed. But if not, the paint is so strong that when the
coated bottoms of toy boats are floated, they sit higher in the water.
Alec Guinness would be so proud.
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