|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
22 July 2016
Labour leader contender, South Wales MP Owen Smith has followed ex-
Conservative contender Andrea Leadsom’s ill-conceived lead. Hmmm. Another
religious fanatic who takes instructions from God? Oh dear God, no. Hmmm.
Who would vote for anyone who claims to be a ‘normal’ family man. Oh right;
‘normal’ family men. ‘Normal’ being a euphemism for not gay? Oh dear God,
surely not. Not directed at the other contender, Angela Eagle? Surely not.
The clearly lacking in – oh say – charisma, gravitas, humour, etc – former
shadow work and pensions secretary Owen told Sky News: “I’m glad you think
I'm normal. I am normal. I grew up in a normal household. I’ve got a wife and
three children. My wife is a primary school teacher.” How much more normal
can you get then? Normal enough to send his audience into a mass coma.
Hmmm. I’m thinking a creative, clever contender would be good. Oh right. That
was the now usurped Angela. Perhaps it’s just me, but I am not warming to this
guy – at all.
“I am my own man” Owen told the Standard. An aide reassured Angela’s
supporters: “He was just trying to say that he is an ordinary person, proud to live
and represent his own community in Parliament.” More ‘ha’ than ‘hmmm’. Ha.
OK. Ok. An ordinary, normal, own-man. ‘Ordinary’ like a lobbyist for
pharmaceuticals? Really? Owen has been accused of supporting the
privatisation of the NHS while he worked at US giant Pfizer; which he denies as
you do. Pfizer was fined $2.3bn
Leaving Pfizer after five years, Owen worked as PR chief for biotech firm,
Amgen, which was hit with a $762m fine for illegally promoting the drug to
patients suffering from cancer that increased the likelihood of their deaths. Not
looking good is it?
The whistleblower also claimed that Amgen systematically overfilled vials of the
drugs which enabled doctors to “pool” the excess amounts. Not looking good for
the normal guy is it? Oh this is all getting so depressing. Owen said he never
tried Viagra: “No I haven’t actually. I haven’t needed it.” Clearly his own man.
OS didn’t know whether he would have voted for or against the Iraq war. (this
having been a problem for Angela who voted for it). But back to the normal
denials. He’s denied having planned a Labour leadership coup. Not so
according to others.
Unaired footage from the ITV Wales General Election debate in 2015, Owen tells
Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru, that she was only invited to appear on
Question Time because of her gender; “I think your gender helps.” OK. Now I
really don’t like this normal guy.
Ordinary Owen has reassured us he is "just as radical" as Corbyn. Wait! How
does that square then? Ordinary, normal guy is a radical? Really?
A source close to Jez told The Guardian that Smith will be "an easier beast to
fight" than Eagle. Sadly Angela had to withdraw. Jez surely will ultimately win the
position and lose any future election against the dug-in Tories – forever and
ever. Owen has hired a leading corporate lobbyist who works for Pfizer to run
his leadership campaign.
There’s more: OS has hired a former senior member of Jez’s inner-circle, Neale
Coleman, to be his chief policy adviser. In what is seen as a significant
defection, Coleman left his job role in January due to the “pressures and
demands” on his family life. Ah politics…. What’s not to love?
Biting Boris Back
Previous buffoon-playing-Boris tries to play it straight. Well, he tried, but he was
not having an easy time of it. At his first official press conference at the Foreign
Office with US secretary of state John Kerry, Boris’ various insults came back to
haunt him – well, slap him in the face really. Boris was trying to re-establish the
special US-UK poodle-relationship.
Boris will be sharing a 17th century mansion with Brexit flatmates Liam Fox and
David Davis. No worries, there are 115 rooms to play hide and seek in and
3,500 acres to romp around on. No tears for Boris, but tears for us. We will be
paying £2,000 per day (per day!) when BoJo is in London. This requires a Boris
However, Georgie-Boy (ex-Chancellor now) has not only been unceremoniously
demoted, his office has been as well. He has been relegated to the fourth floor in
less desirable Portcullis House where he will take residence in the room
previously used by Boris. Note how all this is coming together here. Blimey!
One PCH veteran revealed: “It’s a shit office. Really, really woeful for a former
Chancellor…Osborne’s new one is absolutely woeful. Honestly, it’s shit.” Blimey!
OK. OK. I’ll stop. It’s next door to the photocopying room and has a view of the
back of an office block. B****!
Third Time Lucky
Third time lucky? Mum Carole must be close to terminally thrilled. Now Pippa has
finally done it. She’s marrying the richest man she could find. I’m thinking hedge
fund millionaire manager James Mathews and Pippa look surprisingly alike. No?
You possibly are familiar with the groom’s brother, reality TV personality,
Spencer – who ‘dabbled’ in coke and acid - who has slept with more than 1,000
women. Who counts? Creepy. Oh the Firm must be so pleased. Well, actually
they might be. According to The Express, Pippa will become Lady Glen Affric.
No really. Did I say third time lucky? Did luck have anything to do with it?
James’ father, David Matthews, or the Laird of Glen Affric, owns an historic
castle and a massive 10,000-acre Scottish estate in the Scottish highlands which
James will inherit. Pippa’s title will be Mrs Matthews of Glen Affric the younger.
Oh it just couldn’t get any better could it? I’m thinking she won’t be keeping her
The former mechanic, Matthews acquired the hereditary title when he bought the
estate in 2008. An Australian art historian, Michael Reed, uncovered the
connection – you know – mechanic + title, saying that the Matthews family
“know how to play the royal game”. Ah. So. Pippa and James: cut from the
same cloth then. As for the noble Scottish cloth? The name does come with its
own red and green tartan. Oh dear. Are we thinking an imminent book on – oh
say – titles and tartans and how to acquire them?
Announcing the wedding, The Standard reminded us of Pippa’s exemplary
writing skills with an excerpt from her unsuccessful book, Celebrate, where she
thinks outside the box: “A well-wrapped gift helps express how much thought
you've put into it (not what’s inside then)…but don’t forget to remove the price
tag (only the nouveau riche). To achieve a perfect bow on the top (not the
bottom – I know – a reference to the other Middleton wedding….), ideally the
present should be a box shape.” Of course you remember because surely you
took notes. You certainly wouldn’t give a thoughtful present that wasn’t a proper
box shape would you? Would you? Such as the £250,000 engagement ring
James presented to Pippa? Classy.
The Real McCoy
OK, it’s the real McQueen. If you loved him when he was alive, you can carry
him now that he is dead. Alexander McQueen will be a handbag. What?
A London fashion student, Tina Gorjanc, has plans to create leather handbags
using McQueen’s skin. OK, leather is skin of a sort, but really? The DNA will be
retrieved from his hair. Skin…hair…hmmm. I’m thinking ‘ew’.
Are you wondering how much of the handbag would be his skin? Not simply the
handles – the entire bag. Did I say ‘ew’? The sample of hair was ‘left in a coat
used for an early work’. What early work exactly?
The student is filing for global patent rights. She has permission from McQueen’s
representatives. She has worked with a laboratory. Her inspiration? McQueen
was “always pushing boundaries”. Hmmm. McQueen committed suicide in 2010.