Saturday, 25 July 2009

No,it's not a holiday,ok!

ON July 21st, two important events occurred in the Parliamentary calendar. Firstly,my jocular office jester, Basil, turned 21. Secondly – and not because of this—MPs left Westminster to spend the next few months in their constituencies. Unfortunately, many journalists haven’t a clue what a “Parliamentary recess” is. Some reported that 647 MPs were “going on holiday!” I got quite excited and thought they knew something I didn’t – like a big MP trip to Ibiza… but then I realised that these ill-informed scribblers thought that summer recess was a holiday. In fact, summer recess is all about MPs spending time with our constituents — the people we’re elected to represent. Normally, our work is split between dealing with problems “on the ground” in our constituencies and raising issues with the government at Westminster. “Recess” is time dedicated mainly to our constituencies. It’s all about visiting nursing homes, opening summer fetes, dealing with blocked drains, meeting hospital bosses, , tackling refuse problems and dealing with all the other stuff people want MPs to fix. This leaves some, but in fairness, not all, reporters who hang around the Palace of Westminster at a loss. And it causes MPs to ask one obvious question: What do Parliamentary journalists do over the summer? Go on holiday? Surely not…
HRH Queen Elizabeth invited me over to her place—or “palace” to be precise— the other day, for tea and a sandwich. I turned up eagerly . . . together with 5,000 other people. It was a right royal honour to be there, especially rubbing shoulders with the likes of Prince Charles and his rather charming other ’alf, Camilla. As I stood there, I remembered an argument I’d once had with someone who basically hates the royal family. She made fun of my support for this fine institution. When I pointed out that she’d been there more often than I had, she said: “I’m, fighting the system from the inside.” How? Did she intend to bankrupt them by drinking all their tea? Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, the Queen’s doing a marvellous job and long may she reign. After that, Charlie will be a cracking king. And as for those pesky republicans—to use a quaint old phrase —“off with their heads!”
SIXTY-FOUR years after the war ended, it turns out the “bomb-proof” bunker from which Churchill led Britain’s forces is not bomb-proof at all! As headcase Hitler crept around under thousands of tonnes of concrete in his secure Berlin dug-out, Winston’s bunker in London’s Cabinet War rooms offered about as much protection as a camouflaged camper van. The revelation comes from a letter that goes on display to the public for the first time next month. It reveals that Churchill was pretty hacked off to find he was at risk from German bombs. But Britain’s bulldog premier still chose to stay in London. Perhaps that’s why he smoked all those cigars — there was so much smoke coming out of the vents, that the Germans thought they’d already scored a direct hit!
OH I do like to be beside the seaside. Hats off to Thanet Council in Kent whose plucky councillors are helping to boost tourism in Margate by bringing back the town’s saucy seaside past with a sexy burlesque show. They’re shelling out £30,000 to entertain visitors and “hark back to those saucy seaside postcards of the 1950s”. Some people say it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. But if the councillors can help tourism in these tough economic times, then what’s the harm? As an added boost, Thanet could team up with Daily Sport stunna Siobhan Fisk. She’d bring in so many visitors eager to buy those postcards, that their top
shelves will be as bare as her’s.

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