A RED-LETTER DAY
I got a letter from David Cameron two days ago. It was a red-letter day for me. In fact, the letter wasn’t just red it was well read. David Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This is the first real letter that I ever got from a Prime Minister.
I once got one from Patrick Manning, my former schoolmate, but it did not count. I had written to him after he became Prime Minister in 1991 and warned him that we were in an era of one-term governments mainly because people prefer to change their governments than their lifestyles and so to impose harsh “belt-tightening” policies was not a good idea.
Also, that the communications strategies that are used to win elections are not what should be employed when a party becomes the government and wants to retain power. My view is that you have to use less media and make more direct contact with people. Mr. Manning had his Permanent Secretary write to me, thanking me for my advice, but making it clear that he expected and had every intention to rule for two terms or more.
Interestingly, he subsequently called an early election and lost in less than one full term. Some people described Manning’s loss of power as the “end of an era”. Others pointed out that the spelling should be corrected. The fourth word in the phrase should not be “era” but should really be “error”.
So what did David want from not-so-little old me? It turned out that he did not want anything but was actually giving me something – lots and lots of money. The letter, which ostensibly came from his office at 10 Downing Street, sought to “officially” inform me that MasterCard Number 5454 7168 0041 0640 has been accredited “with” my favor and gave me a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to withdraw the fantastic sum of £2,000,000.00 “Great British” Pounds Sterling in maximum daily installments of £10,000.00 GBP daily from any ATM or VISA Card outlet in the world including Zimbabwe where an egg once cost ZW$50 billion.
But then my new found benefactor Dave passed me on to his Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Right Honourable George Osborne, who would take time off from all the meetings on the Euro to talk Turkey with me. He is a hard man and there’s no “Greecing” his palms, so to speak. Before processing my MasterCard, George was demanding a whole slew of personal information possibly to ensure that the money was in the hands of the right person and not some miserable columnist unable to survive on the pittance paid by Caribbean newspapers.
Then Dave warned me to take notice to stop further communications with any other person(s) or office(s) different from the staff of The UK’s Economic and Finance Ministry to avoid hitches in receiving my payment.
I decided to call Dave to find out from him why he had given me so much money when there are so many Somalians forced to resort to piracy and kidnapping to make ends meet. The line was faulty and the British accent was even more clipped than usual so at first I thought the reason he could not talk to me was because he was having a catnap.
Then I thought there was some kind of political catastrophe. Finally I found out that he was having cat problems that overshadowed even his rumble with his partner in coalition, Nick Clegg, over the Eurozone crisis.
No 10 Downing Street, the traditional home of the British Prime Minister, has seen its share of scandals including the resignation of Andy Coulson (formerly of The News of The World) as Dave’s Communication Chief because of his alleged involvement in phone hacking. Before that there was the famous “Downing Street Memo” (DSM).
The memo records a secret meeting of the governing Labour Party’s bigwigs held at No. 10 on July 23, 2002, during which the head of the British Secret Service let the cat out of the bag about Gulf War Two. He revealed that a recent visit he had paid to Washington DC convinced him that Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). His view was that the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
However, unlike Blair, Dave was dealing with a real cat. Several newspaper headlines shrieked, “Cat at Number 10 Downing Street embroiled in mouse-related scandal.” The story, though simple, revealed the sad state of affairs at No. 10. Poor Dave is under siege and is being bombarded to demand the resignation of the official mouse catcher, a cat named Larry, because he has apparently fallen down on the job and allowed an uninvited mouse to appear at a recent government dinner.
It seems that Downing Street got the 4-year-old Larry from a shelter or home and brought him in last year to help combat a growing rodent problem after TV broadcast cameras caught the image of a “large rat” promenading through the seat of British government. Fortunately for Larry, his strike rate is 75 (he caught three and seems to have missed one).
Dave’s posture is now one of loyalty to Larry and he has made it clear that Larry brings a lot of pleasure to people and would remain on the job. Poor Larry. When a politician under fire to fire someone gives that person a vote of confidence, it is a death knell.
Worse, some Republicans are saying that the fact that Larry allowed himself to be stroked by Obama shows that he may not have been born in Britain and is a security risk. For all you know he might be Persian and since Persia is now Iran, he might actually be carrying a WMD (Weapon of Mice Destruction) in his collar..
There is a moral of sorts in the story. First of all, beware of Nigerians offering gifts even if they’re named Dave Cameron. And if they’re offering money, tell them to use it to build a better mousetrap because if Ralph Waldo Emerson is to be believed, the world will beat a path to their door. Closely following the world will be the police of several continents itching to lock them up.
*Tony Deyal was last seen saying that there might be some political significance to Dave’s spelling of his residence as “10 Drowning Street”.