• Jean Rafferty


MEMORANDUM May 2020 From: Human Resources Department To: Prime Minister Dear Prime Minister, I'm flattered that you've taken my advice and called for a new slogan. Stay alert is a marvellous choice. I have no idea why people are so confused by its message - it puts the responsibility for health firmly where it belongs, on to the individual. If people are stupid enough to catch the coronavirus, despite all the measures we've put in place, then they deserve it. I exempt you from that charge, of course, Prime Minister. How were you to know that shaking the hands of covid 19 patients would pass on the virus? After all, Princess Diana shook plenty of AIDS patients' hands and didn't get it, did she? And it does confirm our previous slogan, We're all in this together. A Prime Minister who can catch the virus is clearly a man of the people. But a special man, who has escaped the grip of this illness and become a superhero.

Your address to the nation was magisterial, a masterly performance in conveying information about ... well, I'm not entirely sure what, but rest assured you spoke magnificently. Only the ungrateful could have failed to be reassured. May I commend you in your choices. Marvellous for people to be able to go golfing again or play basketball with other members of their household. I can't see myself persuading Babs to shoot a few hoops in the back garden though perhaps you and Carrie will tear up the lawns at Number 10.

But to be able to meet members of your family at a six feet distance in the park, what a gift, PM. I suppose they could have done this at any point on their daily exercise but still, a reassertion of the family values you and your various households are famous for.

As I said in my last letter, PM, you are a National Treasure and I would like to propose a new brigade of National Treasures who embody the fighting spirit of the British people and who would step in to fill the breach when NHS fundraisers like Captain Tom and that skipping Sikh chappie give up. Not just yourself but people the public already love, like that lady who knitted a model of the prom at Great Yarmouth or all those acting Dames. You know, old biddies like Dame Judi and Dame Maggie and the sexy one, Helen, who really is quite a Dame, if you ask me.

We'd leave out Dame Emma, of course. Bit too much of the luvvie leftie, though how she can claim that when she has at least three houses, I don't know. Bad form if you ask me, especially that one in Venice. Everyone knows if you have a house in Italy it has to be in Tuscany.

It's a pity Nicola Sturgeon, or Nicola Poppins as we call her in the department, is a jock. She's more than a National Treasure in Jockistan - they've made her into a cult figure up there. It seems quite unfair to me, PM, that she should have a higher approval rating than your own when she's adopted the same policies as you have yourself - stopping community testing when you did, only now putting tracing officers in place, not ordering PPE from those firms who keep coming forward to claim they've offered to make it for us. (As if we'd order from them when we can get it much cheaper from China or Turkey.)

And she's keeping the lockdown in place longer than we are. You'd have thought the whingeing jocks would rebel but I suppose there's nothing more seductive than being told what to do by a bossy woman with good legs.

No, there's no gratitude if you ask me. Here we are, giving business a huge boost by paying 80 percent of their employees' salaries, yet some of them are still threatening to go bust. People are being paid a lot of money to sit around at home and enjoy the sunshine, yet they're not prepared to do anything in return. One doesn't expect the doffed cap and tugged forelock nowadays (though perhaps there would be less social unrest if one did) but there has to be some give and take. We beaver away in government trying to provide opportunity for people and what do they do? Refuse to go fruit picking, even when there's the added bonus of farmers offering them jolly good beds in dorms. It's not as if we're Singapore, cramming them in 20 to a room, without natural light or sanitary conditions. Some of our farmers actually offer caravans with only three or four people in the space.

I really don't see why people should object to living on site. Didn't do us any harm living away from home at Eton, did it? I don't suppose it's exactly the same as we had our own rooms in the dorms, but you pay for what you get, surely? Nicola Poppins can go down the universal basic income route if she wants but we need to preserve the natural order. We're not Communists, after all, we're the party of business and must continue to bear profit in mind as we move forward into the biggest recession this country has faced in 300 years. A recession not of our making and one we will need to face with typical British grit and stiff upper lip and all that.

You are giving us a brave new world, PM, with people cycling to work (apart from the hundreds on every patform of the London Tube) and construction going on till nine o'clock in the evening in residential areas. I suppose some NIMBYs will object but we all have to make sacrifices to get the economy on its feet again. If you can come to special terms with the Frogs and put up with them coming and going into the country at will, then the general public can put up with the odd digger or cement mixer when they're trying to watch porn. Yours, Jeremy Images courtesy of Pixabay