I got a letter from the Prime Minister yesterday. This is not an everyday event in the Hamilton household. This caused a stir of excitement. The Prime Minister! Writing to me!! Whatever could he want? He is a very important man, and here he was, taking the time to write to little me.
When I say take the time to write, the letter was in fact typed. This was no personal “black spider” correspondence type scenario. But it was signed. The personal touch there. Well, I say signed, closer inspection revealed that the signature was what some term a “facsimile” and other people call a “fake”.
Nonetheless the Prime Minister was writing to me, Jaime Hamilton. Which was how the letter started. “Dear Jaime Hamilton.” Using both my names. Not the cosiness of just “Dear Jaime” nor the more formal “Dear Mr Hamilton”. Even the man I spoke to the other week about cancelling my Sky gave me the choice. As I have never met the Prime Minister I guess this was a hard decision for him to make. I mean Jaime is a funny first name. He may not even know whether I am male or female. Tough call for the man. Not that Prime Ministers should be beyond tough calls. The funny thing is most correspondence I receive addressed “Dear Jaime Hamilton” are usually emails informing me of the fact that the sender has £17 million he has to move out of his country and, should I care to let it rest in my bank account for a few hours, I could keep the odd million or so. All I need to do is give them every detail of my bank account.
I was sure this letter was not going to be so full of empty promises and fanciful financial shenanigans.
So the letter began, in bold type no less, “The Conservatives’ number one priority in government has been to get Britain’s economy back on its feet.” This made me burst into a spontaneous round of applause. Not because of the sentiment expressed, but because of the impeccable use (and non-use) of apostrophes. Bravo PM.
I actually did not agree with the sentiment. I kind of think that the government’s number one priority should have been to keep me and my loved ones safe in a well organised, free democratic society. But my new penpal and I were not going to fall out about that.
Our Glorious Leader went on “We’ve come a long way since 2010. And now, thanks to the hard work and determination of the British people, we are making our way back:” I was beginning to get confused. We had come a long way and now we were turning round and heading back again? Was this a day trip to Whitby on a wet Thursday?
He wrote some more about the deficit, taxes and jobs. They were down, they were up, and when they were up they were up and when they were down they were down and if Miliband had his way they would be neither up nor down. Or something like that. And then “And the choice you face now is whether we stick to a plan that is working, or turn back”. Oh come on, Grand Old Duke of Chipping Comfort, you told me three sentences ago we are now making our way back having come a long way and now we have to decide whether to go back again? Make your mind up. One of your predecessors was famous for not turning. You, however, are making me dizzy. Are we going to Whitby or not?
The Prime Minister needed to move the correspondence forward. We needed to re-centre on our relationship. Concentrate on why it was that the PM had singled me out for this letter that also came with the personalised reference number CHEA6600024298. And was promoted by someone called Alan Mabbutt. I am not sure who Alan Mabbutt is or why he was promoting this billet-doux.
Now for the “ask not what can your country can do for you but ask what you can do to give me Chequers” moment.
Apparently, the Prime Minister told me, my constituency was one of just 23 the Conservatives need to win to keep Ed Milliband out of Downing Street. This confused me. I thought he needed 326 seats to get his majority. Turns out he only needs 23. Whatever the maths, this was his point “So today I am writing,” he wrote, as you may have guessed from the fact it is a letter and he used the words ‘I am writing’, but I digress, “to ask for your support to finish the job we have started.”
He promised me more jobs and better wages. This is where the spell was broken. He did not know me at all. He had no idea I was a criminal lawyer More jobs? Tell that to the hundreds of solicitor firms his Government is about to put out of work. Better wages? Cut after cut has decimated the professions.
So as he blathered on about Ed Milliband and Alex Salmond I really stopped reading. Because the best our Prime Minister could come up with to persuade me to vote for a candidate he did not even give a namecheck to, was the prospect of a Scottish bogeyman giving us Sassenachs another Bannockburn. I want vision. I want a fair society and a democracy that shines out to the world. I want better than “Our country simply can’t afford the chaos of a Miliband-led government with Alex Salmond pulling the strings for the next five years. The only way to stop that happening is to vote Conservative.”
Of course this is not the only way. The other way is to make sure everyone votes for someone other than a Conservative. If you want to know a bit more about that kind of thinking, sign up up with the Vote4Justice mailing list by clicking here. And consider how your vote impacts not just on big business, not just on the bottom line. But on society.
The letter that began “Dear Jaime Hamilton” was just another piece of correspondence that promised me untold riches if only I would help the author out with a spot of local difficulty.
My response “Dear Dave, Jog On.”