Dear Mr Arbuthnot,
I was shocked, stunned and not a little saddened to learn, courtesy of the BBC television programme “Have I Got News For You”, that Ann Widdecombe has a cat that bears your name.
Would you please assure me and my fellow constituents that we are not going to be subject to an unpleasant news splash in the Sunday People or some such publication in the coming weeks, which would bring opprobrium on the inhabitants of North East Hampshire? I need hardly remind you that this is Jane Austen country. Even when Ms Austen wishes to shock us episodes such as Lydia Bennet’s indiscretion are not explicitly described.
If you were fortunate enough to spare a few minutes away from your busy schedule to view the television programme in question, you would have witnessed Ms Widdecombe calling out “Arbuthnot” in a manner not dissimilar to that used by the heroines in the genre commonly referred to (but not in North East Hampshire) as “bodice rippers”. I had to set aside the organic vegan eccles cake that I had been enjoying up to that point, and urgently have a little lie down.
I shall be posting this missive on the Kingsley web log, and on my own much more widely read (it has one reader) web journal.
I look forward to your urgent and completely rebuttal of any inferences that may be drawn from this serious and disappointing revelation.
Yours eagerly, (although not in the Widdecombe sense)
V. Scurra.I am pleased to report that I received this reply:
Dear Mr Scurra,
I am sorry, but I can give you no such assurance. Ann Widdecombe (I am not sure I share your courage in calling her “Ms”) and I have been in discussions about this cat for some years now, and she keeps me regularly updated about its progress, but I have never met it, and I cannot answer for its behaviour. If, for example, it were found doing awful things in the bushes with neighbouring females, or began to slaughter all the nearby wildlife, I would have to bear the reflected publicity with such fortitude as I could muster.
Or perhaps you were suggesting something more? Again, I am not sure I share your courage.
Yours sincerely,James Arbuthnot
Let this be a warning to all of you young Che Guevaras and Reg Pithers out there. Do not get close to your political opponents, you might find yourself getting to like them.