Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Junior Whip: "A hell-raising street-fighter"

My 12th Whipped column for Ad Lib magazine.

It was when I heard the Chief Whip was giving up hard drink for a month that I sensed change was in the air.

“It’s called ‘Go Sober for October’,” he told me. “People sponsor you to give up alcohol for a month and the proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support.”

“But what if you have to give a backbencher a bol… you know, tell them off?”

“That’s easy. I’ll sit them down, tell them a few home truths and then offer them a stiff orange juice.”


Two days later I was in the office when a SPAD burst in.

“The Chief Whip is leaving! The Chief Whip is leaving! He’s going to save the Union.”

“What? Like Unison?”

“No, not the union: the Union. The United Kingdom. He’s taking over as Secretary of State for Scotland and he going to sort out Alex Salmond. The papers say he’s “tough,” a “bruiser” and .

“That’s a bit kind, isn't it?”

“They don’t know him like you do.”


It was a shock to me, though probably not as much as it was to Alex Salmond. And certainly not as much as it was to Michael Moore.

I am going to have to find a new job here at Westminster. You may think that will be difficult, but I don’t see it as much of a problem. Because this morning I finished copying out the last few pages of the Chief Whip’s black book.

They are not the only souvenir I am taking with me from the office.

Seeing as it is for such a good cause, I wouldn't want the Chief Whip to fail in his attempt to Go Sober for October. So I am taking his bottle of Auld Johnston home for safekeeping.

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