Friday, 25 February 2011

Bring Me Sunshine, Tequila and Phil Woolas's Security Pass

We had sunshine over Westminster today. It warmed my heart to see a bright blue sky over Big Ben. Anyway, enough of all that touchy feeling stuff. I can confirm that there was no vomiting or retching in the office today so it was a definite plus on yesterday.

Phil Woolas. Phil 'kicked out on his arse' Woolas was on the Parliamentary Estate today. I passed him just outside the Stranger's Bar mid afternoon and he had a few guests with him. Personally I don't think he should be allowed back in even to clear his desk let alone bring in guests and show off.

"Here's where I would have lunch...before I was barred from Parliament. Here's where I would vote...before I was barred from Parliament. And here's where my old boss, Ed gave me the immigration brief in the shadow cabinet...beforeIwasbarredfromParliament."

Poor sicky Ricky wasn't in today. In fact everyone seems to be coming down with something hungover at the moment. If I'm in the office on a Friday all by myself then chances are I am going to get bored and when Flick is bored drink is drunk. I've been meaning to try out the Speaker's chair...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Poor Sicky Ricky

We have yet another intern in the office. I would say that we've had as many new interns as Ed Miliband has had relaunches but that would be going too far.

Lets, for the sake of his privacy, call this intern Ricky. He is a lovely young chap from America and as they tend to be, he is very eager to please. So eager in fact that he came into work despite having food poisoning. I reminded Ricky that the boss was having a 'day of rest' and wouldn't be in and I wouldn't have given a Bill Wiggins if Ricky had called in sick or not. Looking back on it I really should have sent him home there and then but he seemed so keen. Silly me.
For two hours he sat there researching and groaning quietly. I offered him water and he said no. I offered him tea and he said no again. I offered him a bite of my coronation chicken sandwich and he throws up! My first reaction was to laugh...actually cackle is probably the correct term. I would have followed this with a "you better get some napkins and wipe that up" but he was already out of the room. This being only his second day meant poor Ricky had no idea where the gents were. He told me later that he had been seeking fresh air and not a private location in which to lose his breakfast.

So if anyone saw a young chap in a hoodie throwing up over the side of the terrace into the Thames today and he was accompanied by a bored blonde puffing away on a cigarette, that was us.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Recess: Felicity's Dos and Don'ts

  • Do keep a dictaphone in your desk drawer for the moment your boss makes a 'decision' because even though they never change their minds, they do in fact always change their minds. Evidence is key!
  • Don't joke to a hack that the boss isn't answering his phone because he's tied up and wearing a ball gag.
  • Do get your personal shopping delivered to the Parliamentary Estate because there's always someone to sign for it. If your boss is a union basher then be prepared for the deliveries to be somewhat scuffed.  
  • Don't say yes to any old workplace dare otherwise you will find yourself in a position where you have to buy a novelty tie as a birthday present for a senior frontbencher. Cue my exasperated sigh.
  • Do try to build friendships with the policemen on the Parliamentary Estate. At some point you'll drunkenly approach one of them after leaving the Sports and slur the words "Evening officer. Do you want to handcuff and pat me down?" They are less likely to take offence if they know you.
  • Don't bother setting up a 'We Love Fraser Nelson Club'. He is all too aware of his totty status and never responds to club invites. I'm not bitter.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Recess: Keep Buggering On

Recess is upon us once more like a spotty, infatuated intern who doesn’t understand the meaning behind “Get off me and get back in your corner!”  

This is meant to be a time of relaxation, contemplation and mid-afternoon tipples. Of course when you roll in at 10am to find the boss sitting at his desk, unshaven and moaning about coffee stains on his shirt then it's just another work day.

“Felicity, be a dear and take this thing to PICT and get it fixed. Oh and grab me a pastry from the Dispatch Box?”

Thirty minutes I spent in the Member’s Centre waiting for a chap from PICT to fix that bloody blackberry. It keeps breaking and the next time it happens I’ll just stamp a stilleto heel through the screen and request a replacement. I may not be able to get away with the destruction of a printer but a blackberry? Just watch me.

Frank Field MP is in my bad books today. There I was looking forward to buying whatever the heck passes for food in the Terrace Cafeteria and I suddenly find myself stuck behind a dozen people (mostly children) queuing up. Frank was handing out trays and completely oblivious to my hungry desperation. With my stomach growling, I left and went for a cig instead. That’s your fault Frank, I want you to know that.

It’s before 6pm and the boss has gone home. Oh screw it, I’m going home as well. I think a long bath and a bottle of wine is in order while I read some Clark. Just to confirm for my dear readers: Alan Clark. 

You didn’t think I would be reading anything of Ken’s now did you?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Guido Fawkes and My Derrière

Those readers who follow me on twitter will know that Thursday morning I raged against Caroline Spelman. I raged against her and the printer and every tree-hugging hippy the world over! Of course after watching her answer Denis MacShane’s UQ I felt somewhat sorry for her. That lasted for a short few moments until I remembered how much money she was likely on and I promptly stopped caring. I would never cut it as a ‘bleeding heart liberal’.

I must hunt down Mr Fawkes and buy him a drink or two for linking to this humble little diary today. No doubt a few individuals have had their curiosity pipped as to which Member of Parliament I work for. What can I say about my boss? He’s a right wing, epicurean old bastard who hates Europe but delights in slapping me on the arse when I have my head in the filing cabinet. Between you and me dear readers, I don’t mind the arse slapping. I pinched his bum at last year’s ‘Real Ale’ reception as he was taking a swig and it almost came out of his nose. We have an odd working relationship.

EDIT - It has been pointed out to me that MacShane's UQ was in fact on Bahrain and not forests. An easy mistake to make! I must take the time to pay more attention to what our friends on the opposition benches are saying.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Wednesday Ping-Pong Fun Time!

I came into work today to find picture of Ed balls printed, cut out and sellotaped around my PC screen. Surely that counts as bullying in the work place? I know of one MP’s office where the Member has pictures of Kelly Brooke on his desk and his staff have little cut outs of George Osborne. I won’t mention names but they know who they are.

The work experience lad wants to be an MP. This wouldn’t be a problem except that today he asked which party was in opposition. I fear for the future, I really do.

The Government Whip’s email about tonight’s vote came through. There were suggestions that Member's 'get their camp beds out' as they were in for a long night. ‘Fab Michael’ titled the email PING-PONG TONIGHT. I wonder how many MPs read that and went to that special pervy place in their heads. A lot on our side no doubt.

I tried printing out 153 letters today to respond to the forest lobbying. We could have sent emails but I wanted them to appreciate the point of the wasted paper. Of course the good old HP printers we all enjoy in these offices chose not to comply. Anything more than two pages at a time and we were greeted with a reboot. There was a brief moment when I considered telling the boss to leave the office while I ‘accidentally’ knocked the printer to the ground. By that I mean take a run at it and really put my body weight into pushing it off the desk. 
I didn’t take this option in the end. Instead I called PICT and requested an engineer visit...again. 

To the S&S!

EDIT:  Many thanks to Spellman for the forest u-turn. I now have to re-do EVERY letter!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Clowns, cats and Snakes

The Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain Parliamentary Reception... 
I read these word with tears in my eyes. I am praying for the place to be filled with clowns! Dear readers imagine the scenario if you will: someone working here has a fear of clowns and they are secure in the knowledge that they are unlikely to see the object of that fear in the work place and then BAM they turn a corner and there’s half a dozen clowns queuing up with visitor pass around their necks. I'll be keeping an ear out for the screams.

Getting a cat as a pet is quite pedestrian especially if the purpose of the pet is to kill other animals. Now a python would have shown character and creativity, not to mention supplying endless nob related gags. Dave might not be able to pull off a snake though, so to speak. It just wouldn't go with the sunbed tan. 
Perhaps it could live at No.11? Osborne would be far better suited for the whole dark lord persona. Just ask the unions.

The boss has banned us from saying ‘Larry the Cat’ in the office. Yesterday it was ‘Big Society’ and one can only imagine what tomorrow's banned phrase will be. I'll go with ‘Andrew Cooper’, our new Director of Strategy at No.10 and ex-SDP. Just shoot me!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Monday - The New Lad and his Shiny Hat

Managed to get the Work Experiance Lad to wear the crown long enough for a quick photo and a once up and down the committee corridor. No amount of bullying would get him to the Speaker's Procession it in. Damn shame because I reckon Bercow would have seen the funny side...

'Why do you have a crown made out of House of Commons embossed paper Flick?' I hear you cry. The answer is very simple: because sometimes politics is boring. Not often and not very much but enough to make you spend 15 minutes cutting out bits of paper and playing with coloured pens.

And of course drink was a factor. Never let me near a tube of glue and bag of glittler after a few shorts.

Did I receive any Valentine's Cards? Did I f**k. Clearly this drinking, smoking, dolled up cynic isn't everyone's cup of tea. I do hope the boss liked his.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

My Farm, My Rules

I made sure to send the new work experience lad a short email to lay down some ground rules before he starts tomorrow. It mainly consisted of the following: 
  1. The boss takes medication with lunch so pay no attention if he slurs or sways in the afternoon. 
  2. Don't throw away envelopes that come in the post. Money doesn't grow on trees.
  3. Always use envelopes referred to in rule 2. when sending internal post to Lib Dem Ministers or MPs.
  4. If I shout at you it is because I have just been shouted at.
  5. If I thow a pen or hit you with a ruler it is because you have not shown a sufficient level of fear at being shouted it.
  6. Never, ever question rule 1.
On Saturday I was called to the constituency to deal with a situation. Since some of you have been asking which constituency and by that I mean none of you, I thought I would post a photo.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

No Votes for Druggy Gnomes

The boss was in the office before me today which goes to show how busy it was going to be. The hacks were circling every MP in an attempt to get something juicy. I spotted Paul Waugh sprinting out of Moncrieff's at one point like he had scented blood.

It has already been tweeted by other sources but I heard today from a Member that Anne Main MP was visited by someone from No.10 this morning and told to withdraw the 'no prisoner compensation' amendment she had put forward. 

They do seem to be a little confused as to what they wanted out of this 'prisoner vote' debate. Dave was sick to his stomach but wouldn't give a straight answer at PMQs, some MPs were saying they were being nudged by Whips to rebel but then the Government line went out mid-afternoon by email to all Members, it was just as vague and wet as the PM had been. 
When I was in my teens I had a friend who tried sniffing aerosol cans and he told me he once hallucinated a garden gnome snowboarding through his bedroom window, flying round the room before melting in front of him while screaming the national anthem. He didn't touch the things after that and tended to leave the room whenever God Save the Queen came on the TV during a sporting event. 
However confusing or weird that little story might seem to you, I still think it makes more sense than Downing Street's game plan on the ECHR and prisoner votes.

I noticed this on Eye Spy MP today - Stanley Johnson seen eating a cheese sandwich in Bellamys with Neil Parish MP. Stanley has a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
I am gutted for not seeing him in person. Stanley Johnson is a legend if for nothing else other than helping to create Boris. Cripes!

This neatly brings me onto 'Hotties in the House' or as Guido likes to call it - Totty Watch. I will have to agree with some of chaps he has on there; Goldsmith, Mogg, Hancock and Kelly but what about Drax and Gummer from the new intake? Yes...I know. I discuss the important subjects here!

Derek wasn't in today but I know he somehow plans to attend tonight's staffers party. I wish him luck, especially as I hinted to the girls over lunch that he might have a little rash somewhere on his person. We have a new lad starting next week and I've already decided that the first thing he has to do is watch the Speaker's Procession through Central Lobby whilst wearing a crown. It's the little things in life.

Anyhoo the work day is over, the motion was carried and I now have to go and get my slap on for tonight. If this post doesn't go up until Sunday then you know I drank to much and cocked it up.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Speaker and Hangovers Do Not Mix

This morning was bad and I blame the two glasses of wine I had enjoyed when I got home last night on top of the four drinks in the Lord's Bar after work. There is only so long you can hide in the photocopy room before someone comes in and tries to make small talk. I must have looked a sorry state when buying breakfast in my sunglasses.

I decided that muting the television was best whenever Mr Speaker spoke during PMQs, partly for my hangover and partly because his voice grates to a point where a twitch starts below my left eye.
At least the boys were no longer trying to be all statesman-like and civilised this week. Most of us enjoy the rowdiness, it is what we tune in for every bloody week! The rest of the time the chamber is nothing but coma-inducing politeness so I do think Bercow should get stuffed.

Derek decided that today was the day he was going to get FAR too big for his boots. Readers will have seen my mentions of Derek before. The jumped up little squirt of an intern said “get on your saddle and go on down to the cafeteria to get me a coffee.” Firstly, it doesn't even make sense. Did he just randomly bring up saddle in some sort of reference to my arse? And secondly, I may be IPSA's bitch and perhaps there is the odd occasion where I do things for the boss when I can be bothered but I DO NOT take orders from the intern. I think it is time for Derek to seek experience elsewhere.


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Roulette, Balls and the Giant Orange Face of the Hoff

I do believe I have spent most of today playing ‘Phone line Roulette’. Surely you have all played the game? It’s where you call the House of Commons operators, ask for a certain department and get something completely random. The kind soul of an operator can hear the frustration and fatigue in your voice and thinks it will brighten your day to get the Member’s Centre rather than the Events team or the Stranger’s Dining room rather than Facilities. Oh the surprise of it all! 

I can't say I'm sorry I missed the Hoff on the Estate today. Now if it had been Steven Seagal well let me tell you.....I probably wouldn’t have cared for that either. 

The only time I raised my head from where I was slowly banging it against my desk was to either watch Daily Politics or Treasury Questions. I’ve been with my Member of Parliament long enough now to distinguish his ‘yeah yeah yeah’ from everyone else’s in the chamber. Worryingly it’s a habit I seem to be picking up myself whenever I agree with something someone has said. I’m told I do it a great deal when I’ve had a few drinks so I am clearly much more agreeable after a few shots.
The boss came back to the office after TQs and said Balls had been dreadful. Seems Balls and his PPS were the only ones trying to make any noise when Osborne was on his feet, the Labour backbenches were ‘detached’. Balls really will be the Son of Brown if he turns into a Billy-no-mates.

My clock says 18:20 - that’s bar o’clock in my book. 


Monday, 7 February 2011

Bricks, Cash and Hookers

Hello dear readers. Another week stretches out before us like a stretchy outy thing.

The highlight of the day for me, in terms of activity in the chamber was Education Minister John Hayes saying he had 'laid many bricks' at Lewisham College and 'without any great skill'. It was nice to hear so many MPs chuckling away with the same toilet humour I enjoy. Of course nothing is ever going to beat 'Accidental C**t Day'.

I walked past Bill Cash and Graham Brady complaining about lawyers at the top of the escalators in PCH and was about to whisper “sound” under my breath when my heel twisted and I very nearly collided with the chairman of the 1922 committee. Damn tiled floors! Why couldn’t they cover all of the atrium in green carpet like the House of Commons? Yes, the carpet fibers clump together to form large rolling balls of green yuck but the chance of breaking one’s ankle is seriously reduced! I managed to right myself and trot away without losing too much face.
Some will say that three inch heels are not ideal for a working environment but as my dear old gran used to say “If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you haven’t, find someone who does and flaunt them.” It may be this outlook that resulted in her being arrested as a brothel madam during the war. Dear granny, a business woman and free marketeer till the very end.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Jude Law, Sally Bercow and the joys of IPSA

Monday 31st January

So the day didn't start out great. It does not bode well for the week ahead when you manage to slam your face into a revolving door before 9am on a Monday morning. The beauty of the glass doors at the front of Portcullis House means that most if not everyone can see it happen. If they didn't then they sure as hell heard me swearing.

The boss arrived in the office around lunch time and proceeded to violate my desk with a 100 ratty bits of papers. I can only assume they were from his constituency meetings. I think anyone else would have accepted that their pen was on its way out but no not him! He kept writing notes until the only way for me to know what it said was to rub a pencil over the indentations. I consoled myself with pretending to be Indiana Jones for those few minutes.

Like all other staffers who are in any way attracted to a nice arse in a pair of designer trousers, I moseyed on down to clap my eyes on Mr Jude Law in the Atlee suit in PCH. Apparently he was here for a charity event rather than researching for a part he's playing. Sorry for coming across so crude so early but he can play with my parts any time he likes! Woof!

People will advise against going for a drink on a Monday night but as it’s by far the most stressful day of the week then surely it’s the idea time? Oh how I miss Bellamy’s Bar.

Tuesday 1st February

The boss had very sneakily slipped a twenty minute meeting in just before midday leaving me with the instruction to greet a school tour group. The horror! I don't mind saying hello to the constituents if it’s a small group of one or two but two dozen ten year olds? No, no, no!
When one young lad asked me if I had been there since Thatcher I was tempted to point at the child and shout out “terrorist”. Bloody cheek, I'm not even thirty yet.

There are many reasons to ring up Facilities and complain but saying “I’m getting splinters from the bottom of my desk and I fear the next one will spear my ball bag!” is quite original. My work colleague is nothing if not dramatic. Props to him however for getting a reference to his groin in just about every phonecall he has made today. They just can’t teach that in school.

I made the mistake of seeking peace and quiet in the Sports & Social before 2pm. I am not the sort to drink alone (not at work anyway) so our intern, Derek was dragged in with me. He's the quiet sort who will only drink orange juice but will then probably go home and drop kick his neighbour's cat over the fence. I have my eye on him.

Wednesday 2nd February

The highlight of the week, well in terms of chamber activity anyway was upon us but the weekly knock about was overshadowed by other issues. PMQs are one of the few times when we can be sure that the boss will be in the chamber. You can't guarantee it 100% though. I know a researcher who lost a bet and had to spend 30 minutes in the office, in his underwear and believed that PMQs would be the best time to fulfil said bet. Ridiculous error when you consider he could have just done it on a Friday.
Anyway I digress. Wednesday was all about trees. Effing forests and who was going to own them. Hundreds of lobby emails and letters covered every desk in our dingy little office. I must have had a dozen phone calls from people wanting to talk about 'asset stripping' which is sadly nowhere near as saucy as it sounds by the way.

Left the office around 19:30 and was nearly knocked on my arse by a Ministerial Jag. Can't the driver read? There are signs around that say 'DEAD SLOW'. That's not code for 'aim for the skirt crossing the car park'. My favourite pair of heels was scuffed as I jumped out of the way. No chance of claiming that on IPSA is there?

Thursday 3rd February

Claims were published today by IPSA. With their website crashing or freezing I was being told to call them. Pointless really as we should just wait for the hacks to have a look and come to us with the info.
IPSA BITCH! I typed this across the open word document a dozen or so times as I was left hanging on the phone to our darling IPSA friends. We are all IPSA Bitches now. I’ve stopped the boss calling them after the unfortunate incident involving him having a panic attack as they started asking him questions about stationary and town hall hire. Nothing throws suspicion over you like yelling “I’m too fragile for prison!” down the phone at an Independent Authority. I don’t know why he got so worked up, it’s all above aboard. Anyway, this is why I deal with it all now.

Derek has put in a complaint to the boss that he feels he’s being bullied. Just goes to show that the youth of today are thin skinned. You stick one little note to someone’s suit jacket that reads ‘Noakes’ next victim’ and suddenly we all have to discuss ‘workplace relationships.’ I know for a fact the boss couldn’t have given a rat’s behind about the whole matter but Derek’s daddy works in the Foreign Office...

Around 4pm the boss handed me an A4 printout of Sally Bercow in a sheet and asked me to file it away for the weekend. I don’t get paid enough for this crap.