Public life whirls apace. Brexit; Trump’s Friday 13th date; Windrush and the thoroughly nice Amber Rudd under pressure; North Korea détente; Syria strikes. Where will it all end?
Yet people still seem to think that Parliamentary life is about not much more than the once a week piece of theatre which is PMQs. That ignores the 40 Committee Rooms which are busy morning, noon and night; it ignores the vast MPs’ overload of emails and office work and meetings; and the 10,000 or so people who work in the 2000 rooms in the Palace. ‘Do you have to go to London a lot?’ is a question almost as annoying as those who used to ask my clergyman father who was running a huge and busy Church “And what do you do for the other six days of the week?
So here’s the rest of my last week:-
Mon 23: Train to London in time for Defence Questions, then private session to read secret government security papers on cyber warfare. 2 hours quizzing cyber experts, a visit to a model of the Sir David Attenborough polar science ship which I have arranged to be displayed in the Committee corridor, then briefing dinner with Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, and late night drinks on Terrace afterwards.
Tue 24: Pigs and Poultry breakfast, then chair Westminster Hall debate on rough sleepers and homelessness. Justice questions, then meeting with delegation from Falklands and dinner to consider how to promote the eating of game.
Wed 25: Isaac Smith from Tytherton shadowing for day. Chair Committee stage of Mental Health Bill, PMQs, look into Countryside Alliance Rural Oscars in House of Lords, meeting with Minister about Lipodaema for a constituent from Great Somerford, tea with visitor from Falklands, drinks with Faroes Islands Foreign Minister in Travellers Club, then read extract from Lindbergh’s ‘Spirit of St Louis’ at RAF 100 service in St Clement Dane Church (to be broadcast shortly on Classic FM)
Thurs 26: Defra Questions, and Gove announces that electronic containment fences for dogs and cats will not be banned. Manufacturer in Minety will be relieved. Lunch with an old American friend, tidy up in office and train home
Fri 27: A morning at my desk, BBC Radio Wilts interview about Ashton Keynes School Walk to School campaign, record Sunday Politics Show, and a Quiz night at Sherston’s Rattlebone pub.
Sat 28: Surgeries in Calne and Royal Wootton Bassett and a grand dinner at Bowood Golf Club.
It’s a heterogeneous mixture of Parliamentary interventions (I try to say something every day one way or another), constituency work, and a wide array of interests, especially the military and the Polar Regions. Whether or not it has a huge and beneficial impact on the way Britain is run is often hard to say. But just as my Father was hyper-active all week, not only Sundays, at least no one can accuse me of being idle!