It was a long and sleepless night for me last night. I was wracked with worry and fear. I simply couldn’t nod off despite the large liquid morphine nightcap that nurse brought round along with the bromide just before lights out. Unfortunately, being in traction, I am denied the pleasure of being able to toss and turn in my sleep so I simply had to lie on my back and make periodic pathetic moaning noises… but that’s another matter.
And what was the reason for this lack of sleep? Simple… there are a lot of workers in this hospital from all over the world and I was wondering how on earth I was going to be able to check all their passports to see if they are legally entitled to work here. I don’t even have a photocopier in my room to make copies of those vital visas and work permits. Am I committing an offence when that worker comes into my room to sweep the floor or mop my fevered brow? My overseas readers may not know that the Attorney General of this poor benighted isle has been caught red-handed employing someone not entitled to work in the UK. It’s an easy mistake to make… unless you happen to be the person who drafted the legislation in the first place. Ignorance simply won’t wash in this case
Of course, if I were a Government minister this wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem since the normal rules do not apply to our lords and masters. The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, does however seem to be the first cabinet minster to actually have had their collar felt has for breaking the law and received an eye-watering fixed-penalty fine of £5000 for not copying her Tongan housekeeper’s passport. I wonder what Clem Atlee or Hugh Gaitskill would make of the idea of a Labour cabinet minister employing their own Tongan housekeeper and, one assumes, other assorted servants, lackeys and houseboys.
While we’re on the subject of titles, I’ve been sitting here for some time thinking that I would quite like a title myself; preferably I’d like to be a Baron. There’s something really raffish about the title of Baron. It conjures up pictures of First World War German aces with impossibly long moustaches, having dog fights in triplanes and shooting down Sopwith Camels. There’s a certain cachet about it… well, there was until Baron Mandleson of of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and of Hartlepool in the County of Durham (why choose one location when you can have two?) spoiled it all by being made a Baron. However, I understand he may unbaron himself should he seek higher office if Gordon Brown ‘goes Gonzo’.
The advantages of being a Baron? Well, can you imagine ringing The Ivy and asking for a table?
“Good evening. I wonder if you might have a table for two for tomorrow night.”
“I’m sorry sir, the restaurant is fully booked for the next six months.”
“Perhaps you could possibly look again at your bookings? It’s Baron Traction of Blogtown in the County of Blogshire here, by the way.”
“Ah yes, my Lord. It would appear that we do have a last-minute cancellation that had escaped my notice.”
When I get out of here getting into the Lords is going to be my next project. If I’m unable to work then I’m going to do my best to bury my snout deep in the Westminster trough since it’s obviously a lot easier than trying to get Disability Living Allowance out of the Department of Work and Pensions.
And the subsidised food is great!