Anna’s latest email drops into my inbox, and she is not full of summer joy. Nope,she’s livid, prompted to write due to some ‘nasty and untrue’ stories about her in the press. Worry not, she’s not taken umbrage to my profile on her from a few weeks past, but rather a recent piece (well, not so recent, I’m still without Broadband so have to write this on parchment with an inked emu feather before tying it to a carrier pigeon who flies to a morse coder who taps it out to man with a BT Online account) that featured in that paragon of hate-journalism, The Mail on Sunday. A veteran Tory MP stuck up an article within the paper’s fetid pages, hiding behind an ‘Anonymous’ by-line, criticising the new intake of Conservative MP for being ‘cliquey…with ‘born to rule’ attitudes’ as well as Cameron sycophants, careerists and toadies. I suppose this is in contrast to the red-cheeked, belly-bloated, porto-drenched grandees that spent the last thirteen years moulding grooves into the opposition benches with their over-sized arses. And who particularly attracts the fire-and-brimstone of this furious Tory:why, its our Anna, who he singles out as a perfect example of the vulgarity of the 2010 intake. I quote:
“From the day Anna arrived in Parliament, her zealous enthusiasm for every dot and comma of Cameron’s Tory modernisation programme has been painfully obvious. A female MP told me rather harshly it doesn’t help that Anna ‘looks as if she is sucking on a lemon’.Anna seemed to blame Mark for effectively putting Tory MPs on the spot in a Commons vote on banning animals in circuses. Mark is passionate about animal welfare. But Cameron couldn’t stomach the thought of a backbencher having influence over Government policy, even one as minor as circus animals – though a ban has 92 per cent public support. The word went out from No 10: ‘Kill Mark.’ Perhaps it is sheer coincidence that Anna is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health, who is a close personal friend of Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin and was also a long-serving whip prior to becoming a Minister.”
That’s got to hurt. Leaving aside the bizarre reaction Cameron had towards the issue of circus animals (why lay down a three-line whip and throw threats towards dissenters and job offers to line-toers, and oppose a non-political, hugely populist piece of legislation: is he secretly the bastard son of P.T.Barnum?), Anna’s evidently trod on a few (Hush Puppied?) toes. Could Ken Clarke, now being roundly savaged by the Murdoch press for displaying some rare pragmatic good sense, coming to realise Anna is no mere protegé, but a Macbeth? I dug around on a couple of prominent Conservative blogs – I really suffer for you lot, I hope you realise – to try and see what the rumours were saying, but alas rumours are all to be found.Yet Anna’s ambition, coupled with her slender majority, must make the safe-seat of Rushcliffe look like a juicy prize, if only the incumbent can be persuaded to slope off to spend more time with his money.
Anna was quick to deny these allegations, claiming she was always against the use of animals in circuses, and supported the ban, and would immediately adopt an elephant who would accompany her everywhere like a faithful sheepdog (some parts of the last sentence may not be wholly accurate). However, she didn’t deny the main charge of colluding with the whips to harass the supporters of the ban. But holding one opinion in politics is no barrier to acting on the opposite. All it takes is the whiff of a front-bench role, and the chance of a new home on the Melton Road…
Which reminds me, I can confirm with some confidence that Anna STILL hasn’t moved to Broxtowe, as she promised to do during the 2010 election campaign.
One last bit of Anna: as I’ve mentioned before, she seems to really have found her niche in the Commons, specializing in tricky criminal law issues. But where did she get so wised up on the intricacies of sentencing and prisoner rights? Years serving at the bar, maybe? Nah, she was on the case years before that (warning: engage cringe muscles first)