The Leader of the Commons took to Lord North Street last night as guest of honour at the IEA’s Christmas Party. It’s been an eventful year for both the speaker and her hosts…
The main thrust of Penny’s speech involved a detailed parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, imagining a world in which Ed Miliband had won the 2015 election; Boris didn’t seek re-election, leaving London with an arsenal of water cannons; and Michael Gove would be found running Level Up, “Not a think tank, it’s a nightclub in Camden”. She foresaw “in this alternative reality the Ed Stone is on the 4th plinth of Trafalgar Square”. Not a bad idea given the current display…
As the speech drew to a close, Penny listed off Conservative achievements from the last 7 years, before announcing that “I am sticking around, to fight the next election”. By coincidence Guido was then lucky enough to hear the same speech again up the road at Conservative Home’s party in Mayfair…
Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans has kicked off Westminster’s card-giving season with another classic offering. Living up to his high standards, this year’s effort sees Nigel’s Christmas spirit making a move from the Speaker’s office to the Cabinet table, thanks to cameos from Rishi Sunak and a Father Christmas appearance from Col. Bob Stewart. There’s even an MP4 add-on available via QR code…
Apparently, Rishi’s Christmas Card is less self-deprecating than last year’s. Guido’s sure his is in the post…
From Paul, Calgie and Adam to all of you…
“After two years of this pandemic, I can’t say that we are through it.
How can I? When Omicron is surging, when we all know, we must together try to stop the spread of this new variant,
We must test ourselves and take extra care when meeting elderly or vulnerable relatives. We know that things remain difficult.
But for millions of families up and down the country, I hope and believe that this Christmas is, and will be, significantly better than the last, in this vital respect.
That we can celebrate together with those we love and raise our glasses to those who can’t be with us.
And if this year you need a bigger turkey and there are more sprouts to peel and more washing up to do, then that is all to the good, because these rituals matter so deeply.
And I hope that people will enjoy this Christmas this year all the more keenly because of what we had to miss last year.
And if the pile of scrumpled wrapping paper is bigger this year it is precisely because across the country, in the run up to Christmas, we have been giving each other an invisible and invaluable present.
We have been getting that vaccination that protects us and stops us infecting others.
And I hope I can be forgiven for taking pride in the immense spirit of neighbourliness that the people of this country have shown.
Getting jabbed not just for themselves, for ourselves, but for friends and family and everyone we meet.
And that, after all, is the teaching of Jesus Christ, whose birth is at the heart of this enormous festival – that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
And so let’s think of all those who are being good neighbours and thinking of others.
All those in the NHS working over Christmas, our care workers, everyone involved in the incredible vaccination campaign.
Those looking after people who have lost loved ones this year, and who would otherwise be on their own.
The many thousands of people who are selflessly self-isolating to keep others safe from Covid.
And though the time for buying presents is theoretically running out, there is still a wonderful thing you can give your family and the whole country…
…and that is to get that jab, whether it is your first or second, or your booster.
so that next year’s festivities are even better than this year’s.
And in the meantime, I thank you, and wish you all a very merry Christmas.”
“I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Christmas is a time for Christians across Britain and across the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
It’s a time to come together, to spend time with friends, with family and with loved ones.
Christmas is also a time of reflection.
This year, like last year, has been incredibly difficult for our country.
Too many families have experienced unimaginable loss.
For too many, there will be one less chair at the table for the Christmas meal.
But, in the darkest of times, Christian values of kindness, of compassion and hope have shone through.
Communities have come together to help one another.
Key workers have saved countless lives.
Armed service men and women both here and abroad have, as ever, played a huge part in protecting us all.
Our brilliant NHS, which has done so much good since Labour founded it almost 75 years ago now, has vaccinated the country.
You keep our country safe.
On behalf of all of us, I want to say a heartfelt thank you.
This year has been tough.
But I believe that if we stick together, support each other and work together, we can find a path through.
I know a better future is possible.
So from my family to yours, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.”
December gets off to a bang this morning as the EU Commission has been forced to back down from plans to ban the word Christmas to avoid offence. The move had been spotted in an internal document, advising officials to use inclusive language like “holiday season”. The credit must go to Italian red top il Giornale, which accused the Commission of an attempt to “cancel Christmas”.
The memo also called on officials to avoid terms such as “man-made”, “chairman” and “ladies and gentlemen”, as well as suggesting officials ask people their pronouns.
The miserly move was launched by the commissioner for equality, Helena Dalli, who has since said she will withdraw the guidelines as it is not “a mature document and does not meet all commission quality standards”. While the politically correct Commission tries fiddling with language wording, Guido points out the executive still has no non-white Commissioners, surely a more substantive issue. It seems Brussels will have a very white Christmas this year…