Saturday, 5 November 2011

Get 'em out for the lads

This confession may come as surprise to my many readers. I have never invited my Uncle Eric to lunch or been invited by him – not even a candle- lit private soiree.  You can search his expenses and you will never see my name mentioned at all. Though  you are going to have to take my word for this as Uncle Eric seems to have to go himself in a bit of bother about declaring who he has met when and where (see: You can be sure that humble blog is not going to ever try to embarrass Uncle Eric.

Whilst I have never dined alone with Uncle Eric I have had the pleasure to share a dining table with him on two occasions. The first was in the highly subsidised DCLG staff canteen when Uncle Eric tucked into a hearty mixed grill. The second time was recently when I went for lunch at the wonderful  Spicy World near Victoria Station.  Uncle Eric followed me in minutes after I had arrived, no doubt similarly attracted by the All You Can Eat Lunchtime Buffet – the memory of this duel visit will bring tears to the owners eyes for years to come I am sure.

During this meal over a rogan josh, lamb bhuna, chicken tikka, etc, etc etc burp, etc, etc, belch, etc, etc … Uncle Eric and I shared a couple of appreciative grunts (no I don’t mean Nick and Giles) on the quality of the food. I did not expect that Uncle Eric would record the details of this epic lunch in the Members’ Interest but surely if it had been arranged by me and I was a influential lobbyist and it was at 5 star restaurant and I was paying and I we were discussing DCLG business , then perhaps we should know about it.

As we are on the subject of eating out -  Poor Grant Shapps has got a bit hot under his sweaty collar over the recent revelation that officials from Ordnance Survey claimed for a meal at ‘Hooters’ restaurant whilst on an overseas trip. A tired but apoplectic Mr Shapps said:

"Now we learn Labour officials squandered  hundreds of pounds not once, but twice at adult entertainment bars in America.”

I am surprised by these comments. Firstly I thought that staff working for OS are not Labour Officials but simple civil servants. Secondly I think everyone knows (apart from, perhaps, the The Daily Mail) that Hooters is cheapish, novelty chain of fast food restaurants that just happens to insist that the young waitresses wear t-shirts and shorts.  I do not think it bans children from dining and no one would describe it as adult entertainment.  I, for one, would be intrigued to know more about what Mr Shapps describes as adult entertainment (nudge nudge wink wink).

And less we forget ….. it was DCLG staff, under the current Minister, which splashed out a grand at a swanky burlesque bar (see Now how do I spell  - hypocrite? oh yes – t,w,a,t.

Here is my latest FoI:

Dear Chums

Grant Shapps describes Ordnance Survey staff whom made legitimate expenses claims as Labour Officials. (

He also describes the restaurant attended as an adult entrainment bar.

Can you please provide details on: 
Does DCLG now have a policy of describing civil servants as political party employees? Will it in future describe us hard working DCLG staff as conservative officials?

2)      Has DCLG compiled a list of fast-food chains that are deemed unacceptable to dine at based on a moral code developed by Grant Shapps?

Yours trying to get them out


  1. Derek you're our hero and an absolute legend.

    Keep doing what you do best...

  2. Derek

    Simply w,o,n,d,e,r,f,u,l.