Jed has reassured us that he will still be working full-time for Dave once he moves to America. All those silly people claiming his physical whereabouts makes a difference to The Project are hysterical. There is no reason why he cannot run the Conservative party from his new home in California. This is a modern, family-friendly working practice in action. Indeed we hope the move will inspire hard-working Britons everywhere to relocate to sunnier climes and demand their employers keep pace with their changing lifestyle by continuing to pay them their full salary.
Of course Gary will have to take on those duties which require an actual physical presence at HQ. He was in a v jolly mood, until we took him the file marked ‘cappuccino machine instructions’. ‘What on earth do I want that for?’ We explained that it would now be part of his responsibilities to ensure the smooth running of the Gaggia. Sometimes the bean grinder jams. Jed was brilliant at getting it going again. Gary looked grumpy and uttered a string of expletives which either meant he wanted to make love to the cappuccino machine or that he didn’t intend to fix it. I fear the latter. Nigel says he’s sure Gary will get the hang of it.
Things are not looking good. Gary has hidden the cappuccino machine and put a Teasmade in its place. He says it will be easier to maintain once Jed has gone. When we complained he barked: ‘Too much froth around here anyway. And that ideas board can come down as well. This isn’t the Googleplex.’
I have horrible sick feeling in my stomach. Not helped by the revolting cup of sludge I just drank to reassure Gary we all liked his new workplace innovation. Am starting to have major doubts about the arrangement. There is something, well, not very Modern about Gary. A junior frontbencher rang in today to get some advice on what to wear for an appearance on Antiques Restoration Challenge and he didn’t have a clue. Told him to wear a tie ‘if he felt like it’. The Modern Compassionate Conservative party was not built by people wearing ties if they felt like it.
Jed’s wife Lara came into the office to help him pack. I couldn’t bring myself to be nice to her. She is taking him away from us. I wonder if she has any idea what she is doing? We don’t like station tea. We need someone who understands the organic muffin order and the power of ideas and the tie guidelines. I keep telling myself he will be ‘in contact and making fairly regular trips’ but it doesn’t make me feel much better. Nor does having Mr Letwin stopping by my desk every five minutes to ask whether anyone has rung in to ask questions about his coherent, progressive vision yet.
Disaster. All I did was write a poem for the Tranquillity Room guestbook called ‘Farewell Jed, architect of New Conservatism’. It was v moving actually: ‘You were the Change, and now you’re going to California, birthplace of the skinny cappo, and the fat-free muffin, and corporate social responsibility or CSR, so in a way you are going, to your spiritual home. . .’
Gary went ballistic. Called us all to the hub. ‘There’ll be no more f*****g free verse on my watch.’ Then he pointed at me and yelled: ‘Oi Emily f*****g Dickinson! Get me a cup of tea. Cow’s milk, ten sugars!’ I want to cry. It wasn’t free verse. It was iambic pentameter. The man’s a complete philistine.