You know how it is, you pop out for curry and a pint, and you end up pledging to soften Britain’s immigration rules live in front of a global TV audience of millions. Speaking at the packed British Curry Awards in Battersea on Monday night, David Cameron told a thousand restaurateurs:
‘Like any industry this one faces its own specific challenges and I know that there have been questions on immigration and getting chefs with the necessary experience. So let me promise you this, we will work through this together. We'll continue to help you get the skilled Asian chefs you need.’
Interpreting this concrete pledge, the agency wires reported this as a policy announcement, though it had been toned down by the time the curry was served. With a £3.1billion turnover, it’s easy to see why young Dave was so keen to heap on the praise for ‘the best of Britain’:
‘It used to be that selling curry to South Asia was a bit like selling ice to the eskimoes. Well no longer. More than 200 after years after the first curry house opened up in this country, British made curry is now heading the other way: to Mumbai, to Kolkata, to Delhi.’
Downing Street were out in force at the event and Mr S hears the skills of newly appointed Press Secretary Graeme Wilson were relied on to ensure the entourage were all sporting proper bow ties. Always useful to have a former tabloid hack on hand for this sort of thing.
Mr S was most confused though by Andrew Neil popping up in a video message during the ceremony, especially one billed as 'The Secretary of State for Justice'. Did I miss something? The actual Justice Secretary Chris Grayling was also on hand to present an award, but the less said about his comedy turn on stage the better.
Trust me on this one.