Quentin Letts

What I really, really want

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Dear Father Christmas, please fill my stocking with the following goodies:


A referendum on Britain’s future in Europe... Or, a Linguaphone course to brush up my German.

A new shadow chancellor. The old one doesn’t really work any more.

A straitjacket to stop George Alagiah waving his arms around so much when he is presenting the BBC News.

During the Jubilee celebrations, a minute’s standing ovation, nationwide, for the Duke of Edinburgh.

A protest march through Islington by striking taxpayers.

An announcement from David Cameron that he is scrapping the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, which granted pay-offs to Cabinet ministers. (The Act was also responsible for setting the Commons Speaker’s indecently generous pension. Double bingo!)

A gift-wrapped P45 for Dame Suzy Leather, lefty head of the Charity Commission; Grade II listed status for Jeremy Paxman; Prozac for Sir Mervyn King.

An end to ‘impact assessments’ by Whitehall. They cost the country a fortune and merely create opportunities for lawyers and special interest lobbies.

A mayoral edict from Boris banning those horrid new London taxis made by Mercedes.

A reprieve for computer hacker Gary McKinnon, if only to yank the American ambassador’s chain.

Freedom for the Edinburgh pandas.

A bishopric for Canon Giles Fraser; elocution lessons for the Archbishop of York.

A new deputy chairman of the BBC Trust who, unlike the incumbent Diane Coyle, realises that the position is incompatible with working for a political party (she advises Labour’s business spokesman, Chuka Umunna).

Fewer select committee meetings at Westminster. The system has gone bonkers.  Earlier bedtimes for one and all in the political world.

An interview with the president of Iran, Mr Dinnerjacket. It would be good to know something about the little chap before we are dragged further towards war.

More of an effort from the BBC’s world-weary affairs editor, John Simpson.

Party conference hotel windows which actually open. Air conditioning? Ugh.

Three cheers and pints of plain all round for the fact that Martin McGuinness so comprehensively tanked in the Irish presidential election.

Lady Ashton’s air miles; Sir Ming Campbell’s legs; Chloe Smith’s sense of humour (that’s a joke, by the way). A smile from Simon Hughes. Go, on, Si, you can do it.

Less windbaggery from Speaker Bercow. And if we taxpayers must shell out for an oil painting, can’t we have a portrait of Nicholas Soames instead of the runty Squeaker?

A free copy of the Book of Common Prayer for every MP, to improve their vocabulary and remind them of the only ruler of princes.

A reduction in the number of pop songs on Desert Island Discs.

A box of hankies for Ed Miliband.

Scissors, with which to snip the banjo strings of any happy-clappy vicar who threatens to start strumming in church.

Closure of the Government Equalities Office. If that means the disappearance of equalities minister Lynne Featherstone from government, we must somehow contain our desolation.

A Railway Children knock on the front door this Christmas for Chris ‘Fangio’ Huhne. A haircut for silly Steve Coogan.

A Westminster lobby pass for blogger Guido Fawkes. Golly, he’d liven things up.

A new television screen. I threw the last one out of the window when Alastair Campbell gave evidence to that man Leveson.

A visit from the Angel Gabriel to Professor Richard Dawkins, to give him the fright of his life.

Tighter editing at Radio 3, to prevent announcers sounding like Blue Peter presenters.

A spanking for Max Mosley. No, no, not like that. I mean comeuppance for the privileged libertines who want a privacy law. Keep your gags for guttural girls, Mosley.

The extinguishing of every other street light in Britain.

An impossible-to-resist posting to Madrid, by her new employer, of big-bucks lobbyist Miriam Clegg.

Dumping of the system of Criminal Records Bureau checks which encourages us to regard any adult as a pervy pederast.

A crossbench peerage for Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch UK. Katharine Birbalsingh and Toby Young might be good in the Upper House, too.

A butcher voice for George Osborne. Has Ruth Kelly perhaps finished with hers?

A new panel of X Factor judges: David Starkey, Ruth Lea, Nigel Farage and Chris Eubank.

Guy-ropes for Signorina Nancy dell’Olio.

Some foreign aid from India, China, Brazil and any other country we have helped in the past.

Fire and brimstone from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Shorter sentences from William Cash.

A raison d’être for Lady D’Souza, absurdly well-paid Speaker of the House of Lords.

An electoral mandate for the Italian Cabinet.

A refund from Lady Uddin.

A spell of prolonged silence from the Supreme Court’s Lady Hale. Not to mention Sally Bercow, Ruby Wax, Quentin Davies and Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary.

Acceptance by Fleet Street editors, both ‘broadsheet’ and tabloid, that celebrity stories are not real news.

The name of Julian Assange’s stylist. So that one can avoid him/her.

Retirement for Sir Gerald Kaufman and Sir Alex Ferguson.

A computerised train announcement, voiced by Radio 4’s Neil Nunnes, advising passengers that the high-speed rail project has been cancelled.

An end to the BBC Asian network: spend the money on the World Service instead. Ditto the Asian Who’s Who awards. Tell me, just how are these things not racist?

A promise from the government that at least 20 ministerial posts will be axed when the number of MPs is reduced. Chopping the number of PPSs would help, too.

A bottle of Grecian 2000 for Ben Bradshaw.

An apology from Lords Howe, Heseltine and Brittan.

A new artistic director at the Royal Shakespeare Company who understands that productions featuring fetish-parlour costumes are a) hackneyed, b) puerile, c) best left to friends of Max Mosley.

A bailout for the imperilled Guardian. Without the peerless prose of Sir Michael White and Dame Polly Toynbee, British comedy will be bereft.

A charisma transplant for Theresa May. Dry-cleaning vouchers for Kenneth Clarke. And a playpen for Nick Clegg’s special advisers.

Quentin Letts writes for the Daily Mail.