The Right Honourable Nick Clegg MP
c/o The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
28th April 2012
Dear Deputy Prime Minister,
You have never met me, but I am writing to you to ask a favour. It is not, however a favour for me. It is a favour for someone whom I have never met, but who has served you very well over the years.
I do confess that I have very limited credentials in terms of voting for you, or your party. I was, as it happens, a founder member of the SDP all those years ago when many of us dreamed on “breaking the mold” of British politics. I am afraid that was long ago. I can pray in aid that I voted LibDem at the last election, but I would have to confess that it was something of a tactical vote, in order to get my appalling incumbent MP out.
However, the matter upon which I write is not really about party politics. It is about common humanity and decency, and I appeal to you to read this and take action.
Here is how it is.
I follow a certain person on Twitter. Her current present name or “handle” (call it what you will) is “The LibDem Pot Plant @SpideyAndLilah” and her bio reads as follows:
“LibDem blogger and campaigner. Bread maker, and quilt maker. Falls over a lot and can’t open Dairylea Triangles. Mum to Lilah the JRT”
“JRT” stands for Jack Russell terrier, by the way. Rather sweet.
Now let me explain what has happened, and why it is important that you intercede. The camera obscura that is Twitter does not permit me to know the full facts, but these are the essential ones as I understand them to be.
This woman is a decent cove, albeit a bit eccentric, but that is no bad thing. I do know her name, but given the vagaries of the internet I would prefer not to reveal it. I will simply refer to her as “Spidey”.
I understand that until recently she has held down a decent job in local government.
I sense she has a heart of gold. She used to have a Jack Russell terrier called Mickey who was obviously the love of her life, but sadly Mickey died and her grief was very moving. A few months ago she acquired a replacement in the form of the charming Lilah, another Jack Russell.
I do not know about Mickey, but Lilah is a “rescue” dog, and it is clear that she had been very badly treated by her former owners. “Spidey” has seen to her treatment and healed her.
All these matters commend her to me, and should commend her to you too.
It is clear that “Spidey” is an intelligent and passionate woman. It is also clear to me that two unfortunate things have happened. The first is that has got herself into a bit of a financial pickle, and some debts which are a burden. However I do not have the sense that she is a spendthrift.
The second is that unfortunately she has been made redundant.
She seems not to have any network of family that can support her.
These matters have caused her great distress, as is understandable. I suspect that she is in anti depressants.
I follow her desperate and so far fruitless search for new employment on Twitter with a breaking heart. Her situation seems most distressing, but this is the nub of it, and the point which really gets me.
She is in danger of losing her home because she cannot pay the rent. That is bad enough but if she loses her home she will have to stay in a hostel (supposing she can find one). But if she does that they will not accept the charming Lilah. And so what is to become of the dog that has been saved?
It seems to me not only bad enough that an intelligent, passionate and good hearted woman is in these perilous circumstances; it is tragic that she faces the loss of her gentle companion whom she loves, and whom she has already saved once from the consequences of inhumanity.
So I am writing to you, Deputy Prime Minister, to ask for you to help. I do not know you personally, but I am willing to believe that you have a streak of humanity and that if you read this you will be moved and will take action.
You should be. There is no doubt that the cuts that your coalition has implemented, whether right or wrong in the long term, have results for ordinary people like this. And I say ordinary people because you are not and ordinary person. You are no doubt a highly intelligent person, but you come from highly privileged and wealthy background. You will never know what it is like to fear being made homeless, or be forced to lose the one you love because of poverty.
And whilst you no doubt serve your constituents and the country to the best of your ability, you should bear in mind that this good lady has been your stalwart, out on the streets, campaigning, delivering leaflets, drumming up support, blogging. Doing all the little things that make your party tick, and which maybe make no impact at all, or maybe mean that your party is now in government, and that you sit in Cabinet.
I am therefore writing to you, Deputy Prime Minister, to ask you to step in. You may say: “I cannot become involved in individual cases.” But you can. Just because you cannot personally intervene in all cases does not mean that you cannot intervene in this case. You owe this lady. Your party owes her. You are in her debt for all the hours of seemingly fruitless campaigning, of plodding the streets in the poring rain delivering your message, for the blogging and the fund raising.
I ask you to help because helping would simply be the right thing to do.
You may ask, Deputy Prime Minister, what it is that I want you to do. I do not expect you to provide her with a new job, although I would be mightily impressed if you do. I do, however, ask you and your party to assist this good soul in her time of crisis. I am sure that this bright and articulate lady will find new employment in time, notwithstanding the basket case that the political and financial classes have made of our economy.
However, I expect you and your party to stand by her. You, or someone very senior in your party, should be in touch with this lady. You should be pledging moral support in her hour of need. And there is one very simple practical thing that I ask you to do. I ask you, and your party, to make sure that she is not made homeless and separated from her companion.
That, Deputy Prime Minister, is the favour I ask of you. Not to see a kind and intelligent woman who has long supported your party from being out on the streets and separated from a loved pet that she has saved from cruel mistreatment.
I do not think it is too much to ask. It seems to me that as a matter of honour it is the least that you and your party can do.
Therefore, Deputy Prime Minister, I ask you to intercede. I do not know how you will go about this. Perhaps your party will fund her rent for a little while. If that is a breach of party rules, then I suggest you break them, quite openly and with good cheer. You and your party will reap the benefit of good will you will know that you have done the right thing. Perhaps you personally will have to assist her with a payment. I hope it does not come to that, but if it does, it does. I am sure she will repay you.
Deputy Prime Minister, I do not care how you go about assisting this kind and loyal woman. I simply ask you to use the power and influence that you have to effect a practical solution.
I pray, and expect, that you will do the right thing in this matter.
Gildas T. Monk