My Letter to Alistair Darling: The Pan Has Been Stolen!

Dear Alistair,

Firstly, thank you again for having let me stay at your little bungalow in Edinburgh for the last three months. I have really enjoyed the convenience of this modest residence, specially Mark and Spencer’s furniture, whose elegant simplicity perfectly suits a Labour grandee. Moreover, I’m very impressed not only by your personal hospitality for a French traveller, but also by your public action as Chancellor to make accommodation easy for the holders of euros: with the pound so low and a real-estate market so depressed, who can still say that you don’t try to attract foreign purchasers to Britain?

However, I have some bad news to tell you: your frying pan has been stolen! This unspeakable act was committed on Saturday 30th May, while I was at Fred Goodwin’s home for dinner and we were watching together the final of Britain’s Got Talent (whose result unfortunately foreshadowed the local and European elections’ outcomes, except that, although the Scot also lost, the winner wasn’t diversity but the BNP). It was only when I came back home around midnight that I realised that the door had been forced. At first, as just the pan was missing, I thought that the burglar was a credit crunch redundant worker who, through decency, had taken only the bare minimum for his needs. Later, nevertheless, it reminded me that this pan was one of your expense claims that The Daily Mail had reported, and thus I began to wonder if the theft had not rather a political meaning: the frying pan had been stolen precisely because it was worth nothing! Obviously, some people still attached a symbolical value to things, not only a financial value, which surprised me quite a lot because I believed that New Labour had definitely eradicated such woolly-minded idealists. My God, Edinburgh is not a safe city anymore! The poor Sir Fred also suffered such an annoyance recently, when a gang of barbarians savagely attacked his house and his defenceless Mercedes. Both assaults may be the work of the same group of terrorists.

I told all of that when I went to the police station to report the burglary. (Of course, on the contrary, I told nothing about our little financial arrangement and your ingenious means to get a third home allowance.) The officer was a bit sceptical about the chances of catching the criminals and finding the pan. Given the small sum involved, it was unlikely that Scotland Yard would send its best agents to investigate. I retorted that society should be ruthless toward minor crime, because if you left minor crime unchecked, especially street crime, then things would deteriorate into something much worse. The famous “broken window theory” should be applied in Britain with the utmost severity: it was only by stopping the smaller acts of delinquency that police could clean up neighbourhoods and deter thugs from moving on to more serious lawbreaking.

By the by, in my statement, I exaggerated a bit the value of the frying pan and I said that it was worth £5,000. That way you could make some extra-money by claiming on insurance. If you have any problems with the company, just admit that the system is wrong and you are sorry for that. After all, it’s all within the rules, this theft has caused a huge emotional damage to us: it’s very depressing to think that we live in a country where so many communities are ruined by antisocial behaviour.

I left the bungalow’s keys at Fred’s house.

See you soon,

Emmanuel

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