Back in 1997 – when the people of Britain had decided to kick the Tories into touch and give Tony Blair’s brave new labour a punt – outgoing chancellor Ken Clarke pulled a man-of-the-people PR master stroke. All the major papers in the days following the election carried pictures of Ken loading up his self-drive van at 11 Downing Street. He could probably have had ‘staff’ relocate the Clarke posessions from number 11 to another Westminster flat – but this was an era lost for ever – a chancellor being prudent, a politician saving the taxpayer money.
So will we see anything of the like this time round?
Vehicle mascot and ‘man-in-a-van’ nicknames at the ready – we fast forward the ABC Selfstore blog to May 10th – when the post-election weekend party hangovers have subsided and the physical reshuffle of the Westminster personal effects begins…
Dave close shave Cameron swings his Transit left off of Whitehall into Downing Street – only to find Gordon the Gaffer Brown’s Luton blocking the road as the former PM attempts a three point turn. His silver haired troll-doll called Alistair swings cheerfully in place of the more traditional fluffy dice. New chancellor (in what’s a Tory/Lib Dem alliance) Vince ‘McQueen’ Cable chuckles to himself as he queues his Mercedes Sprinter behind Close Shave Dave’s Transit – appreciating the fact that once again he predicted this chaos coming. He scrolls his ipod to an extended playlist he compiled especially for this occasion. Hendrix’s Cross-town traffic blares out of Cables’ open window echoing off the Ministry of Defence and down towards Horse Guards parade. A member of special branch politely asks him to keep the volume down.
Close Shave honks his horn.. and shouts out the window, “Oi, Brown – you gonna be long? I’ve got a country to run.” Gordon just shrugs his shoulders – and grinds a gear – he’s too cut up to care. Cable scrolls his iPod to the Moody Blues ‘Go-Now’ and cantankerously turns the volume up to full – just as Gordon finally emerges from Downing Street. His Luton shudders left onto Whitehall and begins the long slow journey back to to Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath…
Beads of sweat roll from Dave’s forehead as he looks at his watch and realises that he’s got to unload the van on his own (heavy lifting is against doctors orders for pregnant wife Sam) and have it back at the hire place in Witney before 8pm – or there’ll be a hefty surcharge. Getting out of London on the A4 will be murder.
Of course, they could’ve saved themselves a whole heap of bother. They could have simply rented a self storage unit somewhere nearby (ABC Selfstore Camden is just 3 miles up the road) and moved their stuff ahead of the election.They’d have got free van-hire thrown in too.