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Letter to Emily 

Seeking out the truth about Pat McFadden, I read his blog. It's heartbreaking stuff. Get your hankie out to read every tear stained word...........after you've read it, you'll be glad you live in Newport.

"You started election day in tears. You told me you had cried all morning. At 82 years of age, this would be the first time ever you had not voted. Yes, a postal vote could have helped you, but you had not applied and it was too late now. This was polling day and you were utterly distraught at the thought of not casting your vote. Not for you Emily the disdain for elections and parties. Not for you the tired notion that they’re all the same, all in it for themselves and that there is no point in voting. You wanted to vote. You wanted your say. You just didn’t know how to get there.

When I got a call from my office while out knocking up at about 8pm saying you wanted a lift, I was happy to come and get you. You had recently had surgery at the Heart and Lung Centre at New Cross Hospital and were still weak, but your spirit was strong and nothing was going to stop you.

(Honestly, I did not make this up)

When we got to the polling station you struggled up the steps.  We stopped so you could catch your breath.  There was no rush. 

When we got inside and you approached the desk, you could not speak at first. You were crying tears of joy. You told the staff you had thought you wouldn’t make it. They shared your pleasure and gave you your ballot paper. You filled it in with such pride.

(Hope this is not too much for you)

We took our time going back to the car. On the way back home you told me how happy you were. You said getting to vote when you thought you would not be able to was the best thing to happen to you in years. You kept saying it was an honour but the honour was all mine. We went inside and you called your daughter to tell her you were safely home. I spoke to her briefly to tell her everything was fine. As I left and walked down the path, it was not you who had the tear in your eye."

If I had written that, I believe the Labour Party in Newport West would de-select me.

Quite rightly so!



Proof that Government ministers and civil servants live  in a separate universe was revealed at my Select Committee.


Cabinet Office Minister Pat McFadden was before us to explain the joys of consulting with the public.  He has sent the Public Administration Select Committee a jargon crammed letter saying the Government planned a one-stop shop for anyone who had experienced a ‘citizen’s episode.’ These include births and deaths.


Do they greet one another in the Cabinet Office canteen with “How are you Fred? Had any citizen's episodes lately?

Do they send each other cards? ‘Congratulation/commiserations on your citizen's episode which I was glad/sorry to hear about.’ (Delete words that don’t apply).