A while ago, I did a book cover for a Greek friend who wrote about his experiences as a student here in the UK. It was an opportunity to do some political cartoons.
Recent letters have been published that make me think that it is time for a new incarnation of “Spiderman” to start penning letters to the Prime Minister. Maybe the Guardian will have another go at exposing them to the daylight – or maybe I will cash in on it first: I think there might be a book in it. Of course there would be the serious issues to write about like the preservation of the water rat, the extermination of american (signal) crayfish, the removal of the grey squirrel, the rose ringed parakeet, and the american mink or maybe just the establishment of a concentration camp for unwanted migrant lifeforms from our former colonies-
There are reports of the Signal Crayfish advancing towards our Nuclear deterrent, Prime Minister. On the way, they eat fish eggs and destroy river banks. I myself found an infestation someway up the River Kelvin. The Crayfish is a more serious threat to Scotland than any referendum, Prime Minister. They have already taken over Dumfries and Galloway, all the Borders, Fife and are advancing towards Grampian, Tayside and Lothian. By the time of the next election, they will have completely taken over Scottish waters.
It would be foolish, Prime Minister, to overlook all these predatory species- the crayfish carries a worrying plague, the grey squirrel has the pox and the Rose-ringed parakeet makes a devil of a noise in Regents’ park, a place I know well. I gather that some animals were purposely introduced here from the Americas, like the Coypus, and were almost eradicated in a purge on foreigners probably championed by some sort of Nascent UKIP army in the late 1980’s, but you can’t keep these migrants out. I have heard of Coypu as far north as Durham now. Like the badger, the Coypu must be culled. (The badger is native- so “culled, not wiped out”, please, Prime Minister)
We have had some successful immigrations of course. Our native islands have always welcomed industrious species. The domestic cat has adapted well, as have rabbits which provide much needed fast food for our native birds of prey and I do not forget the nourishing dormouse all of which animals, I believe, came here with Julius Caesar so it would also be churlish to call them foreign after so long. They are almost British. In the same way, I salute the golden Pheasant, essential for fly fishing, and the red-legged partridge both of which have graced our table. I draw the line at the Ruddy Duck, another American import, and the American bullfrog. While I wrestle with Giant hogweed and Canadian pond weed- a necessity of the former Empire, I have also come across American Willow herb and Japanese knotweed. There is even something seriously misnamed the “Oxford” ragwort. This little squalid seed came from Sicily and should have stayed there. It seethes with threats to the rest of my garden. Just when I think it has gone, it springs up again behind me like some diabolical manifestation.
I would not want to sound prejudiced, Prime Minister, because some foreign plants, like the red-squirrel nurturing conifer and the buddleia, beloved of our butterflies, have been particularly valuable in protecting and promoting our native wildlife. There’s the glorious rhododendron, whose ancestors, like mine, are a bit Greek. Its foliage and roots encourage the activities of rodents in our garden, despite what the naysayers in the Forestry Commission who have argued so unconvincingly (in my opinion) about its effect on ecodiversity. Apparently, its thick leaves snub out the chance for competing shrubs, but that’s why we have garden shears, eh, PM?
I think it is time that we championed our own British wildlife, and our own particular personal rodents. The corgi, for instance, is a breed of Welsh dog that I am surprised to find is almost unknown outside Royal circles. This should be challenged and we should institute a corgi-breeding programme across the islands. Maybe we can place a statutory limit on canine leg-length to encourage a healthy breeding programme?
It has struck me of late that I might also write about more vacuous things like whether I should pay proper taxes, how much popularity my doing so might engender. Is it legitimate for me to marry my long-term partner? Would the public accept such a move? And so on. Or maybe I have already done all that and more. Who will ever know now? Future correspondence will be more circumspect and more tightly controlled. Prime Minister, we need a proper privacy bill.
Finally, forgive me for being blunt, Prime Minister, but I was having dinner last night with (redacted name) who asked me to see what could be done about championing the David Brown tractor for export to Chinese landfill sites? It’s such a nice little machine and well-suited to serious work. There we are, I said I’d raise the issue and I have.