Of bums and biscuits


Here’s a question for you. Who, in the long decades of Direct Rule, was far and away the most popular NIO minister with the civil service? The answer is veteran Tory MP Peter Bottomley. The reason is not at all political, but to do with a basic issue of dignity in the workplace. It used to be that only toilets adjacent to ministers’ and senior civil servants’ offices were equipped with soft loo roll. The plebs had to make do with that shiny stuff that had “Government Property” stamped on it. Minister Bumley, on having discovered that most of his staff couldn’t wipe their asses, decreed soft loo roll for everyone, and thereby won himself a special place in the heart of every bureaucrat.

In a similar vein, we now learn the real reason why Foreign Office staff didn’t like Caroline Flint. Caroline obviously has not spent much time reading Dale Carnegie. Still, at least she meets the approval of the Mail‘s resident pervert


  1. Chris Williams said,

    June 9, 2009 at 9:05 am

    PB has always been my favorite Tory. As Minister for Motorcycles he headed off the inanity of mandatory leg protection; he asked awkward questions about state crimes in NI, and he gave perhaps crucial support to Neville and Doreen Lawrence at a key moment. And he’s in a trade union. Considerably to the left of at least one of his sucessors at the NIO…

  2. chris y said,

    June 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    That’s hilarious. I know a few moderately senior civil servants and it’s a point of honour with them to supply biscuits for their “troops” out of their own pockets. She couldn’t have picked a better issue for a hissy fit.

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