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Gary Flood

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Letter to an ex-MP – what next for the honourable members?

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What can discarded MPs do now they are bereft of their constituencies? Gary Flood has unearthed this correspondence between one ex-MP and an executive recruiting agency for a light hearted look at what MPs might turn their hand to next…

From: Executive Career Counselling Ltd
To: Ex MP Joan Smythe

IN STRICTEST CONFIDENCE

Dear Joan,

Thank you once again for selecting our company to help you decide how to best maximise the next set of opportunities in your career. And on a personal note, thank you once again for that splendid ‘last’ lunch (surely only for a short while!) on expenses – as we said, I thought the Ch. Cos d`Estournel was a wonderful accompaniment to the ‘symbolic duck,’ haha!

On the gustatory front, can I offer some immediate survival-type advice? Now you are no longer on MP-style living arrangements, you may have to temporarily cut your coat according to your cloth. Can I save your life by giving you two keywords: Piat d’Or and Argos (instead of the gold standard John Lewis)! (By the way, to stop the hoi polloi finding anything amusing in it, try not to pronounce the latter as if it were a French word?)

Now to business. We have, as you will be aware, been helping place quite a few of your former peers and colleagues in the House, and we can share some immediate tips and examples of best practice. Obviously, we cannot name clients individually due to DPA and the strict libel laws of our country, but I am sure you can fill in the blanks, as it were:

We have one client who has found immediate succour in the adult entertainment industry as the host of a very popular show on XXXTVXXX called, ahem, ‘Slap And Tickle On Demand!!’ Apparently, her air of command and authority has already attracted quite a strong following, albeit admittedly in something of a ‘niche’ market (over 50 married men with domineering partners). All the job requires, she says, is a robust sense of the absurd, which given your shared recent experience working with senior civil servants one would take as read, surely?

If that doesn’t grab you, how about the pathway of another former workmate of yours, who has been snapped up by a prominent satellite TV financial services channel to be their 24×7 spokesperson? We have been told this gentleman’s relentless ill-humour, insatiable sense of being wronged and ability to hold a lifetime grudge gives him just the kind of invincible persistence the firm’s allied telesales operation finds useful in getting the indigent to sign away their properties?

Then again, we are hearing excellent reports back from yet another recent entrant to the job market out of Westminster who has been given the job of ‘Pulling Birds About 20 Points Out Of Your League’ editor for a prominent gentleman’s weekly leisure title. Readers have responded in something approaching awe, I am informed, by this individual’s skill at avoiding the genetic black hole his appearance and personality seemed to destine him to. Could there be a similar J Smythe role out there in tabloid titillation land?

If the above examples of post-MP success do not inspire you, we can of course go ‘back to basics’ (geddit?) and review the unique, multi-faceted skill-set that you have acquired in your years in the Commons. The answers, I am sure you will agree, immediately map on to a stimulating set of ‘Life 2.0’ destinations:

As an MP, you have garnered some real experience with spreadsheets, inventories and basic creative accounting. How about holiday timeshare sales? We have many clients who say the ability to rapidly think on one’s feet and tell an expenses officer one thing (think ‘customer’!) one thing while calculating your real (and always superior) profit another very useful…

Then there is the ability to spend as much time as possible appearing to be busy and serving constituents’ interests while actually pursuing much more interesting personal hobbies and interests, like featherbedding as many non-exec board roles as humanly possible. What if we therefore put you forward for Chair of a major UK High Street Bank, which shares with that description many core characteristics?

We also find many former politicians naturally gravitating to the world of Corporate Public Relations. If that doesn’t strike you as an immediate fit, think of it like this: you already know that all you do is trot out the party message on all occasions; you have daily experience of answering each and every question by turning it round to be a platform for your latest slogans; you are very accustomed to working with dead brands; and you are able to sit for hours listening to the party leader (or, now, ‘client MD’!) come out with insane gibberish no-one would take seriously were he not the most well-paid man in the room. It’s gotta make sense!

Finally, in the short term, we have spotted an interesting mapping between the MP personality and that of the Maitre d’ of a Michelin star restaurant. Don’t see it? Well, think about the fact that you have a winning smile for everyone until you have got rid of them to an underling; you know every vintage and cordon bleu dish imaginable (and again, have never paid for them out of your own pocket once); and you are very adept at facilitating a customer request when accompanied by a cash incentive (‘a bung’).

I hope that is of some use to you as at least a way to start thinking about your next move in the game. Oh, and incidentally, looking at your original message to us with your CV: yes, there are opportunities for people who would like to take the responsibility of public office, representing the powerless among their neighbours, working for change and the betterment of the common good.

Unfortunately, all those positions are now taken by the latest crop of party appointees.

Good luck and talk soon!

Spencer

PS Whatever you do, don’t throw away that secret tape of you and the PM-to-be in Brighton!! At the very least, there is a huge market for such things online – just look at Pammie Anderson.

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