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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Valuing our heritage

The Sunday Telegraph tells us that Parliamentary officials have finally got to the bottom of mysterious black pen marks that have been appearing all over the beautifully carved Government dispatch box in the House of Commons. Apparently, it was the Prime Minister what done it:

As Gordon Brown gesticulated wildly with his black marker pen, stabbing at the papers in front of him and missing to hit the wood beneath, the awful truth was clear. The PM was the vandal.

The damage is such that the French polishers have been unable to remove many of the deep markings, which can be clearly seen all over the wood.

An official explained: “Of course we can’t say anything. But if he goes on doing it, it is going to be harder and harder to get off.”

An MP close to Mr Brown said: “Gordon is known as Zorro for getting his sweeping black pen everywhere, but I’m sure he’ll take greater care around the nation’s artefacts now he has been warned.”

The paper explains the provenance of the two dispatch boxes:

The boxes were a gift from New Zealand after the rebuilding of the House of Commons following the Second World War. The are modelled on the dispatch boxes in the Australian parliament and are made from a strong, teak-like wood from the rare Puriri tree and were thought to be almost indestructible.

The wood they are made from was used by the early settlers in New Zealand for fencing as they considered it particularly long-lasting and durable. But the settlers never had to contend with the black marker pen of Mr Brown.

Perhaps the Speaker should confiscate that pen from him before the damage becomes irreparable.
Take it out of his wages, *after* tax !
"Perhaps the Speaker should confiscate that pen from him before the damage becomes irreparable."

And put him on the naughty step!
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