Magazine article The Spectator

Mad Dogs and Politicians

Magazine article The Spectator

Mad Dogs and Politicians

Article excerpt

Britain's 100-year-old law on quarantine controls against rabid MPs will be partially replaced by `passports for politicians' within a year, the government said yesterday. Politicians vaccinated against the disease, the symptoms of which include foaming at the mouth, angry barking and attempts at biting other politicians, will be implanted with identity microchips. Those meeting these conditions will be able to travel freely to and from Britain, the European Union and other specified countries where similar symptoms are allegedly controlled.

The changes will spare the tax-payer fees of up to 2,000 per politician, incurred when the politician has to be fed large amounts of alcohol and expensive food to cure it of the symptoms. But they will still have to meet all the costs of the new checks to be carried out by airlines, ferry and rail operators who will be looking for recurring signs of anger, unreasonableness and aggression. This is on top of having the microchips implanted at around 25 a time, paying for injections and paperwork. Early estimates of the total charges put it at around 400.

If successful the measure will become permanent within two years. However, politicians from around the world will still have to spend six months in quarantine in luxury kennels known in the trade as embassies. North and South America, Asia and Africa are all excluded from the new controls. This applies particularly to a breed called the Former South American Dictator, which has shaggy white hair and, according to some, a particularly unpleasant bite (this strain, however, is beloved of certain wealthy politician-lovers in London).

Mr Nick Brown, the Agriculture Minister, described the changes as 'historic' and said they would affect the majority of politicians' journeys to and from Britain. Anyone breaching the new controls will face unlimited fines and up to a year locked up watching a dog-fight called Prime Minister's Questions.

'I am determined that the UK should be properly protected from rabid politicians. We are now pressing ahead with technical work to put an alternative to constituency quarantine into place,' said Mr Brown.

Passports for Politicians, the action group that has campained for reform for five years, welcomed the decision but called for an immediate start to the pilot scheme. Lady Thatcher, the group's founder, said, `We are not happy with the delay. I will be drinking sparkling wine today not champagne, well, actually, Denis will be drinking gin and I will have another large whisky.' She said she was also unhappy about the exclusion of the United States and Canada given the high standards of politician-care in these countries and the fact that some of their best-known breeds, including the Short-Haired Ronnie, had a record of impeccable behaviour on visits to this country in the past. …

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