Sunday, April 15, 2007


The Great Neil Hamilton Mystery

Getting cards from strangers at birthday and Christmas time is one of the hazards of making friends, I suppose. At least with my leaflets there's no danger that they can ask for my address and promise to "keep in touch" after a heady holiday romance, only to disappoint and never be heard of again.

On occasion I get cards from people who I barely remember, or ones where the signature is so indecipherable that it's illegible. But yesterday I received a card that kept me guessing for a good while...

It was addressed to me at my mum's house (where I haven't lived full time for 8 years), and was signed, in very large handwritten letters "Richard!! Happy Birthday!! Best Wishes..." and then the signature looked exactly like "Christine (Hamilton)" followed by, underneath, in a different colourned pen, a signature that looked remarkably like "Neil Hamilton."

I have never met Christine or Neil Hamilton. And disgraced ex-Conservative ministers and their wives aren't likely to be following my campaign closely.

So why have they sent me a birthday card, I thought? Also, why has Christine put "Hamilton" in brackets, as if I should know who she was? "Oh, THAT Christine..."

And why did they swap pens? Why was it sent to my mum's house? And what the hell is going on in general?? Why have I got a birthday card from Neil Hamilton????!!!

Is this some coded way of saying that I am perceived to be riddled in sleaze? Is the card actually from Martin Bell as a way of announcing his intention to run against me?

I pondered this thought for a while, and rang my mum.

"Oh yeah," she said, casually. "It really is from them."

It turns out that my Mum's partner met them at a conference and, knowing I have a developing thing for political autographs, asked them for their's. It doesn't quite rank alongside Lloyd George (my current target), but still, one more for the collection. Two more, I suppose.

He didn't tell me about his meeting, preferring instead to have me receive a birthday card from two famous strangers... But the mystery was a fun one to solve, and it was a very kind gesture. And Mr and Mrs Hamilton, if you're reading, thanks for the card!


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