a series of divisions in the House yesterday on regional select committees' proposed meetings around the country in their respective regions. Seems like a good idea to me, but the Government lost the first vote because its backbenchers were presumably getting beery downstairs in the Strangers' Bar. On the proposed meeting of the South-East Regional Grand Committee (for so they are known), to be held in Reading on Monday 14th September at 1030, there was also a division, this time not lost by the government, but Mr Salter abstained. What could be more important? I understand the meeting is to take place in his favourite constituency, Reading East, so surely the finest beer in the world could not matter more than the vote? Sadly it did. It mattered even more than the Reading GC, for which Mr Salter has never knowingly been on time.
On a slightly different note, a correspondent writes:
I read that Rethink has published a survey reporting that 11% of MPs have suffered from personal mental health problems, and as I know you have been accused of somehting along those lines by the bigoted Reading Labour boys maybe I can encourage you to help lift the stigma against mental health problems in general by commenting from a position of knowledge of the stresses entailed in the job.
Yeah, it's a stressful job. But so is cleaning offices (and I have done that too, many years ago) and so is teaching (which I have done more recently). And both of those pay less. And depression has very little to do with the kind of job you do. Fortunately I don't suffer from it. The correspondent was writing to me about a BBC report which mentions among other things that the Norwegian prime minister "admitted" suffering from depression and was still re-elected!