Dear Tom Pursglove,
I am very sorry to think that my Conservative MP is a liar, but it seems the only possible explanation of the facts.
Before the election, your boyish excitement that the A45 from Stanwick to Thrapston might be dualled was initially quite attractive in its naïvety. It is hardly the equivalent of building the M1- it is a distance of about six miles, and cars enabled to pass the lorries on the road might conceivably get to Thrapston a minute quicker. Still you were excited, and you sent me and others cards through the post announcing it. I am perturbed that you imagine it was your campaigning rather than that of Mr Sawford, the sitting Labour MP, that made this possible: it is tantamount to accusing the Tory Secretary of State for Transport of corruption, giving gifts to Conservatives for narrow party advantage rather than the public good.
However then it emerged that there is no funding for the project; that it will not commence until 2020, possibly not until 2026; and that it might not start at all, because of possible environmental concerns. Mr Sawford announced this, and it would have been graceful of you to apologise for what could still, then, charitably have been called a mistake.
Instead of that, you posted this rubbish on your website, headed “Transport Minister refutes Labour A45 Scare Story”. This is a serious allegation, that the Labour MP is spreading falsehoods to scare voters. However, in the article you admitted that The proposals to improve the A45 between Thrapston and Stanwick will be developed by Highways England during the first Road Period, which runs from 2015/16 to 2019/20, but may not enter construction until the next Road Period as the environmental sensitivities of the site are recognised by the Department for Transport. It is important that we get this right. In other words Mr Sawford had been correct, and you had not.
However when I emailed you to point this out, you replied, I am sorry that you do not believe what I have said on this – time will prove who is right and who is wrong.
This perplexed me. Could you really not perceive the difference between “We now have the dualling of the A45” and that the A45 might be dualled, but probably not for ten years and perhaps never?
Were you just blustering? No-one will care, you thought. Never explain, never apologise may be the motto of the Alpha Male, but I was brought up to believe that Conservatives were gentlemen, who behaved in an honourable way.
Perhaps you did not see the difference, and did not understand what Mr Sawford was saying. But that would mean you are a fool.
When I described this to Eileen, a prosperous, middle aged married lady, the kind of person with a stake in the country that you might imagine to be a natural Tory voter, she was surprised that it so perturbed me. She said it is just the way politicians speak- divorced from reality, concerned only about image, saying what they imagine would make us like them if only we believed it. This contempt for the political class is a serious threat to our democracy. It may be too late for politicians to restore our faith in you, but surely you see that telling the truth is a necessary condition for that.
However it is possible that you are our enemy, deliberately seeking to weaken democracy by inflaming that contempt and inciting hatred for benefit claimants and immigrants, to benefit your wealthy paymasters.
A change from Hogarth: Gilray. If only “Light expelling darkness” were true!