12 September 2007

A further break with the Blair era

After an absence of nearly ten years a firm paw is once again residing in Downing Street. Sybil, a black and white cat owned by the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, and his wife, Margaret, will be the Government’s official mouser. The Darlings have brought Sybil, named after the character in Fawlty Towers, from their Edinburgh home to live in their flat above 10 Downing Street. Gordon Brown's spokesman explained: "It's quite difficult to confine cats. The Prime Minister doesn't have a problem with it. Sarah Brown doesn't have a problem with it."

Sibyl follows in the paw-steps of Wilberforce who served Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher. He was succeeded by Humphrey, a long-haired black and white stray named after Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Mandarin in the sitcom, Yes, Minister. Humphrey served Margaret Thatcher and John Major before being mysteriously "retired" in 1997 amid rumours that Cherie Blair was allergic to cats.


When No 10 announced that Humphrey had gone into retirement, photographers had to be taken to picture him posing with that day's newspapers to scotch speculation that he had been put down. Whitehall files later disclosed he had been pensioned off – with his food and vet bills paid from a Cabinet Office stipend – because he was no longer up to the job of chasing mice.

15 comments:

The Lone Beader said...

Oh, I do hope that Banksy comes along and stencils a few rats for Sybil=:)

Bryan said...

It's good to know that natural rodent control is being used.

[Since you're a fellow lefty, Jams, no jokes about the incompatibility of poodles and cats.]

Gattina said...

Ah ! I am happy ! A cat again in Downing Street ! That was the only thing I didn't like at the Blair family (I don't talk about politics but only private) People who don't like cats make me suspicious, lol ! And it's a very cute cat. I only hope that the poor thing will not be persecuted by paparazzis and becomes a second Diana !

Siani said...

Ha ha! Great minds think alike. I wrote about this yesterday, too. Hurrah for Sybil. No need for Manuel to run around after rats any more!

jams o donnell said...

Great idea! Sadly he would probably be shot scaling the gates to Downing street...


Ha Bryan, a poodle wouldn't stand a chance with a cat! Brown is more like a dour scottie.

It's good to see that Brown is okay with cats. This in itself is the most important policy change sinc Blair's departure!

Filigree siberian hamsters, Siani!

Steve Bates said...

A handsome cat, that Sybil! Your government is in good paws, and is surely now well-protected from mice.

A friend named one of her cats Lord Peter Wimsey. A big old feisty tom, he could not live indoors because he got in serious fights with the other cats. Lord Peter was miraculously recovered after being "catnapped" by an overzealous neighbor. From my friend's perspective, it was as if Lord Peter had returned from the dead. I suggested (in doggerel, regrettably not online) that she rename him Lord Jesus...

jams o donnell said...

It's good to see a firm paw on the lever of Government Steve. LOL that's a good one... but surely any cat considers itself a god already!

beakerkin said...

Hmm

A few weeks back you were wondering if Ted was getting meals someplace else. Could this be Ted in some nefarious feline plot to get free food.

jams o donnell said...

Well he has been vanishing for longish periods and he can be pretty chatming....

Bryan said...

I can't imagine Ted cross-dressing for food.

jams o donnell said...

I don't know.. The prospect of food and some cats will let dignity go for a little while!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Such a formal appointment demands a formal kitty-and only a tuxedo cat will do.

I thought the cat was named Sybil for Sally Field's schizophrenia movie.

jams o donnell said...

Of course. Ted is perfectly attired for the Downing street function for movers and shakers in the cat world. I don't know the Sally Field film. Any good?

Gert said...

Less of this cat nonsense, I am so with Cherie Blair on this one ;-) ;-)

This article implies the Darlings are living above No. 10, so presumably the Browns are in the larger flat above No. 11.

A British Tradition requires merely two occurrences

jams o donnell said...

I'll get my revenge on National Bring Your Cat to Work day Gert! It does look like the Browns decided to take over the no 11 flat as Blair did before him