by Sinclair Newton
Its amazing what you can do when you are sober. I am, of course, assuming this will not have some prophetic result, but I even felt able today to write a complaining letter to the driving licence people who - for some reason known only to Swansea - are in Swansea.
You have to understand that these people have had my licence off me several times for reasons associated with drinking when I shouldnt have been and they were quite right, too.
But just because I have gone diabetic, they have gone unapologetic and written me an awful letter which at first seems to suggest they are revoking my right to drive and then suddenly veers off like a drunken woman behind the wheel and says theres no problem.
Ive delayed the letter for them for a day or so until it gets to the transport minister via my MP, though Ive just realised its August and theyre all probably on holiday on a yacht. I wish I could afford a yacht and its probably my own fault for not staying sober and becoming a politician. Actually, it didnt seem like a good idea at the time and it doesnt in retrospect.
Anyway, for what its worth, which is probably not a lot since its holidaytime everywhere, heres my letter. Its going to our Webmaster, Mr. Gary Hardy, as what I am reliably informed is an attachment. Im glad of that because the word gives me an opportunity to point out that his attachment to Ibiza is now some twenty years long and that is a matter for some congratulations. (Ive just noticed it on his distinguished letter-headed paper on which he has sent me three alternative routes to Ibiza and at the bottom it says: LiveIbiza Established Since 1982 as if it was some ancient apothecary. (I seem to remember that year well, though I would be obliged if anyone can tell me what I was doing around then).
The celebrations will have to wait until my new driving licence appears and I will be setting off on the long and winding road to come and see you all.
35 Meadow Lane
For the attention of Geoff Theophilus, Complaints Manager, DVLC, Swansea.
NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF YOUR TEA BREAK
Dear Mr. Theophilus,
I was horrified to receive a letter today from a Mrs L Beynon, which at first appeared to say I couldnt drive any more because I have become diabetic.
It was particularly distressing because I am about to undertake the journey of a lifetime driving overland (and sea) to Ibiza.
It took several minutes to realise that in fact it was telling me there was no problem, despite being headed:
NOTICE OF REVOCATION
How on Earth do you think diabetics - needle in one hand, map in the other - will first react when they see that?
Mrs. Beynons missive even had the four pages arranged in the wrong order, so the first one I saw was telling me to return my licence in the enclosed brown envelope!
I am quite sure you could dash off a new version of the letter in your tea break today. Please intervene, have the letter redone and stop frightening vulnerable people.
Instead of saying: I am sorry to have to tell you that our Medical Adviser has recommended a regular review of your fitness to drive, there is no reason why it couldnt say: I am pleased to tell you that you may continue to keep your licence, though you will have to undertake a medical review every three years.
I gather from Diabetes UK that there are a million undiagnosed diabetics in this country, which means you will be sending a million copies of this frightening letter in the foreseeable future.
Of course, there is always the possibility that Mrs. Beynon has a wicked sense of humour and is sending out this awfully-written letter with the pages jumbled up on purpose.
That is why I am sending a copy of this superbly-written letter to the Editor of Balance, the Diabetes UK magazine and to my Member of Parliament Andrew Bennett for him to forward to the Ministry of Transport, so you had better act fast.
Perhaps you could do it before your tea break and then, as I have done, you would be able to ignore the heading above.
There is probably nothing more important for you to deal with today than this because I have delayed posting your copy of this letter by a day so the Minister for Transport will have it first and is about to ring you.
I should also point out that I have sent it to LiveIbiza.com where it will appear on Saturday among a selection of some of the finest columns on the Internet.
It is worth pointing out that the charming woman I have just spoken to in Swansea said: Do you know, Mr. Newton, I think you are absolutely right. That letter is a disgrace. I have had lots of complaints about it before. I would love you to write to Mr. Theophilus.
The Editor, Balance Magazine
Andrew Bennett, MP.
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