Of all the personalities and egos our halls of parliament have seen, there are a few divas currently prowling the corridors of power who take the crown – and we don’t mean the government’s new Brexit department. Along with the Cabinet Office’s latest furry residents Ossie and Evie, longer standing Downing Street cats Gladstone, Larry and Palmerston (when they’re not helping to strike new trade deals, analysing the economy or delivering compelling speeches) have all been tasked to catch mice. But this seems to be at the bottom of all their priority lists. Let’s take a look at what these colourful three get up to.
Historically, their ancestors did a lot better at mousing than they do currently. Take Frilly, the terror of 1909’s mouse and rat community who made it onto the British War Office’s payroll. Or ferocious Tom cat, Treasury Bill, Britain’s greatest ever recorded mouser. Treasury Bill’s modern day counterpart, Gladstone, spends most of his time getting pampered by his six office colleagues and enjoys lying on desks, brushing pens off with his tail. Luckily for Gladstone, he’s cute, because he’s not catching many mice. He occasionally helps with the filing – if sitting in the filing cabinet counts. Which, Gladstone should probably know, it doesn’t.
Rumour has it David Cameron resigned because he was embarrassed by Cabinet Office Larry’s mouse catching abilities. “Sadly,” Cameron said shortly before he left No.10, “I can’t take Larry with me. He belongs to the house and the staff love him very much – as do I.” Well, lucky for Larry, he had the press on his side during that controversial time. Employed as Chief Mouser, Larry has unfortunately created a new role for himself since: Chief Bruiser. He’s definitely a fighter, not a lover, despite his romance with local heartthrob, Maisie the cat, as he’s constantly found screeching around the building. Terrified Cabinet Office staff report that Larry has found a reliable sparring partner – enter black and white Palmerston.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has seen a lot of talent go through its doors, but unfortunately Palmerston isn’t one of those talents. A failed linguist and useless diplomat (he lost his territory to Larry and couldn’t negotiate it back), at least Palmerston is doing OK in his role as Chief Mouser. He even made headlines once – because the mouse got away and sold its story to the papers. Palmerston isn’t one to be mocked though, he’s certainly smashed Larry’s mousing and housekeeping records. But he’s developed a criminal record. He was recently caught sneaking into No.10 while the door was left ajar. He was soon surrounded and removed by armed police, avoiding a night in the cells. When he’s not sneaking into No.10, Palmerston can be found playing with his many toys (kept in a SWAG bag) and sleeping behind the window sill curtains.
Are our three furry divas earning their keep by catching mice? We think not, but we’ll let them off for being good sports; they’re often snapped wearing Union Jack collars and at night, if you listen, you can hear these Downing Street cats meow the national anthem in purrfect harmony.
You’ll fine the next installment in our series on The Government Cats here.