Why do I wish to become a lord? It most certainly is not for the pageantry and the fancy dress, although they are important. While I quite agree with you about the need to recognise certain ancient customs for the sake of continuity, I also agree with the emphasis you have placed on informality and innovation. Nor does my application owe anything to the desire to have a title on my letterhead which will impress my bank and get me upgraded to club class on long-haul flights. Though Lord Aaronovitch of Dartmouth Park (my preferred nomenclature) does have a ring to it, it plays no part either, in my desire to enter the second chamber.
No, Mr Blair. It is my wish to serve that prompts this letter. I want to deploy whatever talents I may possess to the benefit of the British people and - if I may say so - to the furtherance of what I am told is now called "The Blair Project".
But why me? I am not, after all, a member of the Labour Party. But some of your other appointments suggest an awareness (almost a prescience) that those most committed to the "Project" are likely never to have belonged to the party itself. In addition, the vast majority of Labour people of any calibre will now be in the Commons anyway. Frankly (I hope I may speak frankly) only the dregs, rejects and has-beens failed to get seats in your wonderful victory on 1 May. True, Roy Hattersley will obviously get one of the Lords jobs, but I am not telling you anything you don't know when I say that this may be a mixed blessing.
Well, Mr Blair, I am young (for a lord). I am one of the few former presidents of the National Union of Students who is not an MP, but I have no reason to think that I am any less talented than the others. My journalistic experience is extensive-ish and I am familiar with the world of politics, albeit from the other side of the divide. I have often appeared on radio and television, including one recent spot on the Today programme, which friends told me was a great success. I like to think that I am loyal and presentable (my taste in ties is not dissimilar to your own, and I am prepared to lose a bit of weight if you think it desirable). I own no shares in BP, but am willing to buy some if this helps.
Most important, however, is my appreciation of the task that you are attempting to accomplish. You would be guaranteed my support on virtually all aspects of the Government's programme (though I do wonder whether independence for Scotland is not a preferable option to mere devolution - at least from the English point of view). Finally, though not a Christian myself (I am a Zoroastrian), I understand the deep need for a spiritual and moral dimension in both public and private life. So be assured that, whatever the temptations, I shall be keeping my hands to myself!
I am available for interview at any time, except for two weeks at the end of August when my family and I will be taking a holiday in Tuscany. (Who knows, perhaps we may bump into each other!) In the meantime, should you wish to take up my references please contact Andrew Marr, editor of The Independent, who will attest to my professional competence (he is actively encouraging this application), or my GP Dr Marlene Blatt, who will confirm that Prozac has almost completely dealt with the depression that led to the "flashing" incident on Hampstead Heath. My old headmaster, alas, is long dead.
For further clarification please do not hesitate to get in touch yourself, or through Alastair Campbell. Yours in anticipation.