Dear Aunt Agatha,
People underestimate me and it’s beginning to rankle. I could put it down to racism or sexism, but if it continues, it could threaten my career. For example, people say I’m not very good at radio interviews, when the truth is that I spend 10 days every week learning to improve my communication skills. They ignore my 27 years with a TV company, and my 54-year stint as press officer for a major public body. As everyone acknowledges, I was thought good there and my boss never accused me of sleeping on the job.
People also criticize what they call my “vagueness” with numbers, mistakenly supposing that it matters. If we are to have 6,000 additional police officers, does it matter if they are paid £900 each, or £199,000? It is the principle that matters, not the accuracy. And what’s a couple of billion pounds, here and there? Like many of my colleagues, I sent my son to a private school, even though we continue to campaign against them.
Please advise me on how to break away from these negative images that so seriously undervalue me.
You are right that they undervalue you, and you do need to strike out in a new direction to divert attention away from these trivial criticisms. The obvious route is through more television, and I suggest you avoid boring them with politics, and gain a reputation as an entertaining figure of fun. “Strictly Come Dancing” should be your first foray into this world, followed immediately by “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.” People will warm to your pluck and persistence as you bounce around, and learn to love you. Look what it did to rehabilitate Ed Balls. The house you’re currently elected to doesn’t really suit you, so your next step should be a spell in the “Big Brother” house itself, which would be vastly more watchable if you could contrive to have another public figure needing rehabilitation to join you there – maybe Ken Livingstone?