Back in February my regular readers may recall that I asked 'Who got a card then?' when Gordon told Parliament that he spent £1,379 on approximately 1500 Christmas cards in 2007. Well, thanks to the joy of 'Freedom of Information' I now know who. After much pondering it seems - two months in fact - the Cabinet Office have given me some information.
The response is truly hilarious I must say. First up, I am not allowed the private list because it might cause unneceesary harm to people without a public profile (which is fine and reasonable). It also says that 'releasing the names of those people who receive Christmas cards from the Prime Minister might offend people who did not receive cards when others did'.
They then proceeded to refer me to a judgement by the Information Commissioner in 2004 about publishing the list that said, they should publish the list of Heads of State and Government only. Given that, I'm not sure why they procrastinated on giving me a list, but the 'might offend people who did not receive cards' line certainly holds true.
Sadly I only have a pdf of a scan and currently do not have the means to edit it and remove some of the personal information, but I have just read, and re-read, the list multiple times and there appear to be at least two people missing that are of interest. There may be more but my knowledge of every leader of the world is limited I must admit.
Of particular amusement is the continuation of the Cold War. You see, I have checked many times, and Vladimir Putin didn't get a card, but Hu Jinto did? So the latter, a communist that probably doesn't do religion and Christmas got one (with blue suited bodyguards in Downing Street as return present?). The former gets the snub. Good to see we support Chen Shui-bian in Taiwan though (not).
However, perhaps Putin not getting a card explains why Neil Kinnock's son was arrested in January? Could it be that Vlad was a tad peeved that Gordon had not sent him a picture of snowman so decided to get his own back by arresting the son of a former Labour leader? Hmmmmm? Who knows!
Mind you, we all know that Gordon is a 'good' European (read europhile nightmare). After all, he signed the Lisbon Treaty (albeit late). And yet, no matter how hard I try when I read this list, Angela Merkel's name is not there. Does Brown have something against Germany because he is 'oh so British?". What did Angela do to suffer a great snub from the dour one? Gordon wasn't holding a grudge because he was being labeled a Jonah was he?
Update: Here is the list