Implausible Story No17

"We will not introduce 'top-up' fees and have legislated to prevent them" (2001 Election Manifesto)

 

First Cabinet Meeting of 2004

Welcome to our little get-together lads and lasses and let me wish you all the very best for 2004, and as is customary before we start the first meeting of the new year, and before the boss arrives, I'll get the admin bits and pieces sorted out.

First the coffee fund. Due to unforeseen rises in costs I've got to put up the contribution from 50p. Is that OK with everyone.

Chorus from the ranks…"Yes Deputy PM. It's OK by us. It's super coffee".

Deputy PM?

Yes Nigel. What is it?

You didn't say how much the coffee fund contribution will be Deputy PM.

Didn't I Nigel. It must have slipped my memory. Now can we proceed.

Chorus…."Yes Deputy PM".

Deputy PM?

Yes Nigel, what is it again?

How much is the coffee going to be Deputy PM?

£50 Nigel. Now can we go on?

Is that for the whole year Deputy PM?

No Nigel. It's per meeting.

I know its super coffee Deputy PM but isn't that rather steep?

Look here Nigel, with all my extra responsibilities the PM kindly saddled me with, I've been a bit pushed for time and I've had to hire extra staff in my Department to handle the purchase of coffee and biscuits AND a new tin, I might add, as the last one went missing; fortunately it was empty.

I was going to name the new Department, "The Internal Affairs Department of the Cabinet Office" until some irk pointed out an alternative interpretation of the wording so instead it'll be called "The Cabinet Office Logistics Department". They also actually make the coffee and bring it here each day. I tried to get a ministerial car for them to do this but in the end I had to authorise taxis. I say taxis because the biscuits come from a different building than the coffee. You just wouldn't believe the complexities of all this. In fact one of my new staff is dealing with the potential privatisation of the whole business. I just don't know how I cope with all this extra responsibility. You lot are really lucky to have me looking after you.

Sit down Nigel, and no you can't bring your own flask.

Look here Nigel. The new Department has 10 people and they each get paid £20,000 per annum, that's £200,000 total to cover 20 of you lot at £50 per day for 200 meetings which adds up to £200,000. You're really getting off lightly because the materials are free from a friend, who runs a chain of grocery stores, that owes me a favour.

Yes Nigel. I do take credit cards, just slip it in the coffee tin.

I'll now move on to the big problem we have today. The PM is resting upstairs as he's had another of his turns on account of these top-up fees. As you know the subject was in our Election Manifesto and some bright spark has decided to give notice that he will sue our PM for breach of promise and breach of contract if he goes ahead and introduces them.

He tells me that when he voted for our party he did so on the full understanding that we would stick to what we said in our Manifesto.

Frankly I don't understand as we only wrote that stuff to get elected. If we'd said we were going to arrange for increased mortgage payments; increasing inflation; redundancies; less doctors and higher taxes; would we have got ourselves elected? Fat chance of that. So we told everyone what we thought they'd like to hear. Everyone surely knew that!

Anyway lads and lasses I'd like some suggestions for sorting this out.

What's that Nigel?

Vote against top up fees.

Look Nigel you're skating on thin ice already. If you want to keep your job you'd better change your tune. That goes for the rest of you lot as well. If not the PM will have a shuffle and I don't mean a quickstep I mean redundancies. Is that understood.

What's that Nigel?

Where's the coffee? There's been a slight problem in that area today. Teething trouble. The new department, being civil service, are still on holiday so there's no coffee and biscuits today.

Look I know I've already passed the tin round but someone has to pay the wages of my new department. Watch my lips…. Redundancies.

A spot of news for you by the way. The PM had a chat with his friend in the States last night. You know this British Mars experiment. It's called Beagle 2 I think. Well the US Mars Orbiter has a powerful telescope on board and they managed to home it in on Beagle 2. They spotted a little TV screen and it had some writing on it. They managed to carry out some fancy enhancements like you see on those FBI films on TV and they read the writing on the screen.

What was it Deputy PM?

Hold your horses Nigel. Let me finish.

It said, "Windows has met an unexpected problem, press any key to continue and contact your software vendor".

The PM suggested I ask for a volunteer to press the key. Nigel how are you fixed for next Saturday morning?

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