Cabinet Meeting, May 2005
Good morning folks, make yourselves
comfortable before the boss arrives. I see there's lots of new
faces here today so first off I'll just mention the magic words
"coffee fund" and pass the tin round. Those of you
who are familiar with the tin may notice the slot in the top
is now smaller and I'd just like to say that it's a lot fatter
than a penny and I don't want to see any pennies when I count
the contents later.
Can I ask if anyone knows anything about
spoiling that Radio 4 chap's election vote?
Asking for a postal vote in his name
was a stroke of genius, as he didn't find out till he turned
up at his local polling station. You don't have to actually own
up, just slip a note in the coffee tin and I'll see the PM organises
something at the next round of awards.
It's a pity we can't let him know it was one of us but he deserves
all he got the way he goes on at us with these whingeing questions
of his every morning.
Actually it's a spiffing way of dealing
with marginal seats. Just work out who's going to vote for Conservative
and apply for a postal vote for them. Do it at the last moment.
Hardly anyone opens those brown envelopes so there's a good chance
most will just turn up on the day and get turned away.
The first thing I'd like to raise for
the agenda this morning is football. You're presumably aware
what happened to baseball in the US aren't you?
Puzzled noises and mumbling from round
Well for those of you that don't follow
the game, I'll tell you. Pots and pots of money went into the
game and players began to earn really silly amounts for their
wages and as you know money attracts money so in the end it wasn't
players that were bought and sold it was whole teams. When a
new owner decided it was too far to travel to see his new team
he just moved the whole team to his own town.
Well a little bird has told me the same
thing's going to happen here in respect of football. Basically
most managers are fed up with their local planners. The clubs
want to build new grounds so they can get more gate money and
the local planners are bleating about green belts and the local
residents are moaning about the environment so they're stuck
with their little grounds stuck in the middle of towns.
They can't crank up the prices of seats
indefinitely so they want a lot more seats. I heard the other
day that the manager of a big Northern team has been writing
to out-of-area town councils to see if they'd be willing to let
him build a huge football stadium in return for an allocation
of free life-time season tickets for "charitable purposes"
amongst other things.
What "charitable purposes"
Without putting too fine a point on
it. Palm greasing you irk David.
Anyway, back to what I was saying. In
London it's impossible for football teams to find bigger grounds
and I heard that a certain manager is going to move the whole
team out of London. He's already taken the first step, which
by the way is supposed to be hush hush so don't go blatting about
it to all and sundry.
What's that Deputy PM? What's this first
Well Eustace old chap, quite simple
really. If I asked you, "Who won't like moving away from
the home ground" what would you say?
No idea Deputy PM. Who?
Someone that doesn't come from London
You mean someone from Accrington or
somewhere similar in the wastelands north of Watford?
Quite Eustace, but not necessarily from
up there. Even further than Partick Thistle.
Where Deputy PM?
If I was to mention Byelorussia
would that mean anything to you?
Is that near Bolton Deputy PM? My geography
isn't too hot. I came from a London Comprehensive school where
the three "Rs" meant things more esoteric like Comparative
Religion, Responsible Parenting and Gay Rights.
Look Eustace I can't go on all day about
this. Putting it bluntly
Chelsea Football Club is moving
to Kiev, which isn't anywhere near Bolton or Bradford come to
that; it's in the Ukraine near where the team's owner lives.
Quite logical really. He can spend more time with his family.
Isn't that miles and miles away deputy
PM? What about the team's fixtures and fans?
No problem Eustace. With all these flights
for £5 each way they'll actually save loads of money on
That's amazing Deputy PM. Is that the
only team that's moving?
Not exactly Eustace. I have it on good
authority that a certain team in Manchester are moving to the
USA. As I said before it's already very common for American baseball
teams to up stakes and move across the US and it's only a logical
extension for other sports to follow suit. The new owner of that
particular team couldn't buy a decent team locally so he came
over here and effectively paid peanuts for them.
Won't all the players object to moving
to the USA Deputy PM?
Of course not Eustace. They'll all get
pots and pots of money and anyone that doesn't want to go will
just get sold and that'll fill the new owner's pockets with cash.
The Government's official stand is still
being worked out by the spin doctors but it'll have the usual
combination of words in an official statement to be published
in the Bradford Hindi Weekly after we've knocked off for the
summer recess.... "We have no plans", "We're putting
an extra 2.4 billion onto the NHS", "WMDs" and
quicker getting to the new venue than local transport in 65%
of towns over the period 1823 to 1876".. Someone will cover
that last point by saying it was a "Printing mistake in
Hansard"... like your goodself Madam Minister". By
the way... that was a jolly good wheeze saying that and stopping
that BBC Radio 4 wally in his tracks... excellent.
Well now you're all in the picture and
it looks as if the PM isn't going to turn up, so I'll just give
some really exciting news.
What's that Deputy PM? When you refer
to "exciting" it usually means we're getting a rise.
Not exactly David. An extra two weeks
summer holiday. So that you can all go on holiday with your kids
we're making the parliamentary session line up exactly with school
holidays. Of course school holidays are all higgledy piggledy
but our Welfare Department Think Tank worked out that by adding
an extra week onto the start and end of our summer break everyone
will get a holiday equal or better to their kids'.
Great Deputy PM. I'll be able to take
Rover on extra walks. What do you think of that Rover?
Righto everyone now clear off and let
me get some work done. Lots of plotting and scheming to do over
the next four years..
Before we pop off Deputy PM can I just
raise a question put to me by one of my constituents regarding
shortage of housing in London?
If you must Eustace, although why on
earth you put yourself in the position to be asked a question
I don't know?
The chap asked me if I was a public
servant and I thought for a minute and said yes.
Go on Eustace.. but you know you should
never ever ever answer a question with an actual answer. That
could land you in loads of trouble..
He said that he was a member of the
public, and I was his servant, and as servants always live in
servants' quarters would I mind moving out of my suite of offices
and let him and his wife and kids move in. He said I could have
the broom cupboard.
Sort it out yourself Eustace but if
I were you I'd ask him if he'd like a job with Chesea Football
Club with free tickets to see all the games but I'd make sure
he signs something first!