Cabinet Meeting, November 2004
Hello lads and lasses, come in and sit
yourselves down, the PM wanted me to call you in and explain
a bit about David's idea about making the law more approachable,
as it were.
Do you mean that announcement I heard
on Radio 4 about giving the phone numbers of local policemen
to the public so they could feel a bit closer to the long arm
of the law?
Well what's to tell Deputy PM, it's
all been said by that chappie on the wireless?
Not quite Eustace, there's been a few
teething troubles and the scheme is going ahead slightly modified.
I always thought you could ring up the
local bobby anyway deputy PM. Just ring the local police station
and chat away to your heart's content?
When did you last ring a police station
Er let me see
I rang about an
unexploded bomb in 1943 if I remember correctly Deputy PM.
Well things have changed slightly Eustace.
If you ring the local number you get put through to a police
call centre and they take all your details so that the local
policemen don't get all stressed listening to a lot of whingeing
Oh I didn't realise that Deputy PM.
So what's this new scheme all about?
When you ring the new number you were
supposed to get put straight through to the local bobby but there's
been a slight change.
Why is that Deputy PM it sounds like
a jolly good idea?
Well it would be just the same as the
old system and our boys in blue don't want to go back to that.
Go on Deputy PM.
The system that's being implemented
now is much better because we've got a new call centre that's
going to filter out all the nuisance calls, you know about barking
dogs and noisy parties etc
Callers will get straight through to a very understanding young
lady who will make notes and say she'll call back, but pass any
real emergencies through to the old police call centre
They will benefit because they'll only get interesting things
to listen to like murders.
That sounds like a great idea Deputy
Can I try it out?
If you must Eustace.
Picks up the phone and dials 999.
Which service do you require?
Police, please, young lady.
Lots of clicking and buzzing followed
Hello this is the police here where are you calling from?
The Prime Minister's house.
Oh good evening sirrah, that must be
an important call?
What do you mean good evening, it's
only nine o'clock in the morning?
Sorree sirrah, I thought you were calling
from our Prime Minister's House.
I am. That's number ten in Downing Street.
Sorree sirrah I thought you were here
How can I help? Oh and before we start
I have to tell you that this is a special line and the charge
is 150 rupees a minute.
Rupees! What are you babbling about?
Sorree sirrah, I'm quite new here, I
mean one pound fifty pennies per minute.
Eustace quickly puts down the phone.
Something's wrong, Deputy PM, I got
through to a young lady in Rawlpindi.
Nothing wrong old man, we're using an
Indian call centre. They're a lot cheaper than those in the UK.
Everyone's doing it now.
It was a premium line Deputy PM.
Quite right Eustace. The new scheme
has to be self-financing.
Not only will it attract more money for Gordon here but also
it should stop all these nuisance calls and only really important
things will get through to our lads in blue.
They can't do everything you know. Somehow we've got to stop
them getting submerged up to their ears in barking dogs.
Now what do you think about our push to get emergency outpatients
waiting time down?
I'm afraid I can't think of anyone that
could be bothered one jot Deputy PM, we've got our membership
of BUPA if we stub our toe.
That's not the attitude to take Eustace
old boy. Let me explain to you the PM's reasoning. First he tells
everyone we've got waiting times down to a world record low figure
of four hours and everyone will think that's really good.
Four hours does seem to be quite a long
time to me Deputy PM. Imagine sitting waiting bleeding all over
the floor for all that time.
Well, take it from me, four hours is
jolly good. Actually it's a statistical average and it only applies
to working days so we don't include weekends.
When you say working days you'd include
Monday and Friday as well Deputy PM?
Yes you irk, it's only the privileged
few like us whose working week is three days. Everyone else has
to stick with it for five days.
How is the figure kept so reasonable
Quite clever really old man. You know
that everyone expects hospital car parks to be always nearly
full and the parking meter costs are really expensive?
Well the PM came up with a simply wizard
idea. There will be only two vacant spaces in each hospital car
park. We've ordered a new computer that will keep track of spaces
and when a car goes a special projector makes a hologram image
of a car in the empty space. The car park is actually empty and,
except for two spaces, a hologram will be projected in each parking
bay. If too many people turn up in the waiting area the reception
lady will instuct her computer to add holograms to the remaining
two empty car park spaces.
What if there's a computer failure Deputy
We've thought of that Eustace. The coin
machines won't give you a ticket if the holograms aren't working.
We've already tried a pilot system in some areas. When you put
any coins in the machine they go straight through without issuing
a ticket. There's a large sign warning everyone that their car
will be towed away if there isn't a ticket on the windscreen
and to get it back will cost £1,000.
Basically the only people arriving at casualty will be the odd
patient arriving by ambulance or on foot and two cars every few
hours or so.
What about coming by bus Deputy PM?
All the bus companies will be told not
to stop their bus any nearer than three miles from the nearest
hospital else their contract won't be renewed.
As far as arriving on foot, we're going to divert the paths leading
to the casualty entrances along the back of an eight-foot high
chain link fence stretching at least two miles. You know, like
the route into town for ferry foot passengers at Cherbourg.
While we're on the subject of health
Deputy PM, I went to get a check up at the dentists yesterday
and he told me he wouldn't need to see me for a year. When I
asked if all my teeth had fallen out he said they were OK but
he wasn't allowed to see his NHS patients more than once a year
now. Is that right?
You cheapskate Eustace. Why aren't you
private like the rest of us?
I don't know Deputy PM. I just sort
of never bothered to change.
Well I'd bother now Eustace or all your
teeth will probably fall out. The NHS dentists are costing us
a small fortune so the PM thought it was a good idea to slash
costs by half and extend the period for inspections from 6-months
to a year. After all he said. You don't take your car to be MoT'd
more than once a year do you?
I don't have to take my car to be MoT'd,
Deputy POM, it's brand new!
Well most of the plebs do Eustace so
By the way Eustace why are only you and Gordon here today, and
he's been fiddling with a slide rule most of the time. I've noticed
numbers have been dropping for our little get togethers lately?
I think most of them are busy Deputy
You mean with the trappings of office
Eustace? I know being an MP is a full time job without having
to turn up to Cabinet meetings all the time.
I don't think it's to do with their
MP jobs Deputy PM.
What do you mean Eustace?
Well, like that Conservative Editor
chappie, most of us have proper jobs you know. Even though we
managed to reduce our parliamentary business to just Tuesday,
Wednesday and Thursday, it's ever so hard not to have to spend
time in our proper jobs. After all we have to justify our large
fat- cat pay packets. We can't just turn up on a Saturday morning
you know. It's not like a paper round. Most of us have really
I'm only here because I thought it was Monday. I overslept after
the office party.
What do you mean Eustace... you had
an office party on Sunday?
Not exactly Deputy PM it was actually
We won't go into that Eustace, I think
I'll move onto the last item on the agenda.
It's quite an important item.
It's to do with allowing big supermarket bosses to build extra
large supermarkets on greenbelt farmland.
The PM and myself think it's a wonderful idea.
In exchange for me overturning local council decisions not to
allow development in greenbelts the big supermarket bosses are
going to cut our unemployed numbers to zero. That will save us
pots of money in unemployment benefit and other handouts.
How will they do that Deputy PM?
Shelf stackers Eustace. The kingpins
of Industry. A huge army of shelfstackers. Mostly employed during
the small hours.
Anyone signing on at their employment exchange, sorry Job Centre,
will have to accept a job as a shelf stacker from next January.
Are there enough jobs Deputy PM?
Well put it like this Eustace. We'll
share out the work between everyone then reduce the number of
hours that determines whether someone is in work or not. With
a little fine-tuning we'll have full employment.
And an added bonus.
What's that Deputy PM?
We'll divert loads of cars and lorries
from our main roads to country lanes in the greenbelts leading
to the giant new supermarkets. We'll make proper use of those
little roads that are hardly used. Why should tractors be the
only vehicles to use the Queens highways?
Amazing Deputy PM. You know all the
answers. I only wish everyone were here to listen to these little
gems of yours.