Implausible Story No19

 

Totally imaginary meeting at Number 10, Second week in February 2004

Good morning everyone, sit down and help yourselves to coffee from the flask on the table. I got here early and made it myself.

Sound of cups clinking and the odd slurping....

Good heavens Deputy PM this coffee is terrible.

I'm sorry Eustace. It's the best I could do on short notice. I borrowed a jar of instant from Cherie.

What happened to your new Department Deputy PM. You know, the one you created to supply proper coffee?

They've all been seconded to this Committee of Enquiry the PM has set up to review the intelligence information leading to the Iraq war.

Are they experts in that sort of thing Deputy PM?

Of course not you buffoon. Why should they be? After all, the committee is meeting in secret on the advice of the PM.

How are they going to write a report on something about which they don't know anything Deputy PM?

How long have you had your job Eustace? You should know very well that we politicians don't actually have to know anything about the stuff we deal with. Either we get someone to advise us or we just waffle about stuff using special words that don't actually mean anything in particular… just sound good.

Anyway, just between you and I Eustace, the PM's already drafted the summary of their findings. All the committee has to do is to bulk it out a bit and produce a nice fat report full of pages with "Secret-Cabinet Office Eyes Only" on them that we won't let anyone read, confirming what our leader has decided. He's not just a pretty face you know.

Right you lot, shut up and try and look intelligent. I know that's virtually impossible for some of you but do your best, I can hear the PM coming….

PM enters looking annoyed…

I don't understand Deputy PM…

What don't you understand PM?

Well do you remember when I agreed to send my brave lads into Iraq to help Dubyah?

Yes PM. We stayed up all night every day that week talking to those chaps from the RAF about what sort of things they had to drop bombs on.

Yes Deputy PM. We had that A-Z of Baghdad from Dubyah.. The copy marked with pink and blue circles round various areas. Blue for the US and pink for the UK. I remember the previous week I had the dickens of a time with those American Generals agreeing our colour should be pink. In the end that chap at the end of the table said it was probably appropriate as we were all pinkoes anyway. I didn't really understand but that was what was agreed. Our circles are pink.

I don't understand what you're getting at PM. Our brave lads dropped bombs and shot their missiles at the pink circles didn't they?

Of course they did Deputy PM. That's not the issue but when we agreed on what colour circles to use we also agreed that whatever we knocked down our civil engineering people could put back up again later. You remember those talks we had about a year before we eventually went to war about reconstruction contracts? The deal was that we could put back whatever we knocked down.

Quite right PM. What's the problem?

Well it seems some other irks are rebuilding some of our pink circles Deputy PM. It seems that a large US company offered to do a deal and quoted a knockdown price, 'scuse the pun Deputy PM, and are doing virtually everything.

I see PM. Well I'm afraid I can't help; you handled all the fine-tuning yourself. Does it really matter anyway PM? I understand the way the deals were struck we would have been paid in oil anyway. What use are a few barrels of oil to our construction companies?

I suppose you're right as usual Deputy PM, messy stuff and it's bad for the environment as well.. You really are good at seeing through my difficulties.

Anything of interest to talk about today Deputy PM?

Only the issue of housing, especially in London, PM.

Remind me Deputy PM.

We've had a request from some friends of yours, big landowners in London.

What.. They want planning permission to build lots of houses for all these immigrants flooding into the City?

No PM. Don't you recall how the argument was put to you?

Remind me Deputy PM. I think I've forgotten.

They say that if no one is allowed to build new houses the ones they have will be worth a lot more money. Prices will go through the roof, another pun if you hadn't noticed PM. The more the prices rise the more they can ask for their leases and of course the main thing is they don't have to get all messy mixing mortar and stuff, not that these people ever have to mix mortar.. It's just a way of explaining things PM.

Say no more I remember now. It was that chap in the Rolls Royce that parked outside Number 10 that time. The policeman said he couldn't park there but the chauffeur said his boss owned Downing Street and he could park where he liked.

He went on about not restricting immigrants too didn't he? The more the merrier he said. They have to live somewhere.

Anything else before I have my morning siesta Deputy PM?

Pensions PM… the problem with Pension Companies going bust.

How can our Pension Company go bust Deputy PM. As long as there's Income Tax our pensions are as safe as houses, oops another pun Deputy PM…

Not our Pensions PM, the plebs' pensions… you know the workers that have been paying contributions from their hard earned wages over the last 50 years suddenly finding that their boss has pinched the money or someone invested it all in the Stock Exchange and it just disappeared…

Say no more Deputy PM. I had one of my team of advisors look into it. Actually I have so many now I inadvertently asked the wrong one. It turned out I asked the chappie looking into new stealth taxes by mistake. He said we could have a special fund for bailing out pension funds that had gone bust. We siphon off 50% of the pension fund contributions from the workers and place it into a special fund that we can look after ourselves.

What do you mean, "look after" PM?

Well actually he said we could use the money for absolutely anything. If some workers had to wait 30 years to draw their pensions we could look after the money for absolutely ages and by the time they asked for it back we could pretend we had already paid it out and there was none left.

What a spiffing idea PM. In fact with all that money swilling around we could give ourselves a decent rise. I'll put it to Eustace later that he should ask a question in the house next week. You can say we haven't had a rise for years and years and it'll go down well, no one will refuse a pay rise. Everyone will be really pleased with you PM.

Thank you Deputy PM. You always know exactly how to cheer me up.

That reminds me PM. That little matter about the whitewashing of the big gates at the end of the road last week.

Yes Deputy PM. I'm trying to put that to the back of my mind what is it?

I think we ought to consider having the front door painted in a nice gloss white PM, just in case one of those irks gets in and tries to chuck whitewash over the door of Number 10. It wouldn't show up on the TV like it did on the gates.

Good idea Deputy PM.

Shall I ask that chap in the Rolls Royce to do it PM. After all it's his door and it's not been painted for ages.

No Deputy PM, don't upset him just do it yourself next weekend.

Your wish is my command, PM…

 

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