Implausible Story No25


Cabinet Meeting, April 2006

Come in everyone, you don't have to wait outside.

We didn't like to disturb you Deputy PM.. There were these strange noises coming from inside, something like a kind of grunting and snuffling. We didn't like to disturb you and the young lady so we've all been waiting outside the door for the last twenty minutes.

You daft pillocks. That wasn't grunting or snuffling, it's the new coffee maker. It's one of these new expresso machines and Trace here has been looking after it. I really can't imagine what you thought you heard.

Sorreee Deputy PM.. We didn't think anything did we lads.. Chorus of no's from most of the lads… and a few tuttings from the ladies…

Sit yourselves down anyway and Trace will sort out the coffee. I'm afraid the new machine was a trifle expensive so I've got a Quality Street tin in place of the tobacco tin for the contributions.

At his prices I'd have thought a wall safe would be better.

What was that you whispered to the Secretary of State for Education, Charles?

Nothing Deputy PM, I just said your coffee is always a safe bet.

Alright Charles, but just watch it, you know I'm a dab hand at the Royal Sport.

You're a dab hand at most indoor sports Deputy PM.

I mean boxing, Charles.

I remember Deputy PM. The time that peasant chucked an egg at you and you really laid into him…

Quite Charles… so tread very carefully…

Now the PM has asked me to call you all together to discuss the NHS.

Surely not again Deputy PM, you know none of us would dream of using the NHS. By the time our turn came up in the queue, we'd be either expired from old age or emigrated to somewhere like France where they don't seem have so many sick people.

Nothing to do with using the NHS you wally; trying to improve it's efficiency.

It's something the PM heard on Radio 4 yesterday. Apparently the manager of one very large hospital happened to say he was improving their efficiency by getting rid of beds and closing wards and the PM, bless his heart, thought that if this idea was carried through to its logical conclusion, why not get rid of beds and wards completely. No beds and no wards equals 100% efficiency.

That really is a fantastic idea Deputy PM. The PM really is a super chap. He can see things ever so clearly.

The principal is that all the inefficiencies in hospitals are connected with operations and making people well. The only efficient staff in the NHS are the managers and accountants… the latter are really creative people and one of them wrote a note to the PM explaining that if all the wards are cleared of beds and fitted out with accountants' desks and filing cabinets, together with terminals to a new computer system, specially designed for accounting, then all would be well with the NHS.

The PM thought this was a cracking good idea, especially if a few dozen barristers could also be fitted in somehow. He said he wasn't exactly sure how they could best be employed but a good friend had asked him to see if some work for HM could be sorted out. Possibly something about losing an IOU he'd got from the PM the other year, but I didn't quite catch that bit.

What about all the people on waiting lists Deputy PM?

No problem Charles. The PM noticed that you can fly almost anywhere these days for 99p. He suggested 99p vouchers could be issued at hospital gates so anyone turning up there could be redirected to their local airport.


So they can go to France for their ops and stuff Charles. You remember I said that France hardly had any sick people. Fairs fair we'll send them a few. Really good idea, help French doctors keep their hand in… in fact why don't we ask the French Government for a contribution… put it down to training… after all we shouldn't be expected to help them out for nothing..

Next, without more ado, can I move on to the next topic the PM asked me to put to you lot.

The golden rule is that any employee must be promoted to the point where anything he does wrong has the minimum bad effect on day to day running of your ministries.

Charles, I understand you've already taken care of that over the road?

Yes Deputy PM. All sorted out. My chap's had his promotion and shouldn't be a bother again.

The rest of you can follow Charles' example…

What happens if the actual boss of the ministry does something really inept Deputy PM, or doesn't do something he should have done?

What always happens Percy… once three bosses find themselves caught out, we have a cabinet shuffle. Everyone sees the PM and he'll tell them what a wonderful person they are, and how he supports them 100%, and they're going to be promoted.
Everyone's name gets typed into a cabinet office computer and a random program picks out names for the bosses jobs, taking care, of course, that the same person doesn't get their old job back.

That way none of us gets to lose our big salary and our big limousine and stuff.

Jolly good Deputy PM.. By the way does your name get shuffled in the computer too?
My lips are sealed Percy.. But I can tell you this… It's my computer.

Any more business before I discuss the new coffee machine with Trace?

Is it true that the new Conservative chappie that comes to work on his bike every morning gets followed by a big black limousine carrying his briefcase and shoes Deputy PM?

Almost right Percy, it's actually a Lexus and it's not black, but I heard that one of his friends sons is a painter and decorator and has offered to re-paint it so that he can tell everyone it's a green car.

Spiffing idea Deputy PM. We all ought to drive green cars. Why don't we get the new DVLC computer to charge less road tax for green cars?

I'm not sure you've got the right end of the stick Percy old boy… when those tree hugger bods talk about green they don't necessarily mean the colour…

Just clear off you lot and let me discuss the new coffee machine with Trace…


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