First among equals

‘Right chaps. This business of government is turning out to be quite hard, we need to look like we are good for business…at a business, in a business, own some businesses?  I forget… Anyway, last night’s lasagne party threw up some corking ideas. This is what we need to do. Take a pair of scissors and find tape, and cut it and then tell the papers. Preferably red, colour it in if you have to.’

‘Where is all this tape?

‘Everywhere, all over the place, people at my lasagne parties see it, so it can’t be that hard to find. Ask the public to email us about it. Ask one of those dull looking chaps that came with the offices and the house, the mandarin bloke…he’ll know. .’

‘He says there is no tape sir, and these are complex laws and we should tread carefully because financial crisis..…

‘Has he ever run a FTSE 100 company?’


‘Then what would he know? Now get cutting, I’ve worked in PR and know all about what people with money like to hear, we need to be seen to be cutting so cut…burdens…red tape….public sector….education…. privatise it, marketise it or increase the deficit it lives with. The banks will like that and it will probably get them to create some wealth. That’s what banks do you know.’

‘Prime Minister, there is a telephone call for you. Its Business, they want to know where the growth is.’

‘Growth? Weren’t they supposed to do that? I have it here. See? ‘’DC; Cut, shrink, privatise and marketise all the things.’’ Done… ‘private sector ‘creates growth…abracadabra.

‘They say ‘the government should remember they are major customer, maker of markets, and guardian of Britain’s infastructure and skills policies’. They seem quite concerned Sir.’

What the buggering hell do they think the red tape cutting is about, and what are the housing and credit markets if not governments created markets? Wealth creation! Ask the Buy to Let buggers and Hester about growth, and what about Serco and Virgin, what do they call that? Scotch mist? I just agreed to give the European Central bank 1.6billion Euros, what more do they want? Where’s George, what’s he got to say about all this?’

‘He is still hiding under his desk Sir. He’s rocking back and forth. He started muttering ‘Murdoch is a really sneaky horrible bastard’ repeatedly, about two days ago. Eyes are really glazed over, nose like a polo crust, best not send him out in this state Sir……’

‘He’s right you know, that Murdoch turned out to be a right git…What about Vince?’

(Muffled from under desk) ‘I’m a bit tied up Dave…’

‘Don’t call me Dave, why what are you doing?’

‘I took a machete to this tape, but it’s quite sticky, it’s more difficult than you’d think with such a big instrument. So, am a bit tangled up right now, you could maybe pass me the phone and hold it next to my ear like you used to, pre-hackgate?’

‘Have you done anything to create growth?’

(muffled)‘Er…Yes, I’ve rechristened free, cheap, and unskilled labour, as apprenticeships. Made thousands of them, and I cut seventeen rolls of tape yesterday, different colours. Snipped each one into tiny weeny pieces, I had to buy them from Staples because I couldn’t find any round here, but it was on offer and am sure it doesn’t matter where you get it. My cutting was really good till I got tangled up, I was going to write a press release about it, but no one would stop to listen to me…’

‘You’ll be useless on the phone if you can’t hold it and you are all muffled. Apprenticeships, good, good, will they bring growth?’

‘Don’t be silly. But they mean we can call the unemployed something else, and they’ll work full time for next to nowt. We don’t even have to change labour laws, can just make it a benefit condition, no one will mind….customer services, washing dishes… ‘Apprenticeship’s,(Vince stares dreamily into space)  it evokes proud industrial Keynesian feelings… industry and business and oily growth and stuff. ..We weren’t allowed to call them Swarfega, but when they don’t make growth, we can probably blame them for the resulting economic decline.’

‘Scum not working in focus groups?’

‘Did you even read the coalition agreement? We don’t call them ‘scum’ or ‘chavs’, we call them ‘the poor’. You Tories are just unpleasant to be around.’’

‘Did Steve Hilton leave any growth ideas in his blue sky box?’


‘Have we got any industry anywhere?’

‘Yeah, but its miles away from Canary Wharf. Some of it is ‘in the north’, they just make really dull stuff and drink rubbish strong tea and those votes are useless to anyone. I think you’re right about the call though and I am waiting to hear from Lord Owen, do you mind?’

‘Where’s that rodent looking colleague of yours lately?’

‘Danny? Still barricaded under his desk at the Treasury I think, third day in…no signs of coming out…’ (Vince returns to trying to bite through tape and starts scratching head on corner of desk).

Dave looks around.

‘Any of the young Royals not married off yet? One of the good looking ones…not a gomper, we could bring one in from outside if we have to. We could get Harry on it? Fergie 2, the sequel? Boost to the bunting and cake industry, save Aquascutum? (Dave looks hopeful as the underling Spad shakes his head). ‘The Olympics?’

Spad Mutters. ‘Don’t mention the Olympics Sir, do not mention the fucking Olympics.’ Barks. ’They are still on the phone Sir, you’ve kept them waiting now, and they are getting quite cross’

(David. Irritated.)‘Have they booked and paid for my time? No. What’s William doing? Can’t he talk to them?’

‘He’s foreign secretary sir, it’s probably not wise.’

‘Tell him to talk to them, reassure them about the growth thing, tell him I said so, and I’m the boss so he needs to tell them I nipped out for ten minutes.’

A long pause.

‘What did he say?’

‘He told them they needed to work hard’.


‘The business community.’

‘Sound advice, plenty of growth if they do that, how did that go down?’

‘The thing with Rupert and the pasty has already rendered expectations quite low Sir, so it’s not that bad really. Sounded slightly hysterical though, started ranting about construction, manufacturing, retail, SME and entrepreneurs, demand being deliberately sucked out of the economy… suffocating businesses…They were very rude about the banks. I don’t think they understood the reality of politics,  finance, media and ‘wealth creation’ at all sir.’’

‘Did William tell them  it’s deliberate? The finance sector, wealth creators, the lot of ‘em, went to school with quite a few, solid chaps, know lots about making money… always done very well for themselves.

William just needed to tell them to stop whinging and do their bit. A payday loans market has already opened up to supplement banks, bonuses and pay deals are doing fine, things can’t be that bad, no-one is starving. Wonga are stepping up to offer small businesses finance, and we’ve managed to inflate the property bubble a bit more, got people to take on a bit more debt….that went brilliantly every other time it was tried. New bubble will be along any day now …did he tell them?’

‘’He did Sir.’

‘How did that go down?’

‘Apparently, someone jumped out of a window.’

‘Are they ok?’

‘First floor window Sir, a bit bruised. Took the window and frame with him, clean out, landed in one without shattering. Onlookers are amazed, The Sun sent a photographer.’

‘Oh. ..Where’s Nick?’

‘Gone to buy seeds, Sir’


‘He was watching Cbeebies and they had a segment about sunflower seeds, he says they grow AND they are on offer at Sainsburys. Took £4 from petty cash and legged it about 2 hours ago, shouting about Cleggmania not being over just yet, says students will love him once again.’

‘Good man. Everyone said he would be dead weight. Daytime TV and sharpening pencils have been the making of him, we should offer Deputy PM as an apprenticeship. Have they stopped putting dog poo through his letterbox yet?’.

‘No, sir’

‘He should save it to fertilise those seeds, good for the environment and for growth. I’m very keen on the environment. I’ve got a bicycle you know, it’s got a bell. Sam says I can have a basket for it but the communications team say that doesn’t send the right message and I have to wait till Christmas….or the next election. Whichever is soonest, I’m quite excited really. No-one can get past the police, to my letterbox, can they?’

‘No, Sir, but don’t use voicemail, text, or email that isn’t secure.’

‘Is The Voice on Iplayer yet, the new one?’