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Yes Minister

'What do you mean, we can't have the roof?'

'Just that, minister.'

'You mean, we have to find a cheaper option?'

'Not exactly, minister. We can't have one.'

'At all?'

'No minister.'

'Good gods, man! It's unthinkable!'

'I do understand, minister. But there is no money left.'

'Well, take some from one of the other projects. The Birmingham job, that had a huge budget.'

'All spent, minister. All our projects are, I'm afraid, overspent.'

'Good gods, who on earth permitted such woolly budgeting?'


'Who was in charge of the budget on these projects?'

'Er, ultimately, minster?'

'Oh. I see, well, the Birmingham job will, of course, be a great legacy for the country.'

'Indeed, minister.'

'Well … one of the other departments then. The DWP, they've been making substantial savings!'

'Not really, minister.'

'Oh come now! I read Clement's report. A 25% saving! They've clawed in a huge increase in contributions, raised retirement age. They must have quite a fund now.'

'They have made savings in pension payments, minister. Unfortunately administering the new deal has cost 111% more. They did actually approach us hoping we might have a little spare.'

'You're joking, surely?'

'I'm afraid not, minister.'

'Well, what are we to do? We can't have no roof!'

'Well, it does have a sort of roof.'

'A tarpaulin!'

'Apparently it's very popular with the children's ward, minister. They pretend they're camping.'

'No, it won't do! There must be a way of raising the funds somewhere!'

'Well …'


'Corporate Hospitality, minster. Awful lot of money in that. And novel hotel experiences. Very popular with the more adventurous tourist.'

'What do you mean?'

'We could turn the house into a sort of … hotel, minister.'

'I don't follow.'

'The House, minister.'

'Now I know you're joking! You can't turn the Houses of Parliament into a hotel!'

'There are certain precedents, minister. It would be hugely popular and, I believe, would mean the house actually paid for itself.'

'But … where would all the MPs go?'

'There are very cheap alternative accommodations further north, minister. The savings could be enormous, and the revenue raised …'

'The speaker wouldn't like it.'

'Indeed, minister.'

'What a marvellous idea!'

'I'll draw up a proposal, minister.'

'Excellent. And perhaps in the new place we can get some better caterers. This lot are dreadful. Do you know, that beastly woman wouldn't let me have an extra spoonful of custard today?'

'Shocking, minister. Some people are just power mad.'


© 2012 Kay Lawrence.


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