At our latest meeting, the PM emphasised again how a great deal of money is needed to pay the bills due to Covid,
“I suppose you know, Bryggs, that our National Debt is now over £2 trillion,” he said as I sat down.
“Yes, Prime Minister. Not good. The media is saying that another trillion has been spent fighting Covid so far this year.”
“Yes, Yes. Quite. So we need some hefty sales figures from you.”
Perhaps I should remind the reader that I am the guy whose job it is to sell off as much of the UK as I can, to pay off the country’s debts. Some of which debts I’m sure are hidden from the public.
The PM is massaging his head and suddenly stops. Also he has developed the beginning of a parting. My guess is that his image consultant suggested he should look more sophisticated when he hosts the upcoming International Climate Control Congress. Hence the beginning of a move away from the floppy look. Anyway, I need to bring him up to date on the latest potential sale. A biggie.
“I had a call from Maxence Laurent-Bartelot this morning,” I say.
“He’s the Director of the Louvre. He wants to buy the National Gallery.”
“Great Scott! Why on earth would he want to do that?”
“Well, Prime Minister, they started an expansion programme a little while ago and now they have a Louvre in Abu Dhabi. My guess is they want to expand more internationally. But the big success in this expansion was the Louvre Lens. A huge new gallery in Lens, in northern France. 50 acre site, 300,000 square feet interior, and one million visitors in the first year.”
“H’m. Why did they choose Lens particularly? Where is it exactly”
“They chose Lens because they wanted to bring culture to the North and not have it centred on Paris. Lens was a huge coal-mining area back in the day. When I visited it last year, it was a depressing place, men standing around, no work, very sad. I guess the French government saw the Louvre expansion as a sort of levelling-up exercise.”
“What did you say? Levelling up? Culturally? What a brilliant idea!”
In his apparent excitement he messes up his new parting.
“What art galleries do we have up North? Any?”
“There are big galleries in Manchester and Liverpool. Not much north of those.”
“Ha! Excellent! Now. This is what I want you to do. Go back to your Maxence johnnie and tell him no thanks. But tell him we could sell him a big building for his Louvre. And then go and see whatsisname, the Minister for Buildings, and tell him to find something choice for the French.”
As I leave, I hear him talking on the phone to the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse. (Believe me, there is one...)