Sunday, 21 October 2012
Jason Bryggs' Potentially Biggest Sale.
It's Saturday morning and I'm in the office thinking. I want to do something big that will up the bonus substantially just in case they're thinking of 'letting me go.' Nick's OK but I don't like the look in the PM's eye when we meet.
How do I do that? That is the question. I give it a lot of thought and make a few calls. Then I e-mail Nick and tell him I'm ready to make a power-point to him and the P.M. with an immediate sale idea that will make a ton of money for the government, right now.
It's ten o'clock in the morning and coffee time in the P.M.'s office. He's wearing his usual shiny face although he's not looking very happy. His pal, the Chancellor, is in attendance, also grave. I'll swear he puts it on. Nick is also there. I set up the screen, take a sip of revolting coffee, and say I can make £22.53 billion in two months for them. Unfortunately the P.M. is looking out of the window as I say the number.
"Can't we get rid of those damned students?" he complains. "What the hell is the Home Minister doing about it?" Nick is tapping at his mobile and says,
"I'll have them moved on."
"Good. Pity we can't send them to Kabul. Right, Bryggs. What have you got for us?"
So I start again to power-point my idea to the P.M. This time I race through it to avoid his being diverted again, knowing that his attention span has been measured at eleven seconds. I have his attention for longer than that, though, because I repeat I can make £22.53 billion for the government in two months.
Of course, such dosh doesn't come from selling any old asset. Oh no. So I tell them what the asset is. Well, the P.M. doesn't seem to like it. He freezes. I give a quick glance at the rinky-dink chancellor - he's gone white. Nick is impassive. Then the P.M. says quietly,
'Are you out of your mind, Bryggs? Have you gone mad? Sell the House of Commons! If that's the best you can do, you can get out now.' But Nick intervenes.
'Prime Minister. Perhaps we should ask Bryggs to expand on this proposal.'
'What for? I've never heard of such a lunatic idea!'
'It's a lot of money.'
'Good God! Have you taken leave of your senses as well?'
'There would be no need to let it become public news. And there is that unavoidable payment coming up next week. Jason, would you tell us your proposal again, in the simplest of terms?'
'With pleasure,' I say. 'You sell the House of Commons to a buyer I have identified and then lease it back. The buyer would pay £22.2 billion. Immediately. He would lease it back to you for a peppercorn rent.'