George was very pleased when the telephone rang, and it was his friend Dave who asked if George could call round in ten minutes. It actually took 15 minutes to get there, because George could never remember which door led from his house to Dave’s and when he went out of the front door could never remember whether to turn left or right. When PC Collins, who followed George everywhere, caught up with him on the Victoria Embankment, they had had to jog back.
George was pleased that Dave wanted to see him, and hoped that Dave had arranged a trip for him. He knew that Dave had already been to Scotland BY PLANE and was going to Wales, and that William had already been to Washington. George was very jealous of William. George couldn’t see the point of sending William. George couldn’t understand why William got to go to Disneyworld – he was too short for all of the rides.
“George, you silly ass,” said Dave, jovially, “Settling in all right?”
“Oh yes”, said George, “although Frances hasn’t unpacked my gameboy yet”.
“George, do you remember that meeting we had a few months ago, about the OBR?”
“Yes, Dave, of course! The Oxford Bullingdon Reunion. Absolutely fantastic! I had two helpings of jam roly-poly!”
“No, no, you twerp, the ‘Office for Budget Responsibility’. You remember. We explained to you that when we won the election you would be very busy, so we would privatise part of your job, and leave you more time to do a bit of chancelloring?”
“Yes, I remember now, of course. We had muffins and blackberry jam.”
Dave introduced George to Sir Alan Budd who he seemed to have met before somewhere, but George wasn’t really concentrating. He kept trying to see Sir Alan’s shoes. He remembered that there had been an athlete called Budd who ran in bare feet, and wondered whether it was a family trait.
“So, George, we already have Dr Cable and Mr Laws to blame if you get your sums wrong, and Sir Alan here will carry the can if the forecasts are wrong. He has already issued a disclaimer – go on, Al, tell him”.
Sir Alan cleared his throat and said, very importantly, “We are not claiming that we shall get the fiscal forecasts right; it is easy to demonstrate that that is impossible.”
Dave obviously thought that this was very amusing, so George laughed too. “At this rate” said Dave, still chuckling, “we’ll be able to abolish the Treasury by the end of summer, convert the building to flats, and the rent on those and the savings on salaries and pensions should pay off the national debt in about six weeks. Don’t tell Sir Nicholas about this, will you George?”
But George hadn’t been paying attention. He had noticed that Sir Alan was wearing some very cheap looking brothel creepers, and was very disappointed.
George wasn't sure whether his new friend Dave was copying him out of admiration, or trying to make George look silly.