George was very relieved to be back in the small drawing room (although it did not seem very small, and he had never found any crayons or drawing paper after many hours of searching and he distinctly remembered asking Kylie to get some for him from Ryman’s).
The last few weeks had been very tiring and, frankly, disorientating. Because of this election nonsense he had been required to leave the house and travel around the country meeting some frightful ordinary people. Some of them did jobs and he had had to dress like them and talk to them and listen to them. Then, to cap it all, he had had to go on the television and be asked some impertinent questions by that awful man Marr. How dare he ask where the money was coming from? Didn’t he understand that George had a staff of thousands to know the answers to difficult questions and do the hard sums? His friend David had made it quite clear to George that he was not to get involved in the details of the economy. (At the time George had asked David what his job was and why he was there. David had winked and said something along the lines of surrounding himself with a sturdy duffer-buffer. George had not understood, but did not want to appear silly or bother David because sometimes David had important things to do.)
Anyway, George was sitting quietly listening to his New Kids on the Block compilation CD and wondering whether dunking his custard creams would make them too soggy, when the telephone rang and it was David asking him to “pop round for a chat”. Within 10 minutes (and he had only had to ask directions 3 times, 4 if you include the time that a dreadful man in the kitchen told him to fuck off) he was in David’s office.
David didn’t ask him to sit. “As you know, George,” (George didn’t know, but wasn’t going to say anything) “it is standard practice after an election to reshuffle the cabinet. I want to thank you for all of your hard work in the Treasury” (David appeared to be sniggering) “and I have decided to reward you by making you Secretary of State for Scotland.”
George couldn’t remember ever feeling so shocked. “No, David, please, please you can’t do that. I don’t speak the language and they all frighten me. I have been working with Mr Alexander for five years and even now can only make out one word in ten. The only thing I understand is when he is cross because he turns very red. Whenever he leaves I have to lie on the ottoman for ten minutes while Kylie fans me. When we visited Lancaster a couple of weeks ago I picked up a virus and I think Scotland is even further away.”
“Just kidding, you wanker” said David. “You are staying exactly where you are. You know you make me look clever”. George felt very proud.
“I want you to get your people to work on some of our new policies. Find one of the less gormless plebs at the Treasury to work out how much it would save if we charged people the going rate for all ambulance journeys, and get some figures for a window tax on all terraced and semi-detached houses (apart from those with a postcode beginning SW1A).”
“I don’t think we can do that, David” said George politely. “Dr Cable won’t like it. He’ll be in my office every five minutes shouting in Polish. I have nightmares about his vast bald head cracking open and snakes coming out”.
“George, you hopeless sod, haven’t you heard? Dr Cable is not only working with you no longer, but he lost in the election. Come next September he will be working as junior technical drawing teacher in a comprehensive in Hounslow.”
George wanted to climb over the desk and kiss David but knew that David hadn’t liked that ever since they left Eton.
“What about Mr Alexander, though?” asked George, hopefully.
“We’ve rid ourselves of that porridge-sucking tosspot too” said David gleefully. “Didn’t you notice the portrait of the Duke of Cumberland on the wall as you came in?
“For fuck sake, George, go back to your office and have a snooze, but send someone out to buy some shares in GoveFrack plc while they are still cheap. I can’t afford to give you a pay rise of more than 75% before next April”.