My genius plan for the economy
The British economy is a complex thing!
At the end of April I blogged about my new project – refurbishing our apartment in Apperley Bridge ready for us to move in. Being project manager and customer has taught me many things about running projects (largely – don’t try being PM and customer at the same time). With this insight, I feel uniquely positioned to comment on a couple of recent news stories.
If news reports are to be believed, both the Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace are in desperate need of repairs. I say believed because my in depth research (a quick trawl of Google) reveals that the cost for the former could be £3bn (BBC and Telegraph), £6bn (Mirror), £7bn (ITV) or £7.1 bn (Telegraph again!). The Daily Mail quoted £3bn – they may have off-shored the work.
With the contacts made on this project (carpets supplied and fitted by Connaught Carpets), I reckon we could land the Westminster job for a lot less than £7bn but it could take a while as the painter has got several jobs booked already. Buckingham Palace is difficult to quote for as I am not sure what damage the dogs will have done.
In the build up to today’s budget there was a lot of talk about spreading any economic growth so that the north will benefit. Obviously, when government ministers talk about the north they mean the band between Islington and Watford. Being a Yorkshireman, I can see further than that. So, how about this for an alternative. Let’s move the whole lot – government and monarchy, to Yorkshire.
The economic benefits alone should clinch the deal. Instead of spending £7bn repairing the Palace of Westminster, we could sell the whole lot to Disney. Given the cost of property round there, river views, access to trains etc.the site must be worth a bob or two. I would guess at £10bn flooding into the nation’s coffers. They could then pick up the tab for any repairs and we could insist on using local firms for the job. At that point we are at least £17bn in profit with all that income for the builders waiting to be taxed. But it doesn’t end there because, by moving all of the MPs to Yorkshire, the country would only be paying a fraction of the current levels of expenses to allow the rental of second homes. In fact, they could be integrated into large council estates. I dare say living in Gipton or Harehills would keep the Tories on their toes. The Lib Dems could rent a couple of terrace houses and all live together like The Beatles in Help!
Now, here’s the best bit. Where would the Houses of Parliament be? Obvious – The City Varieties in Leeds. It has a history of stand up comedy and dressing up in costumes.
The speaker could work in the style of the late Leonard Sachs, in fact, he already does. (Kids – ask your mum.) Now, the capacity is a bit low – less than 500 seats. However, the only time when they all turn up is the first day of term and the new boys can always stand on the stage. We could then tell them that it is tradition for the newcomers to sing a song and get the first round in at Whitelocks – genius. Within a couple of days we would be down to a dozen or so turning up for debates and these could be adjourned to the White Swan next door.
The PM’s audience with the Queen would be easy enough as we have a nice apartment for rent which would suit a semi retired couple nicely. It is all on one level so no need for a stair lift and, from the 18th floor you can look down on your kingdom easily enough (handy for the train and Harvey Nichs
too). The dogs could be a problem but I’m sure we could increase the bond and work something out.
The only down side to the plan would be 650 MPs cluttering up the bars and restaurants of Leeds. Come to think of it – probably best to forget it and me and the boys will start the refurbishment a week on Monday (with a delay before we can start the painting of course).