Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Cameron backs IEP as part of trade deal?

This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

During my regular lunch at Rules with a former departmental colleague I was told, between mouthfuls of steak and oyster pie, that our very own Prime Minister has 'done an amazing trade deal with the Japanese PM which sees IEP going ahead in return for a fantastic quid pro quo which, sadly, I am unable to divulge even to you old boy.'

'But aren't you supposed to be evaluating that banker fella's so called credible alternatives to IEP?' I asked him.

'Oh that', he replied after a thoughtful sip of St Emillion, 'that's just to keep Sir Andrew sweet in case we need his services again. And anyway we all enjoy seeing our very own train-spotter-in-chief getting het-up over perceived threats to his pet project!'.

'Appropos of which', he added, 'did you enjoy Hammond's little tease when he said that civil servants shouldn't buy trains the other day?'.

We both agreed that young Hammond is quite the wag and will do well when he moves to the Treasury, before we were distracted by the arrival of the port and cheese.

UPDATE: This from Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road...

As one of the Railway Eye pioneer posters, I have always assumed that Sir Humphrey Beeching was not the pseudonym of a former DfT senior mandarin, but a figment of the Fact Compilers imagination.

It seems I was wrong.

I had booked a table for a late lunch at Rules yesterday and they sat me down next to two distinguished looking gentlemen who had obviously enjoyed an extremely good lunch and were now on the Port.

Keeping an ear open on their conversation, as one does, I picked up the elder one asking about 'McNulty'.

The younger of the two grimaced and said 'The man's running amok and wants to close all the rural lines as uneconomic. If our LibDem minister manages to get as far as page 26 of McNulty's interim submission the coalition is doomed'.

But he didn't seem overly concerned when he said it...