Ed Lunches With A Government Minister
‘Today, thanks to Bob’s machinations, I am to have lunch with a government minister,’ Ed confides to his diary. Bob is the COO of the company, his best friend and Ed’s fixer when it comes to contacts.
‘Apparently, the £100,000 we paid to get favourable treatment on the smart meter
contract entitles me to be a member of the party’s ‘Industry Club’, writes Ed, ‘ which means I get the chance to meet ministers and influence policy – or that’s what it says on the tin. My first Industry Club function is this lunch.”
That night, Ed writes. ‘I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I was bowled over when I arrived at the Astor Suite in the House of Commons to get this terrific greeting from the Minister of State For Industry – big smile, greeted by my Christian name though I’d never met him before, hearty handshake etc like I was an old pal.’
‘The effect soon wore off when I saw the big smile, Christian name greeting, hearty handshake etc replicated with precisely the same enthusiasm for about 20 other guys who came to the lunch,’ adds Ed.
‘I went with a list of things to raise with the Minister,’ writes Ed, ‘better tax treatment on exercising stock options, matching grants from government for R&D projects, early knowledge of relevant government spending plans, access to government research results, favourable access to contracts, a hint of how to get on the Honours List – that sort of thing – but the guy never stopped talking.’
‘Eventually I nail the bugger in the bog,’ writes Ed, ‘I start on my list of concerns and he looks over as he zips up and says, “Put it all in writing to my PPS, there’s a good chap, my secretary will give you his email address”.’
On the way back I phone Bob and tell him I don’t see how this is going to help me grow the business.
‘”C’mon Ed, you’re in,” burbles Bob, “the Minister knows who you are now. You’re part of the club. You can ring him, or his office, with ideas for changes to pending legislation, help with contracts, introductions to useful contacts help in greasing the wheels – all that sort of stuff. You’re an insider now”.’
‘Sounds like bollox to me,’ Ed confides to his diary, ‘but, who knows, Bob may be right and, maybe, roll on my $25 mill.’