To my many faithful readers who live in all parts of this wonderful planet and who occasionally lie awake thinking:
“I’ve had such a great day…but I simply cannot get to sleep because I am not sure how the British economy actually manages to operate in the 21st century”.
Here is a picture of a British pub. it acts as the perfect metaphor to explain:
Key to picture:
Let us imagine that this pub is the ‘British Economy’
The chimney at the top centre and the building below and to the left of it is the basic British Economy.
It was designed and built by many clever people. One day, while on his way in to work, one of the builders found an old wooden ship and thought some of the wood might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants gave the builder his job back and promoted him to Chief Builder In Residence.
It was decided that the economy must expand because the population had increased. The architect designed a large extension with six floors and a spire on top to fit on to the right hand end of the existing pub/British Economy. Work started immediately.One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old fireplace complete with chimney stack and thought it might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants fired the architect instead and got a new one. They kept hold of the Chief Builder In Residence.
The new architect cancelled the idea of the seven floors and went for just two, with a nice sloping roof made of the finest slate. The accountants were delighted with him but said they had heard rumours that the second floor was a bit dark inside and could a window be put into the nice sloping roof?
The new architect had a word with the Chief Builder In Residence. They both got on very well. They both shared the suspicion that you only survived if you kept the accountants happy and read the contract closely. One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old window and thought it might come in useful.
The accountants were delighted. However, they asked the architect if perhaps a second window could be put in as well because the first one, though excellent in many respects, was attracting ridicule?
The architect asked the builder and the builder refused. He pointed out that he had met his contractual obligation since there had never been any mention of multiple windows to him before. The architect explained this to the accountants.
The accountants fired the new architect for negligence and had a meeting with the Chief Builder In Residence. They explained that many more windows and a bigger building were needed because the economy was still expanding. They reminded him that he had been doing very nicely out of this project and they expected him to come up with a solution, especially since all the architects seemed so useless.
The Chief Builder In Residence suggested building a second wing, coming out from the new extension at a right-angle, on two floors.
The accountants laughed and explained that this would be far too expensive. How about just one floor? The Chief Builder In Residence explained that if they only built a single story extension, then the first floor window on the existing building would have its view blocked by the pitched roof of the new extension and also the guttering would be a nightmare to maintain after the first year.
The accountants smiled and reminded him that, as a builder, it was none of his business how the maintenance costs worked out after the building was completed. The Chief Builder In Residence told them he had just about had enough of their smug attitude and they could stick their extension up their inkwells. He had decided to become an electrician, instead. There was more money in being an electrician.
The accountants made a quick drawing of what they wanted and then found a new builder. The new builder built the new single story extension exactly as they wished. The accountants were very pleased. They promoted him to Associate Builder Designate.
As a token of thanks, the new builder told them he’d include a pretty little security camera disguised as a lamp and install it for free on the side of the old, original building. He’d also create a landscaped garden at the front and build a monument in honour of the accountants.
The accountants were delighted.
The Associate Builder Designate installed the cute little security camera disguised as a lamp and went home to bed. When he came back in the morning, somebody had stolen the security camera. He bought another and put it up so that the accountants would not be disappointed. That also disappeared the following night. In desperation he contacted a local electrician to help him sort out the problem.
The electrician visited and suggested mounting a second security lamp just above the little cutesy security camera and said he happened to have one in the back of the van that he had found on his way to work and thought it might come in useful. The Associate Builder Designate was delighted and begged the electrician to start immediately and then send him the bill when he was finished.
The electrician smiled and began to work. Within four minutes he had finished and presented his bill to the Associate Builder Designate.
The Associate Builder Designate was horrified. He explained that the electrician had charged him almost as much for four minutes work as he – the Associate Builder Designate - earned in a month. The electrician smiled. He asked the Associate Builder Designate what other work he had to do to fulfill his contract to the accountants. The Associate Builder Designate wiped his eyes and explained that he had promised to create a landscaped garden.
All of which brings us to that hanging basket of flowers…