This holiday mess is hopefully going on for the rest of the year, Ed confides to his diary, the testing lark is one of the most profitable scams of the pandemic – people are forced to pay £60-100 for a test – often several tests – and the kits cost almost nothing to produce.
Greaser’s pharma subsidiary – General Biometrics – is sourcing these things in China for a buck a shot and the test providers are paying anything up to £20-30 for them. As the guy who tipped off Greaser to get into the racket early on I’m on a very agreeable percentage.
The name of the game is to keep the guys who jigger around with the restrictions more in favour of restrictions than in favour of lifting them. As Secretary for Commerce among my other job titles I can claim an interest – as well some special knowledge about foreign conditions.
I call up the Permanent Secretary. “It’s most important that we work closely with the travel ministries on keeping trade flowing despite these restrictions – traffic lights and tests and so forth,” I say airily.
“Assuredly, Secretary of State,” replies the PS, “we maintain close inter-Departmental working relations with them.”
“Then they should know that the French, particularly in the South, are displaying resistance to restrictions, and infection rates there are about to soar. Our restrictions people should know about that.”
“Might I ask where this information came from, Secretary of State?” asks the PS.
“Commercial sources, highly confidential,” I reply, “take it from me it’s kosher and I know the PM is all for keeping up, or even tightening, restrictions on France.”
As the second most visited foreign country by Brits, France is the key country to keep restrictions on if we’re to maintain, or hopefully increase, testing numbers.
The PM’s attitude comes purely from political motives but for me, it’s more important than that – Greaser’s wonga could have a substantial influence on the relative opulence of my post-Ministerial lifestyle.