Morning Perkins – I’ve got some news for you …
Oh Dear … that sounds ominous: you hardly ever have news for me …
Well, it’s good news, Perkins! What do you think of that? Makes a change, what?
Can I defer an answer till I’ve heard more, Sir!
Perkins, not to beat about the bush, I’ve recommended you for a think-tank.
A think-tank!! You know what that is, surely?
I think so, Sir. But who do we bung the dosh to?
Really Perkins! I’m ashamed of you! You surely mean: “To whom do we bung the dosh?”
But in any case, it’s not a political think-tank, but a civil-service one.
I didn’t know we did any thinking Sir. It’s not in my contract.
Aha, Perkins – we’re moving with the times.
I thought we were against change, Sir?
We used to be, Perkins, but the times they are a-changing.
I see, Sir. But what are we supposed to think about?
It’s very revolutionary, Perkins. You’ll have carte blanche.
I don’t think I’ve ever had that before, Sir. Why now?
Well, it’s been decided we need to look at ourselves; shake up our thinking; I believe they call it “thinking out of the box”.
“The box”, Sir?
Yes, Perkins. In one way or another we’re all trapped inside our little boxes, aren’t we? We need some lateral thinking.
I thought we’d have to move up rather than sideways to get out of the box, Sir. But why me?
Well, Perkins – and please don’t take this amiss – you’ve acquired a reputation for being somewhat, how shall I say, unconventional in your thinking.
You mean refreshingly honest and logical and unhindered by shibboleths and PC thinking, Sir.
No, Perkins. If I meant that I’d say it, wouldn’t I? No, you have somewhat contrary opinions. Come to that, ALL your opinions are contrary. And so naturally it was felt you might act as a sort of catalyst to bounce ideas off; run things past, that sort of thing ….
I see, Sir. And what are the chances of any of the conclusions of this think-tank actually being implemented, Sir?
Implemented? Oh no, Perkins. I think you’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Think-tanks don’t actually lead to anything concrete except perhaps a press release stating the bleedin’ obvious.
So what is the point, Sir?
Point? Point? Since when has everything to have a point, Perkins? No, think-tanks are fashionable and so we must have one.
Well, I’ll do my best, Sir. And what – if I may be so bold – is in it for me exactly?
Well, it’ll look very good on your CV, Perkins. And there’s the bonus.
Certainly! You don’t expect us to think without getting a bonus, surely?
I suppose so, Sir.
And where will all this thinking take place, Sir?
That hasn’t yet been decided. It’ll either be the Bahamas or Dubai ….