Darling: (Rubbing his eyes) Alan, to what do I owe the pleasure?
Johnson: Something I just need to run by you, Alistair mate.
Darling: If it’s money for some new funding commitment, then I’m afraid…
Johnson: (Cuts in) Nah, not that, Al. Not exactly what I’d call a funding commitment as such.
Darling: (Looks perplexed) No?
Johnson: Nah. Bit of a tricky one this. It's more what you’d call a funding restriction if you like. It’s something our boys at the Home Office have dreamt up.
Darling: (Chuckles) Funding restriction? What exactly can your boys, as such, tell the Treasury about funding restrictions? If you don’t mind my asking.
Johnson: Well, it’s like this, Al: We reckon the Home Office should be responsible for control of the money supply. We think it should be us that’s regulating money and the money supply from now on.
Darling: (Rolling about) Excuse me while I laugh hysterically, Alan old chum. But what on earth are you talking about?
Johnson: (Irritated) No need to adopt that tone, Alistair. There’s a good reason behind this. It's er... Gordon.
Darling: Oh, I see. Gordon.
Johnson: Yes, mate. Gordon. You see, it’s like this: Gordon, as in your boss, as in my boss, is very, very pleased with the war I’ve been waging against these ‘legal’ designer drugs - you know, that mephedrone, and all those clever amphetamine like derivatives that people buy on the internet. You see, it’s making us look very good in the eyes of the Daily Mail readers, this war, this campaign against drugs. Could even help shore up the middle England vote, which can’t be bad. And, like, he and I were having a drink together last night. And we thought, how about if we looked at other legal entities, as it were, that aren’t called drugs but that behave a bit like drugs nevertheless? We were asking: Should we be controlling things that ordinary people don’t even realise are addictive, but that can ruin lives. And one of those things, we decided could be, er... money.
Darling: You what? Money?
Johnson: (Smiles) Yes, great, isn’t it? And we thought that money kind of makes sense because most people don’t even think how much control it has over their lives. Until of course they have to go cold turkey. (Smiles again). Catch my drift?
Darling: You’re totally barking, man.
Johnson: Barking? Maybe, Alistair mate, and maybe not. Remember, it’s a Home Office area of responsibility, mental health is.
Darling: Just as money supply is a Treasury one.
Johnson: Yeah, well that’s where we got a problem, haven’t we? Because, me and the boys at the Home Office, we reckon that you’re not controlling it, this money supply. Never have done. We reckon, in fact, it’s spiralled out of control. It’s becoming almost like an addictive substance, like a drug.
Darling: This is absurd, Alan. It’s not an addiction. It’s... it’s, what makes the world go round, if you’ll excuse the cliché.
Johnson: And that’s precisely why it should be properly controlled, Al. I’m not saying we ban it, nothing like that. I’m just saying we control it. But WE – as in, we at the Home Office – control it.
Darling: You don’t know the first thing about money, man. You’ve never even worked in a senior treasury post. The markets would laugh at you. They’d laugh at this government.
Johnson: The markets, d’you say? As in, the dealers, you mean?
Darling: Yes. If you like, the dealers.
Johnson: The drug dealers, you mean?
Darling: For God’s sake, man. Don’t be so idiotic.
Johnson: You can scoff. But we’ve actually thought this one through carefully, this whole money issue. And not just straight money, but also this funny money, these derivatives that the dealers have been designing. Designer derivatives? (Taps his nose). Know what I mean?
Darling: What on earth...?
Johnson: They’re lethal, these designer derivatives. You must realise that? Those credit derivatives almost did for our economy back in 2008. And all those cheap mortgages what came about as a result of them, all that easy money... everyone high on the smell of Wonga - dealers and punters alike. And unfortunately mate, it was something that the treasury failed time and time again to control. So now it’s cold turkey time as a result.
Johnson: Well, it’s easy to say “failed” now… with hindsight
Darling: Yeah, well there won’t be no hindsight necessary no more. From now on we are going to ban things before they spiral out of control.
Johnson: You totally off your rocker, man? You control them?
Johnson: And first of all, Alistair old chum, we’re going to have to control you, I'm sorry to say.
Darling: I beg your pardon?
Johnson: Yes mate. Sorry about this, but we're going to have to control you. We’re going to send you away somewhere where they don’t have any money, so it can’t intoxicate you no more… A kind of money rehab… What’s more, all your banking friends will go to this rehab too... you can all go there together… and, shall I tell you something else... we’re going to stop people carrying huge wads of cash and spending it all the time...
Darling: You’re crazy, man. Totally off your rocker.
Johnson: (Deranged) Yes, Alistair, old chum. An end, yes an end... to spend, spend, spend... spend, spend, spend.... An end... to spend...
Darling: Please stop repeating yourself, Alan. You’re driving me crazy now.
Johnson: Spend, spend, spend... an end to spend... end end...
(Darling becomes delirious. Johnson’s voice is increasingly ethereal and his face begins to blur. Everything becomes misty and gradually Darling realises that he’s been having a terrible nightmare.)
Darling: How utterly ghastly! Home Office in charge of money supply? It'd be bye-bye to all those lucrative non-exec. roles after I leave office...