Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Tears of the Pension Fund Manager

Mma Cameron's bicycle wobbled along the dusty lane, passing tsamma melons and wild cucumbers growing on either side in the sun-drenched landscape, which could have been Botswana, but was in fact Victoria Street, London.

"It is important in these days of climate change to be seen to do one's bit for green issues," reflected Mma Cameron, "such as cycling instead of driving."

After taking off the various cycling accoutrements, such as helmet and bicycle clips, Mma Cameron locked the bicycle up in the shade of the acacia tree outside the offices of the No. 1 Conservative Ladies’ Election Agency, and then waved in Mma Osborne who had been following closely behind in the little white van.

Mma Cameron opened the door carefully, making sure that no snakes had slithered into the relative cool of the office. As they sat down at their respective desks, Mma Cameron glanced over to Mma Osborne, “I think it is time we had a cup of Bush tea.”

Mma Osborne was about to reply when they heard a car pull up outside, looking out of the window they could see a smartly dressed businessman emerging from a Mercedes Benz. Mma Osborne opened the office door and the businessman came in. He introduced himself as a very important and successful Pension Fund Manager with many years experience.

"Mma Cameron, I've come to seek your advice on a complicated issue," he said, "I've just found out that 10 years ago Mr J. G. Brown of Downing Street Speedy Motors abolished dividend tax credits for pension funds."

Mma Cameron looked kindly at the man who was obviously quite distressed and emotional.

"I have a big shortfall in the pension funds I manage and I'm rooting around for someone to blame," continued the man.

Mma Cameron nodded, "Yes, it is important to be able to find someone to blame."

"I went to public school so, of course, I'm not very good at sums," stated the businessman, "and my staff all used to run barrows in the East End, so they're not very good at maths either."

"Indeed," interjected Mma Osborne, "this is a complicated business, how can the manager of a large pension fund be expected to understand the implications of a tax change?"

Mma Cameron nodded: Mma Osborne had a certificate from the Magdalen Secretarial College, Oxford, and so clearly knew about these things. The businessman readily accepted the handkerchief that Mma Cameron passed over to him and wiped the tears from his eyes.

"You can be sure that I will have a word with Mr J. G. Brown about this," declared Mma Cameron, leading the distraught man back to his car.

"Mr J. G. Brown is always tinkering away at things," stated Mma Osborne as Mma Cameron came back into the office, "it does not pay to always be busying oneself."

They both laughed out loud. Mma Cameron glanced over to Mma Osborne, “Should we have another cup of Bush tea?”

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