Car 7

Ms Elspeth Worlidge

Outward appearance

Very suitable girl, dressed like an ad for sherry in a 1967 Sunday Telegraph colour supplement. Hermes scarf tucked around neck, yellowish blouse, carefully combed brown hair, simple black business suit, clean coat with fake fur collar. She stares ahead frozen in horror, her freckled hand jammed into her orderly hair.

Inside information

PA to the Director, Public Sector Services of Dun and Old, the accountants and business consultancy.

What she is doing or thinking

Everything has just fallen into place. The tenders for consultancies to the nearly innumerable government bodies (4,000 on their mailing list) fall like autumn leaves onto her desk. They want corporate strategies, sales strategies, efficiency savings, marketing plans. She photocopies the documents and sends them to the same ten people in Dun and Old, and sets up a tender meeting. Sometimes she reads them.

The tender in her bag is headlined "General Policy Direction and Application: tender for long-term consultancy and evaluation contract."

She read it several times before it made any sense. It kept talking about long-term targeting, horizontal and vertical analysis followed up by monitoring and corrective actions.

The sense it has just made to her is this: the governance of Britain has been put out to tender to the private sector. The United Kingdom will be run by a consultancy. No wonder Dun and Old has built a mini-Whitehall just across the river. No wonder her boss danced a little jig and then rang to thank Larry.

They are in competition with three other companies. Are any of them European?

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