Minister: Ah, Sir Humphrey. I don't quite understand what we're doing about the establishment of a daily newspaper in Welsh.
Sir Humphrey: What exactly do you not understand, Minister?
Minister: Well, the group which has been working on the project for some years says that it will take at least £600,000 a year to get it up and running, yet the statement that you gave me to read in the Assembly says we’re only making £200,000 available.
Sir Humphrey: Indeed, Minister. But you will remember that we commissioned an independent consultant to report on the situation, and he raised a number of doubts about the business plan.
Minister: The consultant only told me what you had told me already.
Bernard: That’s what consultants do, Minister. They come and talk to the people involved, listen to what they say, and then write it down and report back to us.
Minister: So why have a consultant at all?
Bernard: Because people believe what an expert says, whatever it is.
Minister: If there are doubts about the business plan, I still don't understand how giving them only a third of what they asked for solves the problem.
Sir Humphrey: We’re not giving them anything, Minister. We’re making a sum of money available to anyone who can make a success of the project. There could be all sorts of other people interested, and competition for the funds will bring forward more realistic business plans.
Minister: So are there really other people interested, who could do it for even less than people who have spent years researching the project?
Sir Humphrey: Highly unlikely, Minister.
Minister: So what have we achieved?
Sir Humphrey: Well, Minister, you have honoured the pledge you gave when you entered government, that you would make money available for a newspaper.
Minister: But we don’t know that there will even be a newspaper yet.
Sir Humphrey: Of course not, Minister. But you didn’t say you would establish one, just that you would make funding available. And you have.
Minister: But the funding probably isn't enough.
Bernard: Probably not, Minister, but you’re already saved £400,000, and if no-one can do it within the funds available, you’ll save another £200,000.
Sir Humphrey: Bernard! Look on it as a process of negotiation, Minister. They asked for at least £600,000, and you have suggested that someone else will do it for £200,000. I'm sure that they'll come back with a revised business plan somewhere in between, and we'll eventually come to some sort of agreement. The first bid is always for more than really needed.
Minister: But isn't there a danger that we will have an unrealistic business plan to match the amount of money available, which simply means that the project will get into financial difficulties?
Sir Humphrey: Almost certainly, Minister. That’s the way of things. In a year or two’s time, they’ll be in deep trouble, and will come to you looking for a rescue package.
Minister: So I’ll be the Minister who oversees the setting up of a newspaper. And I'll also be the Minister who rescues them when they get into trouble! Just like with the Millennium Centre and the Botanic Gardens?
Sir Humphrey and Bernard: Yes, Minister.