I knock twice on the Well being Secretary’s door.
“Are available in,” he beckons. “Have a seat.”
I look across the room, noticing Union Jack flagpoles flanking the desk’s each nook, overlaying each angle in case a shock patriotic selfie is required. I provide my hand and am met with a limp, clammy, lifeless shake from the Well being Secretary. I get out my pocket book.
“Okay, so, firstly, let’s begin with the start of the pandemic. Was the federal government ready for the beginning of the well being disaster? Do you suppose there was a transparent technique in place?”
The Well being Secretary lets out a small chuckle of derision.
“Was there a technique in place? I’ll have you realize that I watched Contagion twice within the early days of the pandemic. That’s proper. Whereas Italy and Spain have been floundering about, we have been in meticulous preparation mode.”
“You do know that movie is fictional, proper?” I ask.
“You’ll be able to study so much from it. Bats are evil, Matt Damon is implausible, and in the long run, Laurence Fishburne will save the day …”
“To be trustworthy, I fell asleep in direction of the top.” He yawns.
“Lets transfer on?” I ask.
“What do you must say about accusations that PPE contracts have been awarded to associates of the federal government with little expertise within the healthcare trade?”
“Whaaat? I’ve actually by no means heard that earlier than.” Hancock begins nervously peeling the label off his Evian water bottle.
“Didn’t you award your neighbour a medical contract over Whatsapp?”
Hancock dodges the query and picks his silent telephone up from the desk.
“Good day, sure. Well being Secretary, right here.” He pretends to pay attention intently on the telephone when, to his dismay, it all of the sudden rings in his hand. He jumps and the telephone fumbles to the bottom. He seems to be up and smiles.
“Aren’t you going to reply that?” I ask.
“It’s most likely simply Cummings. He prank calls me once in a while … Anyway, you have been asking about how we managed to do such an important job with the entire vaccine factor.”
“No, I used to be…”
“Properly, you see after watching Contagion for the second time, I realised that these vaccines are literally fairly necessary, so we gave a bunch of cash to pharmaceutical corporations and mentioned, ‘make that juice, child,’ or one thing to that impact.”
“Really, I used to be asking concerning the PPE contracts. Is it true you awarded a £250 million contract to a US jewelry firm?”
Beads of sweat drip down Hancock’s temple, his clammy arms gripping the perimeters of the desk.
“I don’t know the place you’ve been studying these items, haha.” He laughs nervously, urgent a button on his desk. “Suzanne, can we get some extra water in right here!” he shouts at his secretary by way of the intercom.
I press forward with my questions.
“I’m simply struggling to grasp why you awarded contracts to those corporations. I’m certain you possibly can clarify. Did the Florida-based jewellery-makers moonlight as medical gear specialists?”
“Have you ever observed our lovely flags?” Hancock gestures in direction of the Union Jacks behind me. Whereas my again is turned, he grabs a small plastic bottle of liquid from behind his desk and squirts the liquid into his eyes. I flip again round to search out the Well being Secretary slumped over his desk, letting his tears drip onto the polished wooden.
“It’s simply been such a tough time for me and my staff. You haven’t any concept! Look …” he gestures to his eyes, “Actual tears! However we’ve come thus far and we’re almost on the end line due to British ingenuity!”
“Isn’t AstraZeneca additionally Swedish?” I ask.
“Shhhh …” Hancock places his finger to my lips. “British ingenuity. Write that down,” he says, because the tears evaporate from his eyelids and he fixes his eyes on mine.
“Does the federal government have any indication on when college students will have the ability to return to school?”
“The official authorities recommendation is that college students will certainly have the ability to not un-return within the post-Easter rotation of the Earth.” Hancock replies.
“May the federal government be extra particular?”
“You already know, you journalists are all the identical.” His eyes start to sharpen. “You assault the federal government throughout a time of nationwide disaster. You query our each transfer. You unpatriotic son of a …”
Hancock’s secretary walks in with a jug of water.
“Ah, thanks, Suzanne. What was I saying? Oh, sure, did I let you know we’re transferring treasury officers to Leeds? ‘We love the North.’ Write that down,” he instructions.
“Properly, I feel that’s all we have now time for,” he tells me.
“However I used to be promised thirty minutes?”
Hancock grabs my pocket book and pen off the desk. ‘Greatest authorities eva,’ he writes on the backside of the web page.
“There you go. You’ll be able to print that. Interview over.”
He stands up and begins dragging my wheelie chair out of the room.
“Have a pleasant day.” Hancock beams as he kicks me wheeling down the hall.