Three builders are bidding to paint No 10, Downing Street.
One is from Tottenham, another is from Clapham, and the third is from Bethnal Green.
All three go with a government official to examine the job. The Tottenham contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil on the back of a fag packet, whistling tunelessly. "Well," he says, "I reckon the job will cost about £30,000: £5,000 for materials, £20,000 for my blokes and £5,000 profit for me."
The Clapham contractor also does some measuring and figuring, and after a few calls on his mobile and a quick shuffle around the place, scratches his backside and says, "I can do this job for £20,000: £4,000 for materials, £12,000 for my men and £4,000 profit for me."
The Bethnal Green contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the government official and whispers, "£40,000."
The official, incredulous, says, "You didn't even measure the place like the other firms! How did you come up with such a high figure?"
The Bethnal Green contractor leaned in and whispered back, "£10,000 for me, £10,000 for you, and we get the bloke from Clapham to do the job."
"Done!" replies the government official.
And that, my friends, is how the new ‘stimulus’ plan will work.