At last Gordon Brown decided to throw in the towel and resign.
His cabinet colleagues decided it would be a worthy gesture to name a railway locomotive after him. So a senior 'Sir Humphrey' went from Whitehall to the National Railway Museum at York, to investigate the possibilities.
"They have a number of locomotives at the NRM without names," a specially-sought consultant told the top civil servant. "Mostly freight locomotives though."
"Oh dear, that's not very fitting for a prime minister," said Sir Humphrey. "How about that big green one, over there?" he said, pointing to 4472.
"That's already got a name" said the consultant. "It's called 'Flying Scotsman'."
"Oh. Couldn't it be renamed?" asked Sir Humphrey. "This is a national museum after all, funded by the taxpayer."
"I suppose it might be considered," said the consultant. "After all the LNER renamed a number of their locomotives after directors of the company, and even renamed one of them Dwight D. Eisenhower."
"That's excellent", said Sir Humphrey, "So that's settled then, let's look at renaming 4472. But how much will it cost? We can't spend too much, given the expenses scandal!"
Well, said the consultant, "We could always just paint out the 'F'."