After much consideration it has become clear to me that I need a royal yacht. This is not some monumental act of vanity, you understand. Oh no, not for me a life of lolling around on the quarterdeck sipping cocktails. This is strictly business.
Quite simply, I have come round to the government’s point of view that success in business is all about owning a yacht. You will have noticed the exciting news that Boris Johnson has decided to spend (or squander, to use the technical Treasury jargon) £200m the country does not have on a new royal yacht which the royal family does not actually want in order to promote Global Britain in any number of important trading destinations.
The business case for this toy, sorry, essential trade promotion vessel, is that some mid-ranking minister heaves into port on HMY Tradey McTradeface on an export and investment mission. The great and good of whatever city it is moored in are so excited to see a boat that they dash up the gangplank for a sip of English wine and the chance to shake hands with the Earl of Ulster.
Half an hour of munching puff pastry and, hey presto, they sign over a significant percentage of their gross domestic product for a consignment of UK goodies. Small luxury items could even be stored in the hold so the punters could walk home with them then and there. Bish bosh, the whole thing has paid for itself in just a few trips.
And there’s more. This yacht will be a total boon for Brand Britain because, well, everyone loves a boat, don’t they? Of course, there needs to be a bit of pizzazz, a touch of glamour. Guests want a glimpse of a serious royal or at least Helen Mirren. People expect a touch of British class; a military band and a few After Eights. Punters won’t be palmed off with Sarah Ferguson and a box of Quality Street.
But I’m wandering off the point. The fact is my own business has been a bit slow of late and it’s now clear that a royal yacht that I cannot afford is the answer.
I’m still a bit light on the details, like who is going to pay for it, but this is about brand projection. So I’ll be using it when I turn up for press conferences. There are some logistical issues, since not many press conferences are actually held on the water, so I may have to tow it behind the Skoda.
Admittedly, it may be more of a royal dinghy at first, but I’ll put some bunting on it and play “A Life on the Ocean Wave” on the car stereo as I disembark. Furthermore, in future, my articles will be performed live from the prow of the boat.
It will also add a touch of class to my efforts to sell off unwanted household items that until now have been fetching not very much on eBay. Once my royal yacht is finished, I will simply moor it somewhere on our street (at least until I can secure freeport status for my driveway) and invite guests to peruse the items over a glass of cava while they pose for pictures with the couple from number 47 who bear a passing resemblance to Mike and Zara Tindall. According to experts at Economists for a Royal Yacht, it will see my takings either treble or rise by a factor of three, whichever is larger.
I may also use the yacht for the launch of my new Substack subscription service. I’m not quite clear on the details but basically you pay to read the things that I have written but which the FT didn’t want to publish. Dominic Cummings has done it and apparently you just have to bash out a few thousand words about how Matt Hancock is hopeless, which I could definitely do for the right price.
The boat will be available for hire for high-end social events like neighbourhood watch meetings. Let the cynics and gloomsters mock. We live in a great seafaring suburb. It may seem extravagant now but I’ve launched a GoFundMe page. Do take a look. The first 50 contributors will get a free trade deal and a captain’s cap worth 0.02 per cent of my GDP.
Follow Robert on Twitter and email him at
Follow on Twitter to find out about our latest stories first.