“So how’s it going at COP26?” I asked the chairman of the insignificantly-sized investment company Kermitted Asset Management when we chatted on Zoom the other day. “How should I know?” came the reply. “Maybe because you’re staying in Glasgow specifically because there is a huge United Nations climate conference happening and so you might have an opinion on the whole thing,” I suggested.
“It’s a fair point,” the chairman conceded. “To be honest with you, though, I haven’t left my hotel since I checked in on Sunday afternoon.” “That seems odd,” I said. “Presumably you have a reason.” “I have lots of reasons,” the chairman replied. “By no means the least of which is the comparatively humble hotel room you see behind me is costing about the same as if I was in something properly five-star and comfy in Dubai.
Read more from the chairman: Kermitted Asset Management – Generation game
“As such, my instinct is to extract every ounce of value by staying put and sampling large amounts of locally-sourced produce – one glass at a time. What’s more, that instinct is only enhanced by the heightened chance of encountering some of the very unsavoury specimens running around the city at the present moment in time …” The chairman paused and looked at me expectantly.
“OK – let’s just accept I’m going to be wrong either way,” I sighed. “If I guess you’re talking about rats, you’ll say you meant protestors and vice-versa. So which it?” “Both,” shivered the chairman. “Clearly the protestors make it very difficult to go anywhere in town – especially if every item of clothing you have with you is either pinstriped or three-piece. More often both.
“And then round about the time the protestors decide to call it a night, out come the rats. It’s almost like they’re changing shifts – you know, like the wasps and the mosquitoes seem to do around the fourth bottle of rosé in Provence. At least the protestors aren’t likely to try and take a chunk out of you, though – well, not very likely anyway – but those rats …”
“Still, presumably you have Adair with you,” I said, referring to the chairman’s terrier-sized pet hamster turned personal bodyguard. “I’d have thought the little chap was ideal for keeping all sorts of undesirables at bay, be they two or four-legged.” “None better,” sighed the chairman. “It’s one of the reasons I brought him along – that and he was desperate to meet the COP26 mascot, Bonnie the Seal.”
“Good idea,” I nodded. “That should help him get over the Hermy, ah, incident.” “I believe we agreed never to speak of the Hermy, ah, incident,” the chairman reminded me. “Still, I think we can be fairly confident Adair is over it now. I let him out to stretch his legs on the first night and, almost immediately, he ran into a particular nasty pack of rats from Paisley.”
“Oh no,” I choked. “You mean …?” “That’s right,” the chairman nodded gravely. “It seems they have chosen him as their leader.” “Well, I’m sure he’ll be back before you leave,” I said reassuringly. “But are you sure you should be alone at this time? Why not hang out with other COP26ers at meetings, parties and other events?” “Good grief no,” the chairman spluttered. “That really would be depressing.
“Everybody here’s just so jolly apocalyptic – it’s like the Monty Python ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ sketch but about the environment. There are times when young Greta seems to be having some fun – largely when Rick Astley comes on the wireless – but have you heard her language these days? It’s enough to make a head of UK distribution blush. So here I stay – and it’s for the best, I reckon.”
“But if you’ve said you’d attend the conference, shouldn’t you, you know, attend the conference?” I pushed. “Oh, we all know what happens at the conference is less important than what happens afterwards,” the chairman observed. “If this is remembered as vividly as around 22 of the previous 25 COPs, I was never here. But if it’s seen as another Paris, Adair and I will be proud to have been present. Anyway, I dare say I’m not the only person currently in this city who is saying one thing and doing another.”