One of the few discordant notes struck during the otherwise immaculately executed funeral of Her Majesty the Queen was the slightly bizarre behaviour of the newly minted (if not quite so minted as some of his recent predecessors) chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng.
Not only did Mr Kwarteng appear to take a call on his mobile while seated in the pews at Westminster Abbey, he spent the whole occasion grinning maniacally and chuckling to himself while the faces of all around him bore expressions of solemn contemplation.
What can it have been that was tickling the chancellor in such an inappropriately irresistible fashion? Some previously undiagnosed form of Tourette’s? Is he secretly a staunch-to-the-point-of-vindictive republican? Or had he won the Whitehall office sweep on when exactly Her Maj would shuffle off this mortal coil?
Perhaps the real cause of Kwarteng’s glee was the anticipation of all the wonderful things he would soon present to parliament and the nation as part of his inaugural “mini-budget”.
The budget, once delivered, was varyingly hailed and condemned as the most radical financial package in decades, although how “Give All The Money To Very Very Rich People” is supposed to be radical or innovative given that it’s been the basis of every economic policy espoused by the Conservative Party in the last 40 years is a little bewildering.
Nonetheless, so sweeping (and potentially devastating for anyone foolish enough to be on less than £150k per annum) were many of Kwarteng’s pronouncements that people have been wondering what initiatives DIDN’T make the final cut. With that in mind, here are:
Some policies that almost made it into Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini-budget”…
- A one-off levy of £150,000 to be imposed upon any media outlet deploying any sort of pun on the name “Kwasi”, such as Kwasi-intellectual, Kwasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation and Kwasimodo. A special digital levy on the KamiKwasi hashtag on Twitter.
- The freezing of all taxes on alcoholic beverages but the legal drinking age to be lowered to three.
- The various departments of the NHS to be opened up to commercial sponsorship, including by tobacco and alcohol corporations. What easier way to resolve the funding crisis in the NHS than by slapping brightly coloured company logos on every available flat surface? If people can handle it on Formula 1 cars they’ll soon get used to it on ambulances. Besides, it’ll add a bit more glamour to the whole occasion if you’re spending nine hours waiting at the bottom of the stairs with a shattered hip for your Kronenbourg 1664 ambulance to take you to the Vodafone A&E ward at Benson & Hedges General.
- Shrinking the welfare state by shrinking the poor. Billions of pounds to be diverted away from benefit payments towards the development of a Miniaturisation Ray. Once operational, this miracle of science will be deployed to shrink benefit claimants down to a more manageable size, say two or three inches, so that they can be safely housed in battery cages while their now vacant homes can be redeveloped into luxury apartments and sold off to Real People.
- Reduce spending on public transport and road and rail maintenance by re-introducing feudalism. The trouble with the modern world is that people think they have the right to just GO wherever they please. This places an unsustainable burden on our road and rail network as well as causing untold damage to the environment (might take that bit out, sounds a bit woke). If we return to the tried and tested Feudal Caste System then not only would the ordinary hard-working people of Britain once again enjoy the benefits and protections of being serfs and bondsmen, their noble Lord would be able to dictate when and if they could leave the bounds of his Manor. This would have the additional benefit of strengthening a sense of local community.
- Full deregulation of the poisons and toxins industry. For too long, our world-leading manufacturers of deadly chemicals have been tied up with unnecessary red tape and pettifogging concerns about “health and safety” and “long, drawn-out agonising death”. Once set free of such restrictions, they will be free to sell their goods to anyone who has an infestation problem, or a pest problem, or a wealthy parent who’s taking a bit too long to expire from natural causes.
POEM OF THE WEEK
Once upon a recent time
A vain and silly man
Got himself appointed
To rule over all the land.
He knew capable ministers
Can threaten he who rules
So he gathered up a cabinet
Of sycophants and fools.
His courtiers would whisper
Flattering nothings in his ear
For this they knew was all
The silly man would want to hear.
The fools meanwhile would bumble
And stumble daftly on
And make the silly man look clever
But now the vain and silly man
Has been defenestrated
His vanity and silliness
No longer tolerated.
And now the fools have nobody
To tell them what to do
And the sycophants are stranded with
No-one to suck up to.