Monday, 7 April 2014

These Stern-Faced Men of Budget

The time to Budget is upon us, and gathered around this august Budgeting table are our heroes, the serious-minded Men of Budget. Long have they slaved through the night, stiff-necked and perspiration soaked, to produce the latest of our Great Nation's Budgets.

Budgeting is very important.

"Right," calls the Chief Budgeteer, "this is a fine Budget that we have made, but it is lacking in the Common Touch, in Eyecatching Initiatives to win the hearts of the Hardworking People, the People who Work so Hard, all day at their Work, Working - Hard - that we may Budget for them. What shall we do for the Hardworking People, who are not the Workshy Scroungers?"

There is silence. Time passes. Eventually, a hand is feebly raised. The Chief Budgeteer, master of this Budget, nods that the hand's owner may give voice.

"Well... we could give them something they like."

There are nods. More voices are raised.

"Yes. Something they like. They. Them."
"Them. Yes."
"Indeed, those. Them."

"But what do they like?"

The moment's enthusiasm passes as Great Minds bend to the answering of this question. What, indeed, do Hardworking People - neither Feckless nor Workshy, Indolent nor Scrounger - like to do?

"Um. They like drinking. Getting drunk. You know."


"But not, obviously, not on anything good. Beer. Yeah. Beer. They like beer."
"Yes, they like beer!"
"Those! Beer! Them, they!"

The Chief Budgeteer, the sternest and wisest of the Men of Budget, nods his head approvingly.

"So shall this be done. A reduction in the cost of beer. Not enough that anyone will notice - a penny per pint, say - but this is indeed an Eyecatching Initiative. What else?"

"Uh... gambling. They like gambling!"
"Beer and gambling! Yes!"
"They like beer! Those are people who gamble!"
"Drunks and gamblers! Drunks and gamblers!"
"But not all gambling. Good, honest, British gambling. Bingo. Yeah, Bingo. Good, demotic, salt-of-the-earth gambling. Like your nan does. Not that evil, wicked, modern gambling."

There are more nods and murmurs of assent. A small smile cracks the face of the Chief Budgeteer, the Master of Budget. These are wise men he has assembled.

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