Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Budget

The story so far:
Dour Scot, Gordon Brownadder, is butler to the Prince of Wales in Regency England. Aided by the babbling Edward Ballsrick, the ambitious Brownadder is anxious to advance his position in society and resents having to work for his dimwit master.

The Prince's Chambers

Brownadder: Your highness, the Prime Minister Mr Pitt the Younger is here to see you.

Prince: Oh, you know I can't stand vicars, Brownadder, can't you send him away?

Brownadder: Mr Pitt is not a minister of the church, sir, he is the Prime Minister.

Prince: Pry Minister? What does that mean - has he come to pry into my affairs? No, no, Brownadder, I'm all in favour of the separating Church from State, these ministers can get into their pulpits whilst I get into a right state down at the Naughty Hellfire Club!

Brownadder: I think you misunderstand, sir, he is the Prime Minister of Great Britain - the head of the government.

Prince: Really? I thought my dad the King was the head of the nation?

Brownadder: Your father the King appoints the Prime Minister to administer the country for him.

Prince: Oh, I see, so he's a bit like a butler?

Brownadder: That is certainly one way of looking at it.

Prince: So why's he come to see me?

Brownadder: He's come to present his budget to you.

Prince: Now look here, Brownadder, you know I can't stand pets.

Brownadder: Not his budgie, sir, the budget - the government's plans for taxation and spending for the coming year.

Prince: Oh? Why does he want to do that?

Brownadder: Today is budget day, as your father is currently suffering one of his bouts of insanity Mr Pitt has come to discuss the details with you as Prince Regent before he presents it to Parliament.

Prince: Fine, fine, send him in!

The Prince's Chambers (a moment later)

Brownadder: Your highness, my I present the right honourable Mr Pitt the Younger.

Prince: Pitt! I hope this morning finds you in fine fettle - come and join me at the table for some of Mrs Miggins' finest pies and a glass of port.

Pitt: Thank you, my lord, I don't mind if I do, as I have always said: Pie is the fuel of Britain.

Prince: Now then, let's see this budgie of yours.

Pitt: Well, my lord, I cannot show it to you as my budget is all in my head - I choose not to put it in writing so that the details cannot leak out to the press. My aim has been to tackle green issues, tempered by prudence and with a due regard for business and the rule of law, in order to retain our beautiful countryside and ensure our nation remains a green and pleasant land.

Prince: I see, would you like another pie?

Pitt: Thank you, yes.

Prince: Brownadder, you really must try these pies, they are most excellent.

Brownadder: I would, sir, but I'm afraid I'm suffering from toothache.

Prince: Well, get yourself down the barbers and have it taken out - and take this bottle of port with you to dull the pain.

Brownadder: Thank you, sir, but I choose to forgo pain-relief during dental surgery. We Brownadders burp in the face of hurt, have disdain for pain and sneer at fear!

Prince: I see, Brownadder, sounds like a lot of macho bravado to me. Mr Pitt would you care for another pie?

Pitt: Yes, I think I could eat one of Mrs Miggins' veal pies.

Prince: Tuck in, please.

Pitt: Urghhh!

Prince: Good lord, Pitt, what's wrong with you?

Brownadder: I think that the Prime Minister is dead, my lord.

Prince: Oh dear... I think I might have had enough pie for today, Brownadder.

Later, In the Kitchen

Brownadder: Right, Ballsrick, the Prime Minister is dead and because he didn't write it down, we've got less than an hour to come up with the budget and prevent the nation descending into anarchy.

Ballsrick: The budgie?

Brownadder: The government's spending plans, Ballsrick!

Ballsrick: Oh! Why do they call it a budgie?

Brownadder: Irony I suppose, a budgie goes cheap but budget's rarely do. Anyway, he said something about green issues - what could that be?

Ballsrick: Village greens?

Brownadder: Hmmm! How about this: To prevent the erosion of our green and pleasant land, the government proposes to enclose areas of village greens and common land and sell them off to the highest bidder. Very prudent. Then there was something about the countryside.

Ballsrick: Did he mean woods and trees?

Brownadder: Very probably! How does this sound: To reduce the depletion of our natural woodland, the government proposes to a tax on windows to encourage the building of more fuel-efficient country houses. That'll stop 'em cutting down all the trees. What was the other thing he said? Something about law and order.

Ballsrick: Oh yes sir, the prisons are overflowing.

Brownadder: How this then: The government proposes to abolish the slave trade, allowing ex-slave ships to be re-used for transporting criminals to Australia where they will be worked like slaves. That'll get Wilberforce off our backs.

The Prince's Chambers

Brownadder: Your highness, I have prepared the budget.

Prince: No thanks, Brownadder, I'd rather have chicken.

Brownadder: No sir, I have completed the government spending plans. Now all you need to do is appoint another Prime Minister.

Prince: Oh, yes, yes, I'd forgotten. Well, Brownadder, if I understood you correctly before, a Prime Minister is just a glorified butler - and the only butler that I'm on speaking terms with is you.

Brownadder: Yes, my lord?

Prince: So, as Prince Regent, I appoint you as Prime Minister.

Ballsrick: But doesn't Mr Brownadder have to be an MP first?

Brownadder: ...or a lord, my lord?

Prince: Indeed, Brownadder, I elevate you to the peerage, arise Lord Brownadder, Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Later, In the Kitchen

Ballsrick: Mr Brownadder? Wake up!

Brownadder: What, Ballsrick? Oh my head!

Ballsrick: Yes, Mr Brownadder, you drank that whole bottle of port before having your tooth out and then passed out before Mr Pitt arrived.

Brownadder: What, Ballsrick? Do you mean it was all a dream?

Ballsrick: Was what a dream, Mr Brownadder?

Brownadder: That I became Prime Minister?

Ballsrick: No, of course you didn't, sir! Surely everyone wants that nice Mr Cameron to be PM?

The End

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