Something old, something new, something borrowed
Writing behind the Telegraph’s paywall, Avant Garde economist, Kwasi Kwarteng, has conceded that not all of the measures he announced last week would be ‘universally popular’.
‘We had no choice,’ explained the cabinet’s Marcel Duchamp, swiftly secreting an OBR forecast in the pissoir he has refashioned as a briefcase. ‘We had to do something different.’
‘At least you guys get me,’ the Chancellor continued. ’Without the underground press, I worry there just wouldn’t be a cultural space for fiscal expressionism that rejects the tired old tropes of home ownership and nutrition-to-respiration ratios.’
Citing Yoko Ono and Sun Ra as his primary influences, Kwarteng has been chafing against convention since his Eton days where, famously, he turned up to the Founder’s Day eel feast having modified his top hat with a ‘F*** the Pound!’ badge.
‘Those were crazy days,’ Kwarteng snorts. ‘You have to remember that guys like Darius Guppy and Bear Grylls were legends at the school’s Economics Society. So, right there, I had a sense of what was possible, from subverting the norms of the insurance market to surviving on your own urine. I knew instinctively that I had to go further.’
Kwarteng defends the right of the artist to reinvent himself at will.
‘I might wake up one day and think, you know, just because nobody has ever funded tax cuts with borrowed money before doesn’t mean I can’t give it a whirl and see where the chips fall.’
Pausing to replay Lou Reed’s ‘Metal Machine’, which he favours as background music when thinking, the Chancellor stares distantly out of his Treasury office window.
‘You know, there comes a time when bold decisions have to be made. When you think of the failed statesmen of the past, such as Nero, they listened to bad advice. Without that horse of budgetary responsibility, we might all be speaking Latin!’
Asked if this iconoclasm is at odds with the critique of British colonial rule he provided in his book, Ghosts of Empire, Kwarteng’s mood darkens.
Snatching a copy from the shelf, he reads aloud, ‘The reliance on individual administrators to conceive and execute policy with very little strategic direction from London often led to contradictory and self-defeating policies, which in turn brought disaster to millions.’
Replacing the book on the shelf next to Ezra Pound’s Make it New, he screams, ‘2011 I wrote that! You might as well expect Ant & Dec still to be appearing in Byker Grove.’
Replacing Lou Reed with The Shamen’s ‘Ebeneezer Goode’, the chancellor warms to his theme.
‘Only in annihilation is renewal possible. From death comes life in the relentless cycle of chaotic revolution to which we must all submit. As an artist and economist, I am bound by a sacred oath to tear the fabric of what has gone before and start anew. I am Shiva: Destroyer of Worlds.’
‘Don’t forget about pork markets,’ comes a voice from next door.
Meanwhile, at the Labour conference, Sir Keir Starmer unveiled a freshly commissioned photograph of a 2013 Toyota Yaris which, he insists, will be attainable to all, provided we behave ourselves.
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