THE British government is in the grip of a chronic addiction to prescription painkillers, experts claimed last night.
Doctors said ministers were displaying a range of classic symptoms including forgetfulness, defensiveness, mood swings, hallucinations and lying through their teeth about car tax.
Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: "Among the first things to go are basic cognitive skills such as numeracy, with the patient insisting that 18% is more than 44%.
"Then they may become confused, perhaps claiming that a 1.6 litre Ford Focus or a Vaxuhall Zafira is in fact a luxury 4×4.
"They may even compare themselves to great literary characters such as Inspector Morse, Scarlett O'Hara or the Count of Monte Cristo.
"If at any time they compare themselves to a deranged, violent dog-murderer from a Kate Bush song, you must strap them to a chair, hit them with a kettle and phone the fire brigade."
A government spokesman said: "Look, we're fine, okay? Why are you so interested anyway? So all of a sudden you care, do you? Well, FUCK YOU!"
The spokesman added: "Look, I'm really sorry about the 'fuck you' just now. I've not been feeling well. Must have eaten a dodgy prawn.
"Anyway, I don't suppose you could lend us fifty quid? IT'S NOT FOR DRUGS!"