Ebenezer Scrooge answers Bob Cratchit's request for a cost-of-living pay rise

Dear Cratchit,

The HR department has received your missive requesting an increase in your salary. At Christmas, no less. 

You say this is due to double-digit inflation caused by the Crimean War and the continued financial fallout following the United States’ exit from the Empire. To which I say ‘Humbug’.

Yes, Yankee-sceptic the Duke of Wellington used the side of a horse-drawn omnibus to widely advertise the 350 guineas we send to the colonies each week which could be used to establish boards of health instead.

Unfortunately the subsequent collapse of British industry has levied severe fiscal pressure on our core business here at Scrooge and Marley.

It had been hoped a trade deal to export woollen broadcloth to Prussia negotiated by Whig MP Jacob Rees-Mogg the First would help stabilise the economy, but the discovery that Prussia has its own thriving wollen broadcloth manufacturers was foreseen by no-one save a few malcontents in the newspapers.

The recent outbreak of cholera and the subsequent lockdowns have also had a detrimental effect on the business, necessitating the purchase of large amounts of leeches from Mone Apothecaries which turned out to be mere flatworms.

As a result of these misfortunes, none of which for we can be considered in any way culpable, your request for an extra penny a fortnight has been summarily rejected.

Furthermore, to build a buccaneering Scrooge & Marley Ltd, we will be cancelling all work-from-hovel rights with immediate effect and requiring our sole employee – you – to work long hours at high intensity while seated at a high desk writing in a ledger.

Yours, E Scrooge Esq

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Man who long outgrew Santa still believes in Jesus

A MAN who left Santa behind decades ago still believes in the magic baby part of Christmas, he has confirmed.

Martin Bishop, aged 40, stopped believing in Father Christmas when he was eight but continues to live the rest of his life according to the moral code of a supernatural infant born 2,023 years ago.

He said: “Santa’s clearly a make-believe character built on flimsy logic whose only purpose is to ensure people are nice instead of naughty. Jesus is completely different.

“All the bits that sound too good to be true like turning water into wine or rising from the dead make total sense when you remember that Jesus is the son of God, a mysterious omnipotent higher power who definitely exists too.

“Meanwhile I can barely keep a straight face when I tell my kids that Saint Nick magically travels around the world in a single night on a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer. 

“Actually it’s the same expression my friends have when I tell them about the immaculate conception, now I think about it.”

Friend Lucy Parry said: “Martin’s beliefs don’t make any sense. He’s willing to go along with the feeding of the five thousand but not the idea that Jesus probably wasn’t white, it’s weird.”