THE full extent of the Britain's public debt last night led to a devastating collapse in the nation's face.
As chancellor Alistair Darling read out a series of enormous and terrifying numbers, people across the country, who until now had assumed it was not their problem, curled up into a ball and let out a faint, pathetic squeak.
Roy Hobbs, a plumber from Doncaster, said: "Oh sweet Jesus fucking Christ almighty on a tricycle."
As Mr Hobbs stared into the bottomless chasm which had opened up beneath his feet, his wife Jane pulled her knees up to her chin and rocked back and forth while whispering: "Cold… so cold."
In what will, surely to God, be his last Budget Mr Darling confirmed that Britain was now essentially insolvent and that the best idea might be to ease the country quietly into the middle of the Indian Ocean and leave it unlocked so that it could be stolen by Somalian pirates.
He added: "We then act all surprised and bung in a claim to the Norwich Union. But everyone has to keep shtum."
Mr Darling said the alternative was to gradually wind the country down over the next three weeks and then go our separate ways.
If taxpayers decide to close the country, Mr Darling said £2 billion would be made available to train Britain's under 25s in how to switch everything off and cover it with a tarpaulin.