I'm Not Even Trying Any More, Admits Darling

CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling last night admitted he is not even trying any more after pledging £15bn worth of 'efficiency savings'.

Mr Darling said Wednesday's Budget would contain a series of key announcements that he is probably just going to make-up in the car on the way to work.

A relaxed chancellor said the Budget is likely to focus on 'the public finances and stuff', but stressed he was 'not really the best person to ask about this'.

He told the Sunday Times: "I looked through the books a couple of weeks ago and within 10 minutes it become abundantly clear that things were – oh, how should I put this? – utterly fucking hopeless.

"I then decided the best course of action would be to open a packet of Hobnobs and watch my Dukes of Hazard DVDs."

He added: "I did think about cutting loads of those stupid public sector jobs we invented, but then Gordon would just tell everyone I had genital warts and that my missus is round the bend."

Asked what he would do to cut Britain's £160bn budget deficit, Mr Darling shrugged and said: "I dunno, disband the army? Or maybe we could make things… out of wicker.

"No, wait, wait, I've got a really good one. Are you ready? Drum roll, brrrrrrr… Whitehall efficiency savings! No? Fair enough."

Julian Cook, chief economist at Porter Pinkney and Turner, said: "Even if the chancellor cared, and he doesn't, and even if the government did implement efficiency savings, which it won't, £15bn would have about as much impact as a toddler slapping a whale."

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One Woman's Week: She's Not Keeping Someone Else's Baby

By Karen Fenessey

I think that in this day and age, when a woman as exemplary as Madonna wants to adopt an impoverished child, we should just be damned grateful. The Malawian government obviously don’t share my opinions and evidently can’t run a country. As a woman who just can’t sit idly by, I took matters into my own hands.

I have been keenly following Madonna’s African adventure with my class of P2s. They love hearing about the time Madonna wrestled a baboon with her bare hands and almost got disembowelled by a pack of savages during one of her jungle expeditions (okay, these things may have been exaggerated a little, but it is never a bad thing to fuel the imaginations of today’s youngsters, who would otherwise be wasting their time reading Harry Potter and getting ‘anorexia’).

We were shocked at the Malawians’ decision to prevent Mercy from being brought up by Madonna and all her exciting showbiz friends. Mercy and David Banda could have been the next Barack and Michelle, but instead David will be lonely forever and Mercy will be just another Whitney – screaming at the cars and living in a skip.

Then I had an excellent idea: we’d put on a special class play at assembly to highlight Madonna’s struggle and the implications for race relations at our school. It would be called Banda-Aid.

We spent all week rehearsing and I’m proud to say my P2s really excelled themselves on the day. Amelie Wilkes (my top singer/dancer) played Madonna – who gets waterboarded by the natives because she wants to save all the orphans. Eventually, a mysterious woman in a veil emerges and guides her and the children to safety. The woman says she escaped from an Islamic fundamentalist camp, where they were trying to marry her to her own cousin (we all mime being sick). Only at the end, she tears off her veil to reveal she is in fact Lady Obama (played by fake-baked Holly McDonald) who has come to Africa to improve race relations.

A tear came to my eye as she delivered her final speech: “See! I am an ethnic woman and I don’t go covering up my pretty face with a veil! No wonder I married the president! Let’s all go and live with Madonna in America!” Then, we go into a rollicking finale with a class rendition of 'Holiday'.

I almost forgot that we live in a world where stupid laws can rip children from Madonna’s wiry arms. All she wanted was a sister for David Banda, and she was even prepared to accept a three year old to match up the ages (which let’s face it, isn’t as good as getting a brand new one – you just don’t know where they've been at that age). It’s at times like these that I wish life really could mimic art.