My five promises to the UK are - 'Five promises, five pledges, you are such a Blair fanboy,' my wife interrupts

From the diary of Rishi Sunak, the UK’s prime minister for 2023

THEY weren’t five pledges. They were five promises, which is different. ‘Oh my God,’ my wife says, ‘even Liam Gallagher is not as nostalgic for 1997.’ 

‘I just thought,’ I explain while wearing a crisp white shirt with the top two buttons undone, like a sincere, relaxed guy would, ‘that five would be a memorable number. You know. For a mass audience.’

‘Please,’ Akshata says, ‘even the thick British with their substandard maths education can count to six. It is just so obvious that you are doing Blair in brownface. It’s offensive. It is actually racist. What were these promises anyway?’

‘Pledges,’ I reply, deftly sidestepping right into her trap. ‘Well, there’s halving inflation, cutting waiting lists, stopping small boats… growing the economy… no rise in income tax…’

‘Okay. So one that will happen anyway, two that will not, one that has a bad name after the Truss cretin and the last one is not yours, it is New Labour’s. Seriously what? This is more bogus than Be Here Now.’ 

Akshata’s my harshest critic. It’s what’s so amazing about our marriage, I said once and she non-verbally agreed. ‘This is an empty pledge basket,’ she continues, ‘and you’re the dickhead offering it round. Who came up with this shit?’

‘I worked late into the night,’ I counter, proudly. ‘Don’t you remember? The lights were on?’ ‘Ah. I was in New York,’ she admits. ‘I told you but you didn’t hear? Met Blair actually. With Wendi Deng at the United Nations party.’

‘What?’ I answer, wide-eyed. ‘Did he say anything about me?’ ‘Got you,’ my wife sneers. ‘So pathetic. He wasn’t there, he was on DiCaprio’s yacht. You sad little Blair fanboy.’

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Let's move to a picturesque riverside city that spends winter submerged and uninhabitable! This week: Worcester

What’s it about?

A tiny city with an incongruously massive cathedral, Worcester is popular with anglers, canoeists, and fans of seasonal flooding you could set your fucking watch to.

The Severn it straddles bursts its banks every winter, leaving lucky locals in oddly-affordable houses with stunning river views wading through their submerged front rooms and anyone living on higher ground feeling like a king.

Worcester was nicknamed ‘The Faithful City’ due to its unwavering support for the Crown during the Civil War, a fact less than one per cent of the current population know or give a bugger about.

Any good points?

It’s the home of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, a curious condiment consisting of molasses, vinegar and mashed anchovies, which is a staple on tables in Mexico for unfathomable reasons. Great fun for tricking visiting vegans who don’t read labels properly, it’s also a key ingredient in a Bloody Mary, the vodka cocktail it’s fine to have at breakfast.

The New Road county cricket ground is also rightly acknowledged as probably the most beautiful in the country when it’s not under five feet of water. Unfortunately the team itself is shit.

Beautiful landscape?

Very much so. Riverside walks pass enough swans to keep the King fed every day for years, and take in the cathedral which took 500 years to build and another 500 to become widely ignored.

A little further along you come to Diglis weir, where in spring you can watch salmon majestically leaping the falls on their long journey back home to mate and die of exhaustion.

There’s also the immaculate gardens of the inappropriately named Cripplegate Park, where locals stroll among the flower beds, hold picnics in summer and do unholy shit after nightfall. Stay away. Those activities might be the cause of the floods.

Hang out at…

If hitting pack animals with a whip and seeing which one is panicked into bolting the fastest is your thing, Pitchcroft Racecourse holds regular meets. Like everything else it’s next to the river and often resembles a boating lake. The Common Sense Building Awards won’t be honouring Worcester any time soon.

There’s the aforementioned cricket ground, where gammons go to die, and there was Premiership Rugby at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium until finances went to shit last year leaving them in a temporary state of non-existence. ‘Can’t even run a Rugby Union club’ is a pretty potent insult in small English town rap battles.

Where to buy?

If you’re loaded and don’t mind being considered a new arrival for the next half-century, Hallow on the city outskirts is a picture postcard English country village. With village green, 19th-century church, and more than a hint of depraved occult practices below the surface.

Not wealthy? Warndon and Peopleton are cheap and featureless. Just don’t be a dickhead and buy a house by the fucking river.

From the streets… 

Margaret Gerving, aged 57, on a coach trip: “When you’re sat by the river feeding the seagulls you can shut your eyes and it’s like you’re by the seaside.”

Normal Steele, aged 34, resident: “Fucking coachloads of tourists rock up and chuck chips at the bastard seagulls then fuck off leaving us being swooped at because they think we’re going to feed them. It’s hell.”