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Emergency Ward Eleven

The team are officially on holiday but we feel duty bound to publish this script passed to us by a contact working on a special comeback edition of the once famous soap opera.

A preview of the build-up episode before Tuesday’s exciting budget edition in the House of Cuts.

The scene:

The admission room where an economic casualty is rushed to Downing Street Hospital requiring major surgery. Only two junior consultants with no previous experience of trauma and intensive care are on duty to diagnose the victim and decide on a course of long-term recovery. Doctors George and Dan are called to attend by nurse Nanny-State.

“This is a job for a heavyweight, someone like KC” said George to nurse Nanny.

“No chance,” she replied, “he is in Nottingham and refuses to do any more ops.”

“OK” said George, “we’d better get on with it. Who is he?”

“Only ID is a wallet with the initials GB,” replied Dan. “George Bush? Gordon Brown?”

“I wish! Great Basketcase, more likely. Just look at the state of him. What’s in the wallet?”

“Just a couple of bank statements.”

“By George,” said George, “just look at these! In debt up to his eyes and still spending like a property speculator. I’ve never seen figures like these. How much is £167 trillion in real money?”

“There’s no such thing as real money anymore,” said Dan, knowledgeably. “His wallet has been a one way spend, spend, spend for over a decade. We shall have to make deep cuts to reverse the damage.”

“It’ll take years just to pay off the interest. This fellow is a terminal case – we need to operate fast!”

“OK, but let’s prod about a bit first. This is our big chance to shine and prove we are up to the job. If we succeed we can retire early.”

“And if we don’t we shall retire early anyway. Hobson’s choice.”

“Who’s Hobson?”

“Never mind,”

“Just look at this bloated abdomen. He must have been over consuming for at least the past 13 years. How does anyone get away with abusing themself to this extent? What sort of people allowed a strong, healthy, intelligent human being to become so dependent on credit and consumerism? The kids will be picking up the bill for the next two generations.”

“And his benefit tract is working overtime – just look at the resources it is consuming. He’s lost a lot of blood. I’m not sure there is enough left in the Bank to give him a transfusion.”

“We’ll just have to use that artificial QE stuff,” said George.

“Do I get to use the scalpel?” enquired Dan.

“Don’t be absurd. Sharpen that axe, we have to be radical here. Whoever you are, mister, this is going to hurt – hurt big time!”

“Just a mo,” said Dan. “His heart doesn’t sound too good to me. Instead of a regular beat I get a continuous fuzzy sound like those vuvuzelas at a World Cup Match.”

“Crumbs,” said George, “if he’s an England supporter he really is in trouble. He may never recover if they don’t progress to the next round. What about the rest of him. Hmm … he was obviously fit in his youth. Feet of an athlete, I’d say.”

“Don’t you mean athletes foot?” enquired Dan.

“No, if he wasn’t so weighed down with taxes and restrained by restrictive regulations he would be running like a champion and out perform any competitor.”

“Hang on – what’s this? Looks like he’s damaged his back quite recently.”

“Fallen off a property ladder by the looks of it. Poor devil. Look, you can see the negative equity taking effect already. What a horrible sight! And see here, his boom is bust.”

“That’s enough playing around,” said George. “Look in the book – see what it says about the difference between a sticking plaster and major surgery.”

“With sticking plaster you pretend everything is OK but simply delay the inevitable decent into bankruptcy. Major surgery sends the patient into deep shock from which he may never recover.”

“Not much of a choice, is it? “So what we are saying is this: We can pile on the tax and bleed him dry.”

“Or we can put him on an austerity diet that will make him so weak he can’t get up off the floor.”

“We need to restrict his spending but give him oxygen on demand while at the same time cutting out waste and red tape to boost efficiency.”

“We can either try inflation that will stimulate his consumption or we can deflate and risk massive job losses and business closures.”

“Gulp! It’s an impossible situation. Whatever we do we are likely to damage the money supply and circulation and put him in intensive care for life. As we said at the start, this is a job for the professionals, not raw amateurs like us!”

“Well, we can’t just stand here and do nothing,” said Dan.

“OK, action stations. I’ll tell you what – let’s take a tea break and see if we can get inspiration from the leaves in the bottom of the cup. Nurse! Feed him on false hopes and liberal doses of benefits until we get back. And if he comes round tell him he is in Cloud Cuckoo Land where everything is free, money grows on trees and the IMF is a fairy godmother who will rescue him from the Slough of Debt in the twinkling of a cheque book.”

“Very well, doctors,” sighed nurse Nanny-State, raising here eyes to heaven.

To be continued at 3pm, Tuesday, June 22nd.