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The two Ronniseals

The two Ronnies were hilarious. The two Ronniseals are a dreadful pair. Following their mid-term ‘spectacular’, the Downing Street joke book has been binned and a new version commissioned.

David Cameron began the show quoting the advertising slogan “it does exactly what it says on the tin.” But when he held the tin up to the cameras, all that could be seen were the dabs of glue on bare metal, as the label had fallen off.

Nick Clegg’s punch line “You could call it the unvarnished truth” was true only in the sense that varnish will not stick to dry rot.

The comic duo then set out their stall on how they were going to tackle the problems of housing, care, planning, pensions, the environment, the railways, crime, the terrorist threat, A-levels, the NHS, and the weather, before their marriage of convenience terminates by mutual agreement at the next election. It is reported that the Church of England Synod it to hold an emergency meeting to consider the implications of this arrangement in relation to its policy on gay bishops.

Top of the list were their ideas on housing. Dave and Nick will build more houses and make the dream of home ownership a reality for more people. Thanks to the introduction of new Lego® style stackable hotels and houses, Monopoly® players will now be allowed to put up to twelve houses or four hotels on each site on the board, and millions of the little green and red buildings have been ordered from a plastics factory in China. The dynamic duo promise to make mortgages easier to obtain by handing them out as prizes in the National Lottery. Except that home ownership isn’t a dream, it’s a nightmare. You still have to pay rent when you land on most of the squares round the board. You are in debt up to your ears and the long-term financial commitment is a lifetime headache. If someone else has a hotel on Mayfair, you can be cleaned out at an unlucky throw of the dice. But then nightmares are fun. Look at the queues outside cinemas showing the newly produced Hobbit®. People love orcs, trolls – and Gollum®.

But there was more. The failed schemes to help first-time buyers raise a deposit will be expanded, again through the National Lottery. A ‘Get Britain Building’ fund worth a trifling £520m will bring into use sites with existing planning permission. People will be able to borrow bolt cutters from their local planning offices so that they can open the padlocks securing the sites and allow workers in to start construction, though it has not been possible to give a guarantee that the landowners will not be able to get court orders to throw them off again and bring work to a halt. So HM Courts Service is to be given additional resources to deal with the expected increase in Possession Orders, to enable landowners to get squatters off their property with the minimum of delay. Councils will get a bonus for handing out planning consents to make more houses available, with bags containing the green Lego® style houses to be sent out not only with every planning consent, but also to everyone who pays their council tax by Direct Debit. All pie in the sky stuff to boost morale. In fact, the building industry is being given a large grant to develop the use of pie crust as an all-purpose building material.

Who will pay for this largesse? At a time when every government department is concentrating on cutbacks and downsizing, the dynamic duo says that money will somehow be found to subsidise house building and pay bribes to councils. There are plans to create billions of pounds of new money, to go directly to into landowners’ bank accounts. This will be a great bargain since the cost will be minimal and we are confident that it will kick-start the economy and propel it into the next boom-bust cycle.