Mr Maude is ecstatic. ‘A hung parliament! I told you so! People hate us!’ Dave v grumpy: ‘Speak for yourself.’ Quietly though, I think he is a bit worried that not as many people love him as unconditionally and totally as previously thought. It’s not the polls, exactly. It’s more to do with That Poster. There’s one in Brixton, for example, with a huge amount of mud mysteriously spattered all over it. Of course, it could easily have been a bus going through a puddle. But Dave is convinced it was hoodies. I think he could have put up with having mud slung at him by any other social group. But underprivileged youths from broken homes are just too much. Do they not know how much he understands them? We are considering whether we can get the ad agency to take them down a bit earlier, just to be on the safe side. We don’t want to risk a tomato in the eye in somewhere like Wolverhampton.
Mr Maude on verge of hysteria. ‘Even if we win a majority, we’ll have barely enough MPs to govern! We will be at the mercy of the swivel-eyes!’ Then he pointed into the middle distance and wailed: ‘I can see them now, they’re taking away gay people’s rights, aaaagh…’ We had to put him in the Austerity Room with Little Al Duncan, who is still stamping his feet and squealing about prisons being ‘horrid’. He says all criminals must be assigned a homeopathic masseur. Dave wants to know how we ended up with a shadow prisons minister who doesn’t believe in prison. After a lot of swearing Jed said, ‘Because we had to find a job for someone you wouldn’t sack, remember?’ I don’t like the way he speaks to Dave sometimes. It’s not respectful.
Now that we are out of recession it’s time to concentrate on serious issues of economic recovery. Gids says we will not play politics with the country’s future. So, Priority No. 1: How to make sure Gordon doesn’t get any votes for being the man in charge when Britain accidentally got itself back into growth? No. 2: How to convince people that we must immediately cut the deficit, and not leave it for four years as if it were the balance on a 0 per cent credit card that we can just keep transferring? I did think it worth asking Gids why we can’t do this. I mean, those 0 per cent cards are jolly good and if we could just get one with a low transfer fee it might be worth a try. But Gids told me to shut up and never say anything again as long as I lived. Which is just silly, obviously.
Prison does work! After three days locked in the Austerity Room, Little Al has repented. He says he never said jailing people was ‘repulsively simplistic’. He says he was talking about Gary, our head of comms. Dave is accepting this as a climb-down. He even jokes that ‘at least he doesn’t have to climb down far’ — the first time he’s tried to be funny in ages! Little Al is being released on probation. He must stay out of trouble for three months or he will be returned to the Austerity Room indefinitely and made to watch non-stop episodes of The Wire. Quite right too! As Dave says in his brilliant new slogan, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime!