In the wake of Wednesday’s spending review announcement by the coalition government, which heralded half a million public sector job losses, thousands of associated private sector business collapses, across-the-board tax increases, and restrictions on spending on essential services at levels not seen since the 1920s, the Great British public confounded pundits by taking the news on the chin, giving a plucky shrug, and deciding things probably wouldn’t look so bad after a nice cup of tea.
In a mood of cheerful abandon not seen since the darkest days of the Blitz, households across the country have been counting their blessings and finding reasons to be cheerful. Janice Langton of Chester noted, ‘The husband always says I’m not happy unless I’ve got something to moan about. And with my retirement receding six more years into the distance, booze and fag money drying up now the child benefit’s been cut, and emergency service freezes meaning we’ll be taking our lives in our hands walking down the street at night, let me tell you I’m just about beside myself with joy.’
‘I’m Scottish, and we’ve been telling everybody the Tories will just make you miserable for decades now,’ added Iain McDonald of Glasgow, ‘and if there’s one thing that’ll take the edge off an imminent return to the breadline, it’s being able to say we bloody well told you so’.
Pete Dawson of Sutton Coldfield, meanwhile, expressed confidence in the capabilities of the world’s great scientific minds to come up trumps with solutions to society’s woes. ‘It’s amazing what they can do these days…Apparently the Large Hadron Collider is any minute going to discover the secret of the Big Bang and evaporate us all in the process, so there’s no sense worrying about unsustainable pressure on NHS budgets by 2013 anyway. Oh and apparently there’s no God, so that means a lie-in on Sunday too.’
Psychologists were described as baffled by the unexpected reaction to the new era of austerity, but pointed to core underlying personality traits embedded in the psyche of an island race with a history of resilience when days were the darkest as the most likely explanation for the phenomenon. However, hastily-commissioned public opinion polls look to have got closer to the reason for the upbeat outlook, with 98% of respondents answering postively to the statement, ‘sod this for a game of soldiers, I’m emigrating to Australia.’