The prospect of a Third World War came a step closer this week when an attempt by an Isle of Wight historical society to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated out of control.
‘We pride ourselves on being as authentic as possible,’ explained Professor Chesney Benson, president of the re-enactment society The Sealed Nuts, ‘but some of our members probably took things a bit too far by shipping over some intercontinental ballistic missiles from Russia.’
The situation rapidly escalated when a passing American spy plane noticed the missiles en route to the island, sparking a Code Red alert and leading to a game of international brinksmanship between the USA, Russia and the Isle of Wight County Council.
During a 13-day standoff President Obama ordered American forces to blockade Ventnor, Vladimir Putin countered with threats of a nuclear strike against Shanklin Chine, and the Isle of Wight Mayor locked himself in his garden shed and refused to come out.
The crisis further intensified following the intervention of local planning officer Mr Trevor Spatchcock. ‘We may be on the precipice of imminent nuclear catastrophe,’ he said, ‘but it is my duty to point out that the installation of missiles of this size, even as a temporary structure, is in clear contravention of our planning guidelines.’
A full-scale nuclear war was only averted following a last minute deal in which the re-enactment society agreed to remove the missiles. In return they would get a genuine bright red telephone from the 1960s giving them direct access to Washington and Moscow, something that may help to avoid any such crises occurring in the future.
‘We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by propelling the world towards imminent nuclear Armageddon,’ Professor Benson said in a statement. ‘Please rest assured that the missiles have now been removed from the island, safely dismantled and sold on to a nice chap from Iran who promised to get rid of them for us.’
‘This has all been a terrible misunderstanding,’ he went on. ‘It was the very last thing we wanted, especially after the embarrassment of last year’s Bay of Pigs re-enactment.’