‘With the economy rising 1% in the three months to September, the years of austerity are over’, said chancellor George Osborne to a cheering crowd, from an upstairs window at number 11 Downing Street. ‘Let the celebrations begin!’ Londoners needed no further excuse to go on the kind of spree that the capital hasn’t witnessed since VE Day.
The flags are fluttering in Trafalgar Square. Hats are flung high into the air. Sailors are kissing young women on the streets. Without stopping to ask their age: just like the good old days. There are sights to warm the stoniest hearts: Tories hugging hoodies, Michael Gove being hit by a bus. Drunken men stop trading punches, as they hear the news, and swear undying love for one another. Normally taciturn passengers on the Bakerloo Line break into a spontaneous rendition of Roll out the Barrel.
The police are turning a blind eye to a few incidents of looting (iPads, mostly), describing it as ‘just high spirits. We’re calling it ‘urban scrumping’’. Jimmy Savile has been dug up and is swinging from a lamp-post. There are plans to re-bury him, so other people can enjoy the guileless pleasure of digging him up and hanging him from a lamp-post again.
‘Let us be in no doubt’, bellowed the chancellor, with a loudhailer in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other, ‘this is our finest hour’…