Since 2010 the primary source of income for public sector workers has been clapping and the occasional acorn, that they could wrestle from a squirrel. Now that the Chancellor has announced a pay freeze for 1.3 million workers, their pay will be downgraded to a polite tutting, followed by the hiccups.
The clap has long been acknowledged as the gold standard in pay for firefighters and teachers, replacing the pre-decimal system of waving frenetically and shouting ‘Cooee’. Members of the public have long shown their appreciation for public sector workers by clapping in a non-ironic way, as opposed to the way James Corden receives applause.
Other forms of meaningful payment have been explored; including coughing rhythmically, whistling the tune from Z-Cars and a restrained version of jazz hands. Some workers have asked for cash in hand but have been told to settle for the next best thing, a pat on the head by their local MP.
The one exception are frontline nurses, whose pay was already so low, that their clapping will be upgraded to the sound of one hand clapping.