A major salvage operation is underway in Glasgow, where a team of engineers are said to be 'extremely pessimistic' about their chances of successfully resurrecting a sunken political party, the Liberal Democrats.
The Lib Dems, the third largest party ever to be all at sea in Britain's notoriously choppy political waters, unexpectedly ran aground after being steered wildly off course by their captain, Nick Clegg, after the 2010 election.
'One minute we were bobbing along happily going nowhere and chatting about social justice,' said passenger Sarah Teather. 'But then this crazy guy in a blue tie started gesticulating wildly to starboard, causing the whole ship to veer into government. Of course from then on we were completely out of our depth and it was inevitable that we'd hit the rocks pretty quickly.' In the event it took several months to founder on a dangerous blue reef, with the bridge and senior officers left almost completely adrift from the rest of the vessel. Ms Teather herself worked on the poop deck for two years before deciding it was time to jump ship last week. Fifty-six other elected passengers had their reputations badly damaged in the ensuing chaos, with hardly any expected to survive beyond 2015.
The party was completely submerged in the incident, which echoed the 1997 disaster when Captain Major clung ineffectually to the wheel while the Tories sank without trace for ten years. However, Clegg has so far escaped unharmed and has insisted that he did nothing wrong, instead blaming some of his colleagues. 'Lieutenant Huhne in particular was up to some very dodgy tricks in the engine room,' he said. 'And Midshipman Cable's been unusually quiet about which direction he thinks we ought to have been going in. Which makes a nice change, actually.'
The attempt to raise the wreck of the Liberal Democrats is expect to fail badly after political engineers warned there weren't enough supporters to drag the vessel upright without it tipping over again almost immediately. 'The ship went down in the worst possible location,' said marine westminsterographer Dr Rosemary Howe, from the University of Leighton Buzzard. 'The hulk is trapped quite deep down in the Osborne economic sands which often trap unsuspecting parties and suck their principles down into oblivion. I'm not sure what they'll do - certainly there's no chance that rear admiral Miliband will be able to make enough headway against the tide to throw them a lifeline, he's already holed beneath the waterline and sinking fast.'