BABY-faced Chancellor George Osborne is demanding swingeing cuts that will hit everyone in the country.
Prices will rise, a loaf of bread will cost a week’s wages and I’ll be reduced to wearing my wife’s frocks when my shirts wear out.
Before long we could be back to rationing, eating turnips and snook and saving Spam for a weekend roast – if we can afford the potatoes.
Pensioners will be badly affected. The Queen, for instance, is down to her last million quid.
Her annual wages from the Civil List, which pay for the running of the royal household, have been frozen at £7.9 million since 2000. At the time there was also a £35m reserve fund into which One could dip in for emergencies. In the last 10 years that has almost gone. And the Government has told Her Majesty that, in these difficult times, the freeze will go on.
Staff salaries eat up most of the royal expenditure. According to the BBC this amounts to about £10m a year. Perhaps it’s time for Her Majesty to get outside advice on making savings. I mean, if she was to ask a member of staff they would hardly say: “Sack me, Ma’am. I’m a drain on the royal purse.”
Buckingham Palace, for instance, is owned by the state and the royals have never liked living there. It has 775 rooms and more than 800 members of staff, including a fendersmith (to repair fenders) and a flagman, presumably to raise the flag when the Queen is at home. What does he do the rest of the time?
So, your Majesty, why not retain a couple of state rooms for entertaining presidents, a small suite for those occasions when you have to be in residence and sign a lease for the rest with Lenny Henry so that Premier Inn can turn it into a Central London budget hotel.
“Stay big time at small time prices!”
Both the Queen and the Duke have bus passes so they can get rid of the limousines and, if private hire is necessary, call a London cab.
“You’ll never guess who I had in the back of my cab, last week? Phil the Greek. He told me the one about the students in China.”
Prince Philip, of course, will be completely unaware of any cuts as he lives on another planet.
“Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed,” he said with great sympathy at the time of the 1981 recession.
When receiving a gift from a woman dancer in Kenya he said: “You are a woman, aren’t you?” Then he dashed the ambitions of a 13-year-old boy who wanted to be an astronaut in a rocket ship with the comment: “Well, you’ll never fly in it, you’re too fat.” When the Nigerian Secretary General of the Commonwealth arrived at a state dinner wearing ceremonial robes, Prince Philip said: “You look ready for bed.”
To put the Queen’s plight into perspective, she has an estimated £349m personal fortune, owns Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle, qualifies for a free TV licence and a state pension and has a laugh-a-minute husband, so she is hardly on her uppers. And if she wants to top up the Civil List cash she can always put Phil on the stage.
There’s already enough archive material for him to do an hour’s stand up in the Lawrence Batley Comedy Cellar with no problem at all.
Except, maybe, from the audience.