After Senator John Kerry's slim defeat in the U.S. elections yesterday, Governors of the states of Massachusets, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire met in secret session last night (Wednesday) and this morning announced that they were declaring unilateral independence from the United States of America. Their spokeswoman issued a short press release as follows: "Kerry polled more votes than any other previous president in American history, and in a democratic country this is our right. We are a different people up here", she went on, "we have strong ties to England, we have close origins in Europe, we even live in wooden houses. [our Spoof reporter was not sure what to make of that particular remark]. The vast majority of our people voted for Kerry, and President Kerry is who they are going to get."
Naturally, this has thrown the whole of the USA into constitutional crisis. White House lawyers are already pouring over the contents of the press release, flicking through reams of the American Constitution to determine if the declaration has any legality. "We don't care if it does or doesn't" explained the governor of Massachusets, we are doing this for all the good people of New England. It is what they want, and it is what they voted for. They love John Kerry, and apparently he loves them all too and wants to embrace them all individually" making a discreet reference to Kerry's concession speech on Wednesday afternoon.
George W Bush was reported to be furious. "I am the President of the United States of America" he bellowed, "and by the United States I mean all 60 of them. Or is it 40, I forget." His first reaction was to send in the troops to quell this rebellion, and summoned Colin Powell to the White House.
"What do you want me to do - open fire on our own people?" he demanded.
"If necessary" retorted the President, "isn't that what our troops normally do?" making an unfortunate reference to "friendly fire" incidents in the recent two gulf wars.
Colin Powell excused himself hurriedly and rushed off to meet his senior generals.
An hour later he was back. "We can't send in the troops after all, Mr President, we don't have any left. They are all in Iraq and Afghanistan!".
"Drat these wars overseas" replied Bush, who's idea was it to send them there?"
"Erm, yours, actually, Sir! And only last week you requested another invasion force for North Korea and Iran. We had to turn that request down too".
"Well, find some more troops Powell. Bring in conscription. Enrol the ladies. And the unemployed folks in Ohio" (having narrowly taken this marginal state in the election, 49 per cent of whom were unemployed and voted for Kerry). "We are going to roll-out democracy across the World, whether they want it or not".
"Erm, isn't that what the democatic vote wanted in New England" asked Powell, ducking instinctively to avoid a globe of the world being hurled in his direction, before hurriedly leaving the oval office.
Amongst all this rumpus, the States of New York, Jersey and Maryland were also contemplating joining the new splinter states. Washington DC was being more circumspect: "We have a small problem here" reported the governor, "How can we not be in the United States of America and still be the capital of the USA". Good point, I think. Likewise New York has a difficulty. "New Yoik is so definitively American" declared mayor Bloomberg, "how could the one true American icon ever not be part of America?"
However, California and Oregon, at first amused by the antics of the North East, were soon cottoning on. "Perhaps we should form our own independent country" was the remark heard in government offices in Sacramento and Portland. "And we would welcome Hawai too, if they felt the same way. We could could it Pacifica". Our reporter felt that the name alone justified such a move.
Preparations in New England continue with scant regard to the remainder of the USA. Border controls are already being established, and no USA citizen without a photo-ID biometric passport is being allowed into the new country. A diplomatic service has already hit the ground running, giving the rest of the World a bit of a headache - they have to appoint new ambassadors and find embassy premises.
Kerry is expected to be sworn-in as president of New England within a matter of days. His first task is to define the constitution. "We will start with what we know" he mused, "we will keep the bits we like and drop the bits we don't like. We also have to think of a name for our proud new country. Whilst New England will do, there may be alternatives like Nova Inglaterra, or perhaps "the blue pointy sticky out bit in the north east".
In the meantime, Atlas makers around the world are hurriedly making alterations to the international boundaries. "Make you minds up" said one, "we have the printing presses waiting. Is the new country to be called New England or what?"