The corridors of Whitehall are reverberating to the surprising news that The Office of The Deputy Prime Minister has been infiltrated with an evil culture of bullying, discrimination and harassment.
The ODPM is headed by cuddly, avuncular, sweet talking John Prescott, a well loved man, renowned for his charm and affability. Observers are surprised that the qualities exemplified by Mr Prescott don't appear to have permeated his Office.
The Office's recent work on Amending The Definition of a Caravan was thought to have sealed Mr Prescott's fate as the greatest statesman of our times. Said amendations as personally promulgated by Prescott, for the benefit of the many, are spoken of in hushed tones throughout the realm's Caravan Parks and considered to be Labour's greatest achievement in its 113 year history.
The following extract from this esteemed Holy Grail decorates the walls of many a communal toilet block. Scholars, expert on the Prose of Prescott, hail it as showing clear evidence of the Hand of Prescott in its every line;
"This document summarises the responses that have been received in respect of the consultation paper on Amending the Definition of a Caravan published in August 2005.
All respondents to the exercise replied to the single proposal contained in the document.
In total we received 48 responses. We received bulk responses representing several different organisations, but in addition received responses from their members. Both responses are included in the figures."
The startling report from a recently concluded Select Committee review of his department has therefore arrived like a fist out of a fat man's ill fitting suit smacking into the chins of his myriad of loyal fans.
The report alleges that over one in five of the Office's staff had witnessed an incident of unfair treatment, with around 1 in 10 claiming to be victims of bullying. Of staff defined as black, 1 in 7 believed they had been victims of discrimination. It was noted however that one worker in the ODPM identified only with the initials, JP, said that he loved his job, its benefits package and that the Deputy Prime Minister himself, was the nicest man in the world.
Prescott is perhaps best known for gallantly helping passers by with handy tips on knocking up a quick omelette on the sun kissed streets of Brighton. Never a man to fail to share the warmth of his heartfelt and genuine smile, The Deputy Prime Minister is said to be most upset at the report's conclusions.
John, most often thought of as a hale and hearty Northern chap was in fact born in 1938 in the beautiful Welsh valhalla of Prestatyn. His early nappy clad days, as a bonny bouncing baby being serenaded by leek waving, coal dust engrained, Men of Harlech, were soon to become a dim and distant memory as Jolly John was wrenched from the valleys to sail the seven seas.
Young John took to the Jolly Jack Tar life in his stride, cooking up marvellous delicacies for his fellow matelots as they daringly rode the world's crested waves.
Ten quick years of lovingly tending the nutritional desires of his fellow shipmates, immaculately attired in his starched Chef whites, came to an end in 1963, John deciding to bade his seaman chums adieu and climb the ivory towers of Oxford town.
Surprising many, that nestling in his fat little head was a brain of brawn, John obtained a Diploma in Politics & Economics going on to study at England's Harvard, of Hull University, graduating with a BSc in Economics.
Now reeking of fish and talking in a manner almost indecipherable to anyone other than an ignorant Yorkshireman, John's selfless desire to serve the common man, turned a dream into reality as he became Labour Member of Parliament for Hull East in 1970.
There followed years of nothingness as John cultivated his special skills at confusing people as to, not only, what on earth he was talking about but also, what was he actually there for. These self same skills reached a climax in 1997 with the election of a Labour government and the creation of his present non-existent role.
Nine years have passed with no-one any the wiser as to John's purpose in life. Today's cruel accusations have left a nation mystified that it took a Select Committee of The House of Commons, dear knows how long, to reach a considered judgment that should surely have been staring them in the face, if not punching them in the throat.