As the world settles down to watch the London 2012 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Committee and Downing Street are staring in horror at tens of thousands of empty seats at the various sporting venues.
Many sports fans have complained at the lack of availability of affordable seats, and corporate sponsors appear not to have utilised their ticket allocations, resulting in crowd numbers not seen since the Dutch won the last World Crocheting Championship in 1931.
In response, the British government has extracted its forces from all overseas military operations and has suspended its membership of NATO, until the end of the London 2012 Closing Ceremony. Troops have returned from Afghanistan, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, various African countries, Cyprus and Germany. They have now been deployed, in plain clothes, to the various Olympic venues, in an effort to give the apearance that there is interest in the Games.
A Defence Ministry insider told us, "The Chinese did the very same thing in Beijing in 2008, flooding stadiums with thousands of troops. Unfortunately, what with the defence cuts and all, we only managed to put a half-decent crowd into number two court at Wimbledon for the ladies tennis event. We asked China to lend us some of their soldiers, but they are too busy preparing to re-take Taiwan and shoring up Assad in Syria. They have, however, offered their Terracotta Army, which is now being distributed around all Olympic venues."
The Sports Minister was unavailable for comment. A ministerial aide told us he was in training for his own personal high jump event, which is likely to take place, quietly, when the Games are over.