Written by Harry Porter

Thursday, 1 July 2004

The new Scottish Parliament, which has cost the electorate an astonishing £431m, has now decided to charge the people who paid for it if they fancy a peek at what they've spent their cash on.

The so-called eighth wonder of the world - in that it's a wonder it ever got built and a wonder the Scots were able to afford it - is to charge for all guided tours from October.

And not content with charging its own citizens twice, MSPs are now demanding that every visitor also brings in a packed lunch that the elected members can scoff - thereby saving them the inconvenience of queuing for a sandwich and spending their meal allowance.

But the most astonishing twist is that the Scottish Members will also bring in their ironing with punters having to pay for the privilege of putting creases in their Ministers' smalls.

The Holyrood Parliament has been a source of controversy since the first brick was laid but the few voices of protest raised over the latest measures have been dismissed as "typical of left wing whining".

First Minister Jack McConnell, who made international headlines by appearing in public in a black pinstripe skirt then trying to call it a kilt, was completely unrepentant.

"It's not really got anything to do with me," he said. "It was somebody else's decision, blame them.

"However, you have to remember this building is now one of the most expensive on the planet and it is only right that if the public visit then they should pay some sort of homage to the people that rule over them.

"That's what they used to do when we were all councillors.

"I don't think a corned beef sandwich and ironing my boxers is too much to ask."

The guided tours will cost £3.50, the equivalent of a pensioner's daily food allowance.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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Topics: Parliament, Scots

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