Stories are emerging of a fierce debate raging amongst a colony of rats aboard the HMS Britain, a ship recently stricken by storms and now badly keeling to one side. The key concern centres upon the position of the King Rat, known to many simply as 'Gordon'.
Clinging to the sides of the ship in an attempt to avoid drowning, one rat - who wishes to remain nameless - summed-up the general mood: 'things have been one the slide for some time now; we've lost several of our number already this week and I'm not sure how much strain the colony as a whole can take.'
The latest wave of concerns comes after a torrid couple of years for the King Rat, and hopes of a revival in his fortunes are fading as fast as the prospect of HMS Britain reaching shore without further damage being incurred. Asked why they don't simply leave the sinking ship, several rats pointed-out that there was nowhere to go.
Defending the logic of appointing a new King Rat, several rats agreed that although he or she would be unlikely to be able to prevent the ship from sinking, he might somehow help to prevent it sink as fast as at present.
'Another King Rat might be able to do some running repairs until the ship returns to harbour' said one, 'although even then we're likely to lose a few. I wish we'd gone into harbour a couple of years ago when we had the chance - we might not be in this dire situation if we had.'
Strangely none of the rats seemed overly concerned about the welfare of other members of the ship. 'Hey, we've got our own problems to worry about - the rats in the hold will just have to get on with it.' The lifeboat situation on the HMS Britain - formerly the Titanic - is unclear.