Chancellor George Osborne admitted defeat last night in his bid to impose a series of debilitating public sector cuts.
A government spokesman announced to a hastily assembled crowd of journalists and fishwives that the proposed budget cuts were to be scrapped in favour of a system in which "we let this whole crazy shithouse go up in flames, seeing as we can't agree on anything".
Millionaire Tory Osborne confirmed the news this morning in an extensive interview with Top Gear magazine. "It all seemed so straightforward to me in the beginning", he said. "It looked like an open-and-shut case of either sinking under the weight of crippling overspending or sacrificing a bit of baggage and swimming back to the surface. I must say that the public reaction and media outcry that followed took me aback somewhat. I'd never even heard of the word swingeing until I suggested that, as a nation, we might want to start living within our means."
The stuck-up bean counter choked back a tear of frustration as he told how he had failed, like so many before him, to recognise quite how pigheadedly selfish the great British public can be. "I always knew that there would be arguments", he sniffed, "but I wasn't prepared for quite such a tangled web of contradictory interests and priorities. No matter what I suggested we cut as an alternative to pissing every last penny in the public purse up the wall, it always seemed to make a bunch of people terribly upset.
"I was right in thinking that the people of Britain would be generally opposed to economic meltdown and prepared for the prospect that brave sacrifices would have to be made. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to realise that the brave sacrifices they had in mind were to be made by other people - no one seemed to fancy the idea of tightening his own belt one bit. Anything that meant an extra penny's expense or having to walk twenty yards further to pick up your scratchcards or having to get out of bed more than twice a year simply wouldn't wash with Joe Public. It seems obvious now, but I must admit that it took a while to sink in."
Speaking at 10am after a brisk jog around the East End's former Olympic marathon route, the Chancellor grew more and more morose as he recounted the story behind his decision. "We really thought we were onto a winner with the Department for Dogshit", he remarked ruefully. "It was set up by Clement Attlee after the war with the purpose of making sure that there was enough dog mess on the streets of Britain's medium-sized towns. These days, there's very little call for that sort of thing and the whole business is horribly mismanaged. They don't even produce their own dogs' eggs anymore; they import the stuff from France, which is incredibly inefficient.
"There's a surprisingly large budget attached to the Department for Dogshit and I honestly thought there'd be no complaints if I just pulled the plug on the whole operation. But then a lady from Rotherham wrote me a stiff letter saying that her brother-in-law had put in fifteen years of loyal service to dogshit distribution and she'd never forgive me if we took his job away. So, regrettably, I had to leave that one be.
"With hindsight of course it was frightfully silly of me to think that the British people might prefer to pull together and make a few short-term sacrifices instead of plunging into decades of economic stagnation and rising levels of poverty. But sometimes it's very difficult not to let an idyllic dream get the better of your common sense" mused Osborne with a defeated shrug.
Lighting a huge cigar made out of Fifty Pound notes, the Chancellor concluded that the only sensible course of action remaining was to say "Sod the lot of you. I just hope you're happy when we're all rotting in the gutter with the Greeks", before ascending the diamond-studded crystal staircase leading back to his third home.