Selling England By The Pound

"C'mon, love, what'll you give us for the hat?"

Will Knifecrime Island have the biggest boot sale ever? “Sell off the Queen’s swans. Make lawmakers work for free. Force prison inmates to generate cheap power on the treadmill. As Britain’s government decides how to make the toughest spending cuts in decades, it has asked the public for help. The result? A list of wild ideas on how to save money — proposals that Treasury chief George Osborne insists will be seriously considered as he draws up a five-year austerity plan.”

I understand the difficult budgetary position in which the current British government finds itself, but I would be extremely cautious about making some of these proposed changes. It might permanently alter the fabric of that island nation. In fact, I contacted the ghost of Philip Larkin and asked him to envision such a scenario. Here was his response.

An Elegy For England

We sold the swans for meat and all the toffs came ‘round to feast
Big Ben went to a very wealthy sultan from the East
The price we put on Stonehenge didn’t make Boone Pickens blanch:
He bought the lot and now it sits on some West Texas ranch

We made the Queen redundant and we put the corgis down
We shopped her jewels to Beckham’s wife, who also bought the crown
The London Eye, the London Bridge, the Angel of the North
Have all been shipped to Tokyo, as will the Tate henceforth

Most prisoners went to China, where they perished in a quake
The rest were leased Down Under, as a gift for old time’s sake
We melted down the Dome and used the leftovers for scrap
We tried to sell Lloyd Webber but, well, who would buy that crap?

We hawked the best of what we were and went on with our lives
And look at us, we’re now bereft: there’s nothing left but knives