The Hunger Games
‘I say Pinocchio, have you seen the news? My shares are taking a dreadful tumble. Have to do something about it. Can’t have that can we?’
The toff with the top hat folded his Times and scowled.
‘Arrf, hmmmmppph, yes, quite, all in hand Moggy old chap. All in hand.’
Pinocchio shuffled, slouched and bumbled
‘That’s all very well but what are you actually doing, old boy?’
‘Yes, well, er, er, well, it’s been jolly hard, you know. They keep remembering what I promised and, er, er, wanting, you know, hmmmph, me to deliver.’
‘You should remember who put you here, who’s paying for your wallpaper, wine and holidays, old chap. They’re the ones you need to look after.’
‘Err, hmmmmf, yes, yes, jolly right. But you know Moggy, you made a cool seven million out of Brexit didn’t you? Not that bad.’
The toff peered down his nose at Pinocchio with a sinister glare. ‘It only takes a few words to our friends at the 1922 committee to get your goose cooked.’ He allowed the threat to sink in. ‘It’s this bally social care business that is unsettling the market. Needs sorting old chap.’
Pinocchio looked miffed. ‘Err, yes, jolly right. I’ve been racking my brains. It costs a lot of money, you know. Then there’s the bally NHS. We’ve been farming patients out to the er um, private sector, but er, this bally Brexit is costing an arm, leg and kidney. We’re still going to have to hmmmpph bail it er out.’
‘That’s your problem old boy. Should never have promised in the first place. Let it all fail and go bust so we can sell it on. The Yanks are busting a gut to get their teeth into it.’
‘Can’t do that,’ Pinocchio said. ‘You know hmmmph er we have a long-term plan. We err err sell it off bit by bit so they don’t notice.’
Pinocchio looked forlorn.
Moggy the Toff peered through his spectacles with a supercilious grimace.
‘So what are you planning to do?’
‘We’re going to er, hmmmm raise taxes.’
Moggy the Toff looked dumbfounded, lost for words. ‘No you are not,’ he finally said angrily. ‘Don’t forget who pays for your wallpaper! They’re expecting a big bonus not a tax hike.’
‘But, er, dear boy, I er er don’t think they pay taxes do they? Don’t they erm erm, shove it all abroad, like you?’
‘Not all of it,’ Moggy the Toff said in exasperation. ‘Find another way.’
‘But we’ve er, er, done everything we can. We’ve arf er, already had twelve years of austerity. Hmmmf we can’t squeeze any more out of them. They’d starve.’
Moggy the Toff glared at Pinocchio. ‘If they had anything about them they wouldn’t be in that predicament, would they? It’s their own fault. They should have worked harder. These people have to know their place. They need incentives. They cannot go through life expecting handouts.’
‘Er yes, jolly right. They deserve it don’t they.’ He looked crestfallen and at a loss.
‘Tax the rich. Whatever next,’ Moggy the Toff muttered. ‘They’re the ones who make the money – the entrepreneurs. Without them the country’s sunk. They need the money to invest.’
‘Yes, er, yes, quite. But there are starving children, you know.’
Moggy the Toff scrutinised Pinocchio from head to foot. ‘Then their parents need to bally well get on their bikes and get a proper job and those silly girls should not consort with feckless youths, get themselves pregnant and expect the state to pick up the bill. They deserve all they get!’
Pinocchio sighed and shook his head.
‘Get a grip man. Take back that £20 benefit and raise the rest through raising the National Insurance.’ He glared at Pinocchio. ‘They are a useless bunch of ne’er-do-wells. Make them pay for it. A bit of hunger will get them up off their bottoms. There’s plenty work out there. They can pick the fruit. Lazy blighters.’