In a statement that took few by surprise, the world’s satirists today collectively announced their retirement. “There was some discussion about continuing in a more limited capacity”, said Armando Ianucci in an interview published in The Guardian, “I thought we could perhaps scale back to a bi-monthly sketch show on one of the smaller cable channels… but when Steve Bell read out the Downing Street press release again and the words truly sank in, well… I think we all knew it was time to pack up and go home.” Ianucci, Bell and Charlie Brooker have announced their decision to open a pub together in rural Dorset. Meanwhile the editors of The Daily Mash and The Onion have suggested that they intend to remain in digital media and will collaborate on a new website about kittens.
The decision by satirists to “call it a day” en masse was triggered by the announcement from Downing Street this morning that the funeral of the late Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, would have “a Falklands War theme”*.
Although details of how this “theme” will manifest are sketchy and much of the planning has yet to be completed, some suggestions have emerged from Downing Street.
- The pall-bearers will be drawn from the armed-forces and will be selected from regiments and units that played a major part in the Falklands conflict.
- A military fly-past will be scheduled to coincide with the coffin being carried into St. Paul’s Cathedral.
- A representative of the Falkland Islanders who lived through the war will deliver one of the eulogies.
- Service men and women who fought in the war will escort the carriage carrying the coffin. Those injured or disabled during the war will be asked not to attend per the original victory parade.**
- A four second loop of Kenny Everett shouting “Round them up, put them in a field, and bomb the bastards!” will be broadcast over the national anthem on all stations throughout the day.
- Footballers, Ossie Ardiles and Ricardo Villa will be placed in stocks outside St. Paul’s and members of the public will be encouraged to throw rotten fruit at them during the ceremony.
- The late Prime Minister’s funeral procession will stop briefly in Trafalgar Square while a carefully selected group of Argentine nationals will be drowned in the fountains.
When contacted for comment, a spokesman for the Cameron government made it clear that while “the primary theme” for the funeral would be the Falklands War, “Lady Thatcher’s legacy will be celebrated in a number of other ways on the sad day”.
“The government has also arranged for several Irish nationals to be denied food indefinitely”, he said. However, officials are quietly concerned that, come the funeral, not enough time will have elapsed for them to have starved to death (“they won’t even be all funny and emaciated by then!” shrieked a demented Norman Tebbit from the cockpit of an RAF dive-bomber above Buenos Aires). George Osborne, however, pointed out that “they will still be pretty hungry” and also mentioned that “we can always deal with them with a tribute to Mrs. Thatcher’s [Northern Irish] shoot-to-kill policy”.
“We are also planning to torture some Chilean nationals as a tribute to Lady Thatcher’s deep friendship with Augusto Pinochet. And we’ll probably beat up some queers and Pakis for old times’ sake”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, plans to burn down every building north of Watford have stalled due to a lack of coal.
* Look, I don’t want to undercut the humour of the piece, but I think I need to stress that bit’s not made up. They really are having a Falklands War themed funeral. The mind positively boggles.
** This, too, also happened. In the end, injured and disabled veterans were permitted to take part in the parade after a media outcry, but the original decision was to exclude them for fear they might depict the war in a negative light. Heaven forbid war should ever be viewed as anything other than glorious.