Unless you’ve been living in a cave in Tora Bora (or a bunker in Downing Street) for the past year or two, it can’t possibly have escaped your notice that the country is in a bit of a financial squeeze… the technical term is ‘fiscally fucked’. We are spent out, brassic, broke, bust, and impecunious. We are in deep financial shit.
The country is going to have to make one or two economies on a few non-essential items like health, education and defence. Fortunately some of the more essential services such as the British Potato Council or the Energy Saving Trust will, thank God, be spared savage cuts.
So it’s clear that we’re going to have to make some serious savings. Now if anyone suggests even laying a finger on the kit needed to keep our brave troops in Afghanistan safe then they’re going to be on the receiving end of a full colonoscopy and a ice-cold enema from my nurse. However, at the risk of being shot down, I think we can actually make some savings in the defence budget while actually increasing the protection and weaponry of our brave lads and lasses currently up the wrong end of the Khyber Pass.
I’m indebted to a reader emailing from Camp X in Afghanistan who has suggested that the peas that keep appearing on my plate are being misdirected. It’s his considered professional opinion that the peas are of sufficient calibre to take out a Taliban from at least 200 yards. What’s more, these deadly weapons are cheap, environmentally friendly and available in enormous quantities at a hospital near you. All you need is a pea-shooter, a canister of compressed air and a Tally in your crosshairs.
Of course, if you manage to catch your Taliban alive it could be very useful for intelligence purposes to interrogate the chap to glean some intelligence and move forward with more peas to take out a few more of the scallies. Unfortunately, a few weak-kneed liberal types have taken exception to several effective methods of persuasion - such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and hooding – which are now apparently illegal and frowned upon. It’s clear that other cost-effective methods (remember that we’re broke) are needed in order to extract information from the enemy.
Well, I think I’ve found the answer. Since almost 50% of hospital food is wasted we have a free and virtually inexhaustible supply of cold and congealed hospital dinners that can be shipped out to Afghanistan. I was going to suggest using the most lethal forms of these weapons of mass indigestion: pork mince in onions. Then it struck me that there would be uproar from the Birkenstock-wearing and tofu-eating types who would complain about feeding pork to the Taliban. Point taken, but we still have Crofter’s Hotpot or Harvest Pie left in reserve; and let’s not forget the spotted dick with lumpy custard.
One dose of any of these ‘cruel and unusual’ weapons would have your average Tally singing like a canary and wouldn't even contravene the Geneva Convention. And the cost to the taxpayer: a big fat zero. In fact, it would even be good for the environment… there’s nothing like a good bit of recycling.