The Bank of England’s deputy governor, Charles Bean, has delivered the gloomiest forecast yet for Britain’s economic future.
Speaking at the annual conference of the world’s top bankers in Wyoming, the newly-appointed Mr Bean delivered a shocking – and completely unintelligible – speech to the financial masters of the world.
“Mmm!” he said as he took the stage, leaving a trail of notes from an open folder.
“Hmm?” he went on, as the lectern microphone spun round on its stalk, smashing the glass autocue screen.
A cloud of despondency settled over the auditorium as Mr Bean launched into an intermittent mumble while operating the Powerpoint remote, illustrated by images of numerous failed rocket launches, extinct animal species, blitzed cities, collapsing aeroplanes with Venetian blinds for wings and Myra Hindley. Mr Bean closed his speech with a final warning to the money men, stepping backwards and falling down an open trapdoor with a final, stark: “Oh!”
The hall burst into uproar, with panic-stricken bankers screaming, “For God’s sake, sell sterling - now!” into their Blackberries and frantically searching Google Earth for the nearest tall building to hurl themselves from.
Back home, the City of London swiftly took on the look of a ghost town as the staff of its international megacorporation offices headed for the airports, leaving an army of demolition workers to knock down their deserted towers of glass and steel before collecting their P45s and heading back to the relative economic security of Eastern Europe.
“Mr Bean’s hilarious escapades always reduce me to helpless fits of laughter,” giggled the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alastair Darling, to reporters outside 11 Downing Street. “His hapless, bumbling antics provide me with welcome relief from the daily grind of presiding over the worst recession since the dark days of the seventies. There’s never a situation so bad that he can’t make things ten times worse. He’s a comedy genius.”