The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, declared Britain's economy officially extinct this morning.
The economy - which had been faltering for many months - suddenly gasped, clutched at its heart and toppled in an undignified heap into the road. As it lay dying, twitching spasmodically, it was struck by a rubbish lorry, then run over by a bus and several Chelsea tractors. The flattened, pulpy mess was then picked apart by scavenging seagulls, leaving only bloody fragments stuck to the tarmac.
Mr Darling revealed the tragedy to the world by running naked out of 11 Downing Street, screaming, "We're all fucked!" He was rugby-tacked by an alert policeman, who sat on the gibbering madman until paramedics arrived and plunged a large hypodermic syringe into the Chancellor's buttock.
When Mr Darling had calmed down, he fought back tears as he told the gathering crowd of reporters that, with the passing of the economy, money was now of no worth whatsoever.
"This is the end of the financial world," he sobbed. "For thousands of years, civilisation has marched forward hand-in-hand with monetary trade. Now we face years of misery as we return to the dawn of human history, with each person's daily survival hanging on the barter value of whatever meagre goods and skills they possess, and the strength of their bodies."
Mr Darling then bit off a finger and drew a chart on the pavement in his own blood, showing how the new barter economy would affect a typical cross-section of society, including:
City banker with family of four, total income of £250,000 a year, mortgaged five-bedroomed house in home counties: home seized by rampaging mercenary forces, wife carried off as spoil of victory, children eaten by wolves; starvation in 2-3 weeks
Two married teachers, no children, joint income of £48,000, renting two-bedroom flat in provincial city: apartment building razed to ground by feral teenage gang, taken in by wandering scavenger band and fed scraps in return for telling entertaining stories round camp fire; survival prospects moderate, dependent on whim of charismatic leader
Single pensioner, living in sheltered accommodation on basic state pension: thrown onto bonfire by marauding middle-management executives
Overweight chav, living in council flat on JSA: dragged outside, cooked on pensioner-fuelled bonfire and eaten