Gordon Brown has called upon the world to outlaw tax havens, except for the ones over which Britain has any direct or indirect control.
"We must act to reshape the regulatory system for the new times. Greater international co-operation lies at the heart of all our changes," he told reporters. "And so we must bring the shadow banking system into the regulatory system. Apart, that is, from the British Overseas Territories, which are administered by the British Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - specifically Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands."
"This is a recognition that the old tax havens have no place in this new world," he went on, "Except for our very good Commonwealth friends Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brunei, Cyprus, Grenada, Guyana, the Maldives, Mauritius, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, the Seychelles and Trinidad and Tobago."
"We now call on all countries to apply international standards," he added. "With the obvious exception of our close and loyal neighbours in the British Isles, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands."
"Honest British companies such as Tesco do rather a lot of business in these places, apparently," continued Mr Brown. "And they have made it clear to me that if my government should be so rash as to do anything which might interfere with their highly-innovative accounting systems then, regrettably, they would have no option but to move their head offices abroad - which, they assure me, would result in a considerable loss of tax income to the Exchequer."
"So basically, I'm just talking about unspeakably foreign places where French and German are spoken, i.e. Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, the greedy, thieving bastards," concluded the Prime Minister. "Why can't they be more like Britain and be governed by principled, moral leaders with a firm understanding of the ethics of high finance?"