Panicked Yes Vote campaigners in the forthcoming Additional Vote referendum have successfully engineered a last minute change to the rules of the contest in a desperate attempt to secure electoral reform despite growing public indifference to their cause. A jubilant Nick Clegg announced that he'd sneakily managed to add a new paragraph and some additional boxes to the master copy of the ballot paper when David Cameron had briefly left the keys to the Cabinet xerox machine unattended.
The new voting papers will now read as follows;
Do you want Parliament to be elected using the Additional Vote system?
Oh, go on then - Yes dammit!
Please rate your response in order of preference by giving each box a number from 1 to 4, 4 being the option you most agree with, 1 the lowest. Your ballot paper may be recorded for training purposes.
A tearstained Clegg, fresh from a lengthy Stephen Sondheim session said, "this is a marvellous moment for totalitarianism - I mean democracy. This change to the rules will be a big step towards the kind of voting system we've long argued for and will mean that future elections will no longer be decided by a few swing voters in some shithole in the east midlands. No, in future, the second and third preferences of a handful of nazi sympathisers and fruitarians against the bomb will make all the difference - and this has to be good news for us Liberal Democrats. With this reform, we'll be able to look forward to a Lib-Dem/Tory coalition in perpetuity - I'm delighted. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and set fire to a Reichstag building before settling down for the evening with a Susan Boyle CD and a box of kleenex...no, they're for the *tears* silly!"
But there has been some disquiet among Lib Dem backbenchers that even this electoral shillyshallying will not be enough to spare the party from the wrath of voters angry at having seen their anti-tory votes for the party helping to secure a Conservative-led administration. "I still think things could be tricky for us" said Simon Hughes from the depths of a rather cumbersome tree costume on Clapham Common. "I 've had letters from some of my constituents which have been quite alarming in tone, and that's even after I've removed the razor blades. Several of them have mentioned a new kind of tactical voting in which people will vote for any party ahead of us. Not only is this very spiteful but it could also mean that cranky extremist parties could experience huge surges in popularity - and surely that's *our* job. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must dash. There's a rather hateful Airdale approaching and I can't go home reeking of piss again or the Missus will think I've been out on the lash all day with Chas Kennedy again..."
In an unrelated development, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been arrested and charged with tearing the legs off a live pitbull terrier. In a statement, Hunt defended himself, saying "It just looked at me sort of funny, see..."
The case continues...
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