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The Department of Social Scrutiny

“ your statutory rights are non-effective ”

Apocalypse cancelled because of cuts

This year’s biggest event – the 2012 Apocalypse, sponsored by Cadbury’s Wispa – has been cancelled because of funding cuts, it has emerged. Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne made the announcement during a speech to the Conservative Party conference in which he attempted to amuse party backbenchers by withdrawing all signs of a compassionate society while simultaneously kicking a beggar to death.

But it appears that Osborne’s move on Armageddon miscalculated the mood of Conference, where Tory Grandees were apparently looking forward to the programme of brimstone and fire, as it appealed to their sado-masochistic sensibilities.

“George Osborne has forgotten that belching acid over the feckless and evil is a cornerstone of Conservative policy, nnnnng-ah”, noted one backbencher, as he hoisted himself by the scrotum up the stair well to the Conference BDSM Suite.

An introduction to the Apocolympics

Introduction to the Olympic Programme by the Right Honorable Sir Alan Bladder, MP, Minister of Truth and Other Information.

The Olympic Year of 2012 started with a premonition by my wife, Imelda. It was the early hours of New Years Day and we were in bed together. She awoke with a jerk.

“I’ve had a dream”, she said, in tears. “There was an overturned police horse on Whitehall and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was tearing flesh from it and his eyes were swivelling around and glowing green”.

“I’ve seen that”, I comforted her, “it’s just George’s astigmatism”.

“Not the Chancellor, the horse. The horse’s eyes were glowing green and there was a shaft of bright light shining from his bottom…”

“Well, you see, George’s…”

“Not George’s bottom, the horse’s.”

“I’m not sure I can quite grasp the symbolism”, I offered, weakly. “The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the sun shining from a horse’s arse. Is it something to do with the economy?”

“It’s more serious than that”, she said, her voice trailing off.

A fear gripped me. It had been many years since my wife’s last dream. A brief course of pills and a more or less constant diet of vodka martinis had seen them off in the intervening period, with only the occasional act of Parliament drawn up and passed to allay her fears for the future.

My wife’s dream, it turns out, was a portent of one potential future and, as this collection of diary entries, memorandums and official correspondence seeks to present, at one time in the past that future could have been a very different future indeed.

That the future we now face in the present is distinct from the one that was present in the past is a sobering thought. All of our tomorrows will, one day, be the yesterday that might have been if today had turned out to be what would have been yesterday’s tomorrow.

I think it was Winston Churchill who once said something important and I, for one, would whole-heartedly agree with this. Which is why I believe our Olympic Legacy is a fundamentally British one: a Legacy forged in the White Heat of the Blitz Spirit; a Legacy inspired by the ethos of excellence against insuperable odds; a Legacy galvanized lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

That is what I believe and I’ll stand by it until the day I die. My wife had a dream. I urge you to do the same.

Post Legacy Wormhole opens.

We received the following documents and, as part of our policy of transparency, are making this document public as part of an isolated, one-off, without prejudice, non-precedential process of publication.

Introduction by the Official Archivist of the Prefelicity, Dr. Pale Manilla Envelope.

Date: 25th Janice, 7011, Post Legacy.

What do we really know about our ancestors, those known to us as the Official Stakeholders - the wizards of the Dark Arts of Middle Management who ruled the Earth before the moments of the Great Felicity? What were these tribal elders like, with their red canister-tubes of brown bubbly liquid and their sandwiches of unidentifiable meat and a strange cheese-like substance that has stayed flexible, in many cases, for over 5,000 years? Most of all, what was the mysterious object or state of being that the Official Stakeholders were so in thrall to; in short, what was the Olympic Legacy?

Until recently, very little was certain, but all of that changed in 5008, when a thin veneer of detritus which represents the events of the Great Felicity itself was discovered.

At the top of the four-finger thick layer of charred remains that make up the Horizon of Felicity, the line under which the Official Stakeholders themselves can be discovered, this veneer contains a strange collection of artefacts. Found among the now-famous palm-sized plastic holy relics - the ‘Dove Devotionals’1 - and a similar item, the sacred Oyster Token2 - was a sheaf of papers. The papers, the partially scorched remnants of a diary, along with some other notes, promise to help archivists focus collectively as a group to unravel the moments that led up to Felicity. In particular, it is hoped that their recent discovery will be able to shed some light upon the Olympic Legacy itself, whether it is an object, a state of grace or is somehow linked to the strange meat sandwiches and red canisters.

The following pages are drawn from this artefact. They have been painstakingly pieced together and provide a transformational shift of insight into the period that led directly up to the Felicity. Our work continues, going forward; some tracts of time are missing and the Olympic Legacy, which the Official Stakeholders channelled so much of their ring-fenced resources creating, has yet to be found. It is my hope that archivists of the future will find something in these pages which will illuminate their own studies into this period of time and, to use a phrase that was apparently common among our forebears and which has survived to this day, I will be ‘over the moon on a stick’ if they do. That said, I do not know what a ‘moon’ is, much less deduce why one should be said to be over it in order to be pleasantly surprised or why, given its contribution to gaiety, it was apparently deemed necessary to smash it to pieces during our ancestor’s search for the Olympic Legacy. I trust your quest is not so destructive.

1 ‘Dove Devotionals’ are so called because they carry a silver picture of a flying dove and the name of a pagan deity such as ‘Santander’ or ‘Halifax’.

2 The Oyster Token is so named because it too is believed to be a devotional token of some kind. This mysterious artefact has the same form as the Dove Devotionals - it is rectangular and a palm’s width across - but is two shades of blue in colour with a white band to one side and the word “oyster” prominently displayed on its face. There are two mysterious symbols in the bottom right hand corner - symbols which have also been unearthed attached to large buildings over and underground for which the only logical explanation is ‘ritual use’. The reverse of this artefact may have carried a tract of a devotional prayer or a chilling prophecy as the only words still legible appear to say ‘conditions of carnage’

Emergency etiquette as guitarist abducted

As part of the double bank holiday festivities to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, some of us were invited to the Palace yesterday to the concert held in Her Majesty’s honour. Unfortunately, it did not all go as planned.

In what can only be described as “mysterious circumstances” the Queen guitarist Mr Anita Dobson, who was reprising his role with his guitar solo version of the National Anthem on the palace roof, was unexpectedly consumed by what was believed, at the time, to be some kind of amazing pyrotechnic effect. From where I was standing, as Dobson came to the end of the second verse and prepared to segue into Rule Britannia, he appeared to be trapped in an incandescent vortex. The swirling column of bright white light then quickly turned to bright green smoke and the guitar stopped abruptly. At the end of the three seconds of silence that followed, the vortex suddenly disappeared and there was only the amplified sound of a plectrum and a tremolo arm falling onto the palace roof where Dobson had stood.

The guitarist had disappeared, for which he received a benused round of applause from the Royal Box, where specialists in emergency etiquette and Royal protocol spent the next thirty minutes improvising a ceremony with the tremolo arm, in order that Her Majesty would not be officially dismayed. All attempts to find the guitarist have so far failed, though a lingering scent of hairspray was detected in the Royal Standard when it was lowered later as Her Majesty left for other Jubilee duties.

Delivery of a sustainable legacy during a Code Brown Hysteria

To all staff.

Central Government, along with the executive agency for promoting active lifestyles among the young and feckless, SportYeah?, has outlined its determination, in the difficult weeks ahead, to press on with the delivery of both the Olympic Games and the Olympic Legacy, irrespective of the consensus of Code Brown hysteria that surrounds the coming global apocalypse.

For six weeks, the eyes of the world will be on London and Britain but also, unfortunately, on a planet-sized rock, which is engulfed in flames, in the sky. So, we will shortly be unveiling a series of inspiring television advertisements which will attempt to draw a line under the whole armageddon business. The advertisements will feature a marathon runner bearing a torch and some pre-packed bacon, negotiating a series of obstacles placed in his path; he leaps over a burning riot barricade, narrowly escapes the crumbling facade of a famous bank as well as Big Ben toppling into the Thames and a Bingo Hall exploding, survives a hail of javelins and finally comes home to the family kitchen victorious and able to light the eye-level grill of his cooker with the Olympic torch. The advertisement ends with the strapline ‘2012 - Saving Our Bacon’.

There has been some criticism of the advert and the Advertising Standards Authority has insisted, in the interests of truthfulness, that the entire family, kitchen and eye-level grill be immediately vaporised and that a caption is displayed – something along the lines of ‘Eat Bacon Sandwiches Responsibly’ - but we have also been praised for setting the Apocalypse against the context of the Games. Unfortunately, with the recently opened fissure of boiling rock near Goole that was named in this morning’s press as Kingston Upon Hell, it has become clear that we have to do far more in order to own the news agenda.

I’m confident that we can help meet that objective and, in doing so, be part of something that achieves a transformational shift towards embedded sustainability for these games. In fact, more than ever, we have evidence for our assertion that the Olympic Legacy will survive as long as the communities we have built that Legacy for. We have advanced our plans and we cannot retreat, going forward.

Out of Body Auto Reply from George Osborne

A genderless, methane-breathing seahorse
I am out of my body as I have been recalled to my Mothership for de-briefing and recycling.

I will return at the commencement of the 14th b’ak’tun, Mayan long count calendar date of, where I will assume the form of a giant, genderless, methane-breathing seahorse and will rule for 144 days as Hippocampus Gideonii.

If your enquiry is urgent, please await further instructions from the Chancellor in your household refuse. If you have not thought to look through your bins for messages from the Government, I’m afraid that you are too mentally stable to talk to us.


Apocolympic Diary – Risk Management

With the recent intervention of the 2012 Apocalypse Steering Committee, many Games events have been subject to regulatory amendments mandated by synergies inherent in the collaborative process. Fencing, in particular, has had its core qualities changed by Team Apocalypse, who have successfully challenged the use of the foil, the épée and sabre in favour of late medieval-style bastard swords and with them, two new point-scoring moves, the hack and the gore.

Even in training, the new equipment and moves have engendered some health and safety outcome issues and it remains to be seen whether the Apocalypse Steering Committee’s new compromises over the amended regulations will positively impact on the current outcome of the risk assessment; that assessment ended with the telling phrase ‘We’re all going to die’. It is hoped that we may be able to re-engineer the qualitative upshot using a linguistic hermeneutic model to facilitate a variant cognisance of the facts, viz., ‘We might possibly suffer a failure of existence as a short-run consequence of a steel-anatomical interface’.

Following a meeting between Games officials and the formal representatives of the 2012 Apocalypse, there have been some changes to the Synchronised Swimming and Water Polo competitions at the Aquatics Centre. Health and safety officials from the Games had expressed some concerns over proposals from our divine overlords to conduct these events in a pool of vitriol and molten brimstone which would also, it was thought, jeopardize the spirit of the Games.

Representatives of the 2012 Apocalypse appealed for a more inclusive line from the Games, noting that the Centre was constructed on an Iron Age burial site and that the ancestral spirits were angry and were demanding some form of redress.

Compromise was reached when Games officials agreed to contract Balfour Beatty to construct a henge in the warm-up pool and, as part of the Olympic Legacy, to instigate a quarterly regime of exorcisms by a British Standards 5750-compliant Catholic priest.

Apocolympic Diary – The 5th Horseman

Memo to members of the International Olympic Committee
News has come to us, through the usual channels, that a fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, “Dressage”, has been created by the 2012 Apocalypse Committee to compete in the event that bears his name.

Until recently, it was unclear which nation’s flag he would compete under as difficult conditions in the sky dictate that there are presently UN Sanctions in force against both Niburu and Hades which are, respectively, his home address and his place of work, but the Government have seen fit, in the extraordinary circumstances, to modify their methodology and make him a British subject, while awarding him an MBE for good measure and fast-track an application to make him Harbinger Laureate in the process.

With many of the formalities out of the way, Dressage still faces a drugs test as suspicions about anabolic steroids have arisen, mostly on account of the fact that he is over 12 feet tall and occasionally appears to gently smolder at the end of a round. His explanation - that he is “made of wrath, fury and choleric ill-will to all puny human life” - has now understood to have been taken aboard by the surviving members of the official Olympic Misuse of Drugs Committee who, at the end of the day, were hitherto unable to operationalise the request proactively.

Apocolympic Diary

Part of my remit as Deputy Lead Liaison Officer (Strategy and Outreach Legacy Benchmarking) for the London Games is to actualise a written account of the experience of putting on the games, outlining the key aspects of strategic methodology and thought leadership required to promote a result-focus at the organisational interface. At the core of this account is our commitment to action benchmark Legacy deliverables and derivative sustainability and embed them into the games envelope.

That said, Official Stakeholders will be encouraged, via the inclusivity regime, to develop their human capital in pursuit of the larger commercial envelope and to deploy their own outreach resources to measure their aspirations against the Legacy benchmark.

I attended a meeting of other Games officials so that we could focus collectively as a group on some of the step changes in our Strategy for the Olympic Legacy that have been necessitated by environmental concerns, vis-a-vis a number of instances of extra-planetary peril. The International Olympics Committee, in particular, have expressed concerns that our original bid document does not contain any contingency measures that might be needed in the event of an alien invasion, a disruption in the fabric of the Solar System or the appearance of the Antichrist™.

A Quality Action Team (QAT) has been assembled, drawing on the expertise of Games officials with experience in risk assessment and health and safety, to evaluate and appraise the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats inherent in the circumstances presented to us by the appearance of the following:
  • Wholesale paranormal activity;
  • The proximity of a Type 7 Brown Dwarf Star;
  • Radio transmissions from a non-indigenous fleet of nearby spaceships and;
  • An Antichrist™, to name but a few.

Resolutions were tabled - and passed - to verify the nature of the Brown Dwarf star and, where feasible, work towards a safety certificate compliance process whereby it may be awarded the appropriate British Standards Kitemark.

As part of my remit in Strategy and Outreach Benchmarking, my assignment is to onboard external partners; all future communications with outreach targets will be actioned by my team at the appropriate decision latitude.

The Antichrist™ is a different - and difficult - matter, however, and for those reasons the QAT has formed a sub-committee with the remit of bringing Him/Her and/or It on board with an offer of Tier 1 Sponsorship and full-colour advertising space in the official programme. A PDF of terms and conditions of sponsorship have been forwarded to the Antichrist™ and it is hoped that some synergy between the Games and Him/Her and/or It can be leveraged

The Seven Signs of the Apocalypse

According to the Department of Social Scrutiny and the Apocalypse there are seven signs that the world may be about to end. Our professional eschatologists believe that the seven portents of ultimate doom - omens that signify that the End of Days is upon us - are:
1. The World of Furniture Sale comes to an end and the true, horrifying price of sofas and occasional tables is revealed for the very first time;
2. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs decline a self-assessment payment on account for the tax year 2012-2013;
3. The Gas Safety Inspectorate issue a certificate for the fires of eternal damnation;
4. The radius of Simon Cowell’s ego becomes so large, his X-Factor star dressing room spontaneously collapses to form a black hole;
5. No traffic cones are visible on the M25;
6. Cannibalism becomes fashionable. Heston Blumenthal flambés a stockbroker with the aid of a Eurofighter engine and Delia microwaves a dozen professional golfers in the Large Hadron Collider;
7. Barn Owls learn how to do quadratic equations.

Apocolympics News

In preparation for the coming Tribulation, DoSSA survival expert Beaver Mulcaire* passes on tips for dealing with flesh-eating members of the Coalition Cabinet and income tax.

When it all goes tits-up next year and the wolves of the Tribulation bay for blood, you might be surprised to learn that the Coalition are still planning to govern the country in a “business-like manner”. While there will inevitably be some loss of life in the Cabinet when strange uni-dimensional beings who live between the gaps in Conservative logic claim back Wild Gideon as their son, or when Vince Cable finally goes native with a fishing rod and a red cap under Westminster Bridge, it will inevitably come to wider public attention that most of the Government succumbed to the zombie taste for human flesh years ago and have just been patiently marking time, occasionally forming hunting parties to raid the monkey house at London Zoo or the odd middle class glamping site where the meat is more tender.

The main upshot of all of this is that HMRC will still be responsible for collecting taxes and Jobcentreplus still charged with investigating fraud. But with the treasury minister responsible likely to be one of the Living Dead, you might like to reflect on your survival as well as your accountancy and jobsearch skills. However, if a member of the HMRC or Benefits Enforcement Teams do call, here are some tips as to how to proceed.

  • As soon as you suspect that there may be a tax collector or benefit investigator outside your home you must take decisive action. Improvise a meat catapult at a first floor window and hurl steaks, opened tins of winalot and fresh pets away from your home. Enforcement teams can smell blood but are equally attracted to mature, slightly dodgy food. Kebabs send them wild.
  • Fashion a spear or javelin from an old pool cue or a garden fork. Paint the tips red and yellow, to invoke the McDonalds paradigm of meat marketing and write the magical invocation “Dieu Et Mon Droit” down the shaft. None of this will help, but it will pass the time creatively.
  • Wear a string vest and lederhosen - apart from making you look deeply unappetising, you will appear more difficult to unwrap to a hungry member of the Undead, who just wants quick “Food on the Go”.

* Beaver Mulcaire is the Shamanic Name of the Minister of Truth and Other Information, Sir Alan Bladder, MP.

© 2003-2013 Ian Vince