…and the lowest unemployment since the Roman invasion of AD 54.

[Cries of “Hear hear!” from Labour benches.]

In the last fourteen quarters, under this Labour government, the seasonally adjusted Hall-Oates coefficient has remained within a fifth of a percent of its optimum range and this year the Ciccone measure is at its highest level (0.876) since the brief and ultimately disastrous Lawson boom years.

[Audible snores throughout the chamber.]

Dazzling though this record is, Mr Speaker, we intend to continue to improve on it. I will begin with our plans for the simplification of the tax credit system for the low paid. The targeted supplements aimed at all those christened “Darren” born between 1975 and 1980 and working in branches of Morrisons supermarket chain will now be merged with those for hairdressers called “Julie” and living beneath the main flightpath out of London Heathrow…

[Everyone is now asleep.]

[Ten minutes later:]

…There will also be a one-off oil windfall tax on George Galloway…

Anyone still awake?


Excellent. I now come to my growth forecast. This was, frankly, miles out. One hundred bloody percent out. So far off I might it might as well have been the product of astrology, not economics. It was the sort of estimate even the Lancet would have been embarrassed to publish.

Not that anyone else has ever managed to get their own estimates of the British economy’s performance right since I collected this consolation prize of a job. Every year I out-guess those bastards at the IMF, the naysayers in the press, those limp-wristed garlic-breathing know-nothings at the ECB. Every year, motherfuckers! Who’s the daddy?! I say again, Mr Speaker, who’s the daddy?!

[There are stirrings of consciousness on the Labour front bench.]

Ahem. And our policy of allowing small businesses to offset fully the purchase price of 3G mobile phones against their aggregate National Insurance bill will be extended to those located in regional development zones beginning with the letter ‘H’.

Moving on to the Liv-Tyler index, I draw your attention, Mr Speaker, to the year-on-year change in its Humperdinck gradient…