Philip Hammond has admitted to confusion over the Ministry of Defence’s continual need to refresh its stock of brave idiots.
“What happens is this,” explained Hammond who, when in front of a drab background, has to jump around in order to be seen. “I make loads of soldiers redundant and then, for some reason, I have less soldiers than I need.”Sure, at Oxford I read philosophy and so sums aren’t my strong suit but even allowing for that, I’ll be honest with you, it’s a conundrum”.
The MoD has recruited a crack team of highly-paid consultants and analysts to solve the riddle, but the Cabinet Minister is not optimistic.”It won’t be easy,” said a worried-looking Hammond “which is why we’ve had to pay top-dollar for these guys to help us out. Fortunately, we’ve had a completely unexpected underspend in the defence budget, due to reduced staffing costs – and that’ll go quite a long way towards paying the bill.
“Let me give you an example of how difficult this’ll be for them.” he went on, “Say we’ve got 100 soldiers but only need 80. Right? We then make 57 redundancies. Yeah? Then we find we’re under-strength by 37! How does that work? Can you explain it? I thought not. Me neither. That’s why we’ve bought in the experts.”
This week sees the Army embarking upon the latest in a series of recruiting drives, which has been spectacularly unsuccessful to date. Hammond refutes suggestions that quadriplegic veterans in charity marathons might give the impression that the Army is a dangerous place to work.
“Nonsense, I’ve been at the MoD for over three years and never even heard a single bullet, much less see one. Would you like a Rich Tea biscuit and a cup of tea? I’m afraid we’ve run out of mugs.”