‘We have discovered a single man claiming housing benefit for a property that appears to have an infinite number of spare rooms,’ said Benefits Officer Kimberley Smalls. ‘He is therefore liable for the most severe under-occupancy penalty.’

The decision means the Doctor faces significant cuts to his housing benefit and he may be forced to leave the TARDIS and move to a one-bedroom flat in Neasden.

The spot check by housing benefit officers found that the Doctor has far more ‘spare rooms’ in his 1960s police box than was previously thought. These include a sick bay, an observatory, a library, a secondary control room, several squash courts, an ancillary power station, a swimming pool and an attic.

‘This is quite simply a question of fairness,’ said government minister Esther McVey. ‘It is totally unacceptable for a single man such as the Doctor to be living in a property with so many spare rooms – a property that could be used by a much larger family.’

The Time Lord, who has been living in the Type 40 Mark 1 TARDIS for over 900 years, is appealing the decision on the grounds that his ‘spare rooms’ only exist in extra dimensions of space and time that are not covered by the Welfare Act. However, legal experts say his chances of success are about as likely as a Cyberman winning The Voice by singing I Will Always Love You.

Housing benefit officers are also looking into allegations that the Doctor failed to declare periods of time when he was co-habiting with an assistant. ‘He has a statutory duty to inform us of any changes to his circumstances,’ said Ms Smalls who is also investigating claims of identity fraud. ‘Our records indicate the Doctor may have changed identities on at least twelve different occasions. He claims that he remains the same person; we shall see what the courts have to say about that.’

If his appeal is rejected the Doctor may be evicted from the TARDIS as early as next month, which could seriously interfere with his work saving the planet from alien invasion. ‘I had previously thought the Daleks were the most hate-fuelled creatures in the universe, unable to feel pity, remorse or compassion,’ said the Doctor, ‘but even they wouldn’t do this to me.’






Following the departure of Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions has awarded the contract for conducting Work Capability Assessments to ‘Benefits Enforcement Droid’ model IDS-209.

The droid, manufactured by Omni Consumer Products, was originally intended for law enforcement and is armed with three auto cannons, one auto shotgun and a rocket launcher.

‘Yes, technically it is a killer robot,’ said DWP minister Esther McVey, ‘but IDS-209 has been programmed to use its weapons in only the most extreme circumstances. So long as everyone complies with its requests there really shouldn’t be any problems.’

In future, applicants will be expected to sit before the droid, who will scan their benefits claim. If IDS-209 is in any way dissatisfied with the application, it will make the request: ‘Please withdraw your claim. You have 20 seconds to comply.’ At this point, faced with an arsenal of lethal weaponry pointing directly at them, most claimants are expected to then drop their claim and go home.

However, critics of the scheme have pointed to early trials of the droid in which a number of applicants did as requested and withdrew their claims, but were then faced with the message: ‘You have 10 seconds to comply…,’ then, ‘You have 5 seconds to comply,’ before IDS-209 opened fire and blew them out of the window.

‘Of course these incidents are regrettable,’ said Ms McVey, ‘but if we ignore the human tragedy and look at it in purely monetary terms then this droid is already paying for itself.’

The droid’s designer, Dr McNamara has admitted that IDS-209 does have some limitations. ‘It has weak logic circuits and it cannot process information very quickly,’ he said. ‘Also, it has no concept of compassion or human empathy, which is probably why it was awarded the contract in the first place.’

IDS-209 will be rolled out from next month and will also be making house calls. ‘It still has trouble getting through doorways,’ said Ms McVey, ‘so for the time being it will be entering people’s homes by smashing through the outside wall and conducting its assessments amid the rubble. Needless to say, if anyone tries to run away it only goes to show they are fit for work.’






From next year, the traditional Party Election Broadcast will be replaced by a blipvert that operates below the threshold of human conscious perception.  ‘The old party political broadcasts suffered from a terrible flaw,’ explained Tory party strategist Lynton Crosby. ‘As soon as anyone realised they were watching one, they immediately switched over.’

Under the new rules, each party will be given a number of prime-time TV slots to access the nation’s subconscious by flashing up a brief image of their leader lasting less than 30 milliseconds.  David Cameron might pop up in the middle of Eastenders grinning and waving some money, Ed Miliband could suddenly appear on Coronation Street looking sternly at an electricity bill, while Nick Clegg may turn up on Hollyoaks under a big neon sign flashing the word ‘Sorry’.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has also been allocated a couple of blipverts that he will use to flash-frame the image of an invading army of 485 million zombie immigrants.

Ed Miliband has welcomed the move. ‘I have been using subliminal tactics for some time,’ he said. ‘In fact I am so below the radar of public consciousness, most people have no idea they have even seen me.’ Nick Clegg also likes the idea of being able to make any future pledges subliminally, so that no-one will know for certain when he inevitably breaks them.

However, concerns have been raised after a pilot study in which viewers exposed to the ads complained of terrible flashbacks. Some people kept seeing David Cameron’s big pink face looming ominously towards them, an image so disturbing it caused a number of victims’ heads to explode.

‘Subliminal ads do carry the risk of post traumatic party political trauma,’ said psychologist Dr Raj Persaud, ‘but the modest risk of spontaneous cranial combustion is more than offset by never having to sit through a normal length broadcast.’

To ensure fair play, the ads will be regulated by the Subliminal Advertising Standards Authority, an organisation about which most people have no awareness. If a blipvert is deemed to have broken electoral guidelines it will be immediately followed by a special ‘cleansing ad’ that will automatically erase the subconscious memory of the first one.

‘Subliminal adverts are the future of political campaigning,’ said Crosby. ‘And very soon everyone will agree with me, even if they have no idea why.’




it was all in the 400-page brochure, if only they'd looked












The magical realm of Narnia is in uproar today after receiving a highly critical review on holiday appraisal website TripAdvisor. The review, by the Pevensie family of Finchley, complains of awful weather, rude talking animals and poor quality Turkish Delight.

‘The kids had been pestering us to go for ages, and it was either that or Center Parcs,’ explained Mr Pevensie.  ‘However, when we got there it was nothing like the brochures.  The weather was terrible and, as far as I can tell, it is always winter there.  The talking animals and mythical beasts were ill-tempered and unhelpful while the much famed Turkish Delight was cheap supermarket rubbish and a major disappointment.

‘We visited Narnia via the traditional route, choosing one of the budget wardrobe providers, EasyCloset.  It was cheap but very confined and we found ourselves packed in with a load of musty old clothes and a terrible smell of mothballs.  It was very difficult for the whole family to get through such a small space and EasyCloset then had the audacity to charge us for excess baggage.

‘On arrival we were met by a weary looking tour guide called Mr Tumnus. To our surprise he wasn’t wearing any trousers.  I realise there may be some cultural differences, and I like to think I am quite liberal, but there is no excuse for this sort of thing.  My wife had to look away.

‘We were then taken to a bed and breakfast run by a Mr and Mrs Beaver.  The food was atrocious and consisted mainly of twigs and tree bark.  We were eventually forced to leave when the owners kept gnawing at our luggage.

‘We then moved to Narnia’s famous White Castle, which the brochure advertised as being enchanted and having a five-star service.  However, when we got there we found the place was run by a witch, and most of the staff had been turned to stone.  Call me old fashioned, but this is no way to run a business.

‘However, what was most annoying was that the longer we stayed in Narnia, the more obvious it became that the whole resort was nothing but a lazily contrived Christian allegory.  I brought this up with the site manager, Mr Aslan.  He told us that he had made enormous sacrifices for us, the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, to be there, which only confirmed my suspicions.

‘If we wanted talking animals with a tedious moral message we would have gone to Disneyland.  Needless to say, we won’t be returning.’



international panic will start on a small scale then escalate exponentially












UN inspectors have been asked to investigate allegations that Iran has been secretly developing weapons grade butterflies in an attempt to use chaos theory to launch hurricanes around the world.

‘This is the nightmare scenario,’ said physicist Professor Michio Kaku. ‘The butterfly effect suggests that a single butterfly flapping its wings in one country could trigger a hurricane on the other side of the planet. Just imagine the devastation that could be caused by thousands of them all flapping together in the same direction.’

Suspicions were raised after US spy planes captured images of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard frantically running round the countryside with massive nets. Experts now believe Iran may have already collected enough enriched lepidoptera to construct a fully functioning butterfly house capable of launching a hurricane within forty-five minutes.

‘These butterflies represent a clear and present danger,’ said President Obama. ‘And if every nation starts doing the same we could be faced with the lethal combination of butterfly effect and domino theory, resulting in an endless sequence of hurricanes toppling into each other – something that could cause the Earth to spin off its axis.’

As the situation escalates, there are also rumours that North Korea is working on an even more sinister night-time project in an attempt to exploit the so-called ‘moth effect’. Scientists believe moths have much greater chaotic potential which could be triggered by somebody simply switching on a light.

Intelligence analysts also believe Al Qaeda may be trying to create a ‘dirty butterfly bomb’ using a mixture of cabbage whites, some pupae and a few very hungry caterpillars. Dirty butterfly bombs are particularly chaotic because once they go off there’s no telling where in the world the hurricane might occur.

‘These developments are very serious,’ said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. ‘We have been blaming our recent spate of bad weather on global warming, but if it turns out Iran has been secretly controlling our weather systems using weaponised butterflies, then I shall be very angry indeed.’

However, Iran has strenuously denied the allegations. ‘Yes, we have butterflies,’ said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, ‘but they are purely for domestic use, and in no way contravene the Papilionidae Non-Proliferation Treaty. There is absolutely no need for anyone to get into a flap.’





hydro velocipede

‘These new Boris Cannons are a tremendous wheeze,’ said the London Mayor. ‘I have already spent the day riding around on one, hosing down hoi polloi and washing away beggars from shop doorways. It’s tremendous fun.’

Under the new scheme, anyone in London will now be able to hire a Barclays sponsored water cannon, for as little as £2 per-hour, enabling them to cycle around the capital firing a high velocity water jet at anyone they dislike. ‘At first I just wanted the police to have them,’ explained Mr. Johnson, ‘but then I thought, why should they have all the fun? I say, let everyone have a go with these new hydro-velocipedes. I mean, what can possibly go wrong?’

The scheme already has the approval of London cyclists who believe that being equipped with an on-board water cannon will help them navigate busy traffic. However, some cyclists have expressed concerns about the 8,000-litre water trailer they will also need to carry behind them.

Mr. Johnson addressed anxieties about the poor safety record of water cannons, which have been known to cause serious injury and blindness. ‘Yes, there are some safety issues,’ he admitted, ‘but pedestrians should be fine so long as they always take the precaution of carrying a cagoule, a pair of safety goggles and a specially reinforced brolly.’

The London Mayor hopes the water-cannons-for-hire scheme will encourage members of the public to chip in and do their bit maintaining law and order. ‘All I ask is that if you happen to see a potential rioter, maybe one of those student, lefty, unemployed types, then point your nozzle at them and give them a jolly good soaking.  A lot of these chaps look like they could do with a wash anyway’.

Tory peer Lord Tebbit added his support.  ‘This is a splendid idea,’ he said. ‘At long last people will be able to get on their bikes and look for the work-shy.’

sponsored by BarclaysMr. Johnson rejected claims that the scheme was yet another one of his ridiculous self-promoting publicity stunts. ‘That is utter tish, tosh and tommyrot,’ he said, before launching himself out of a water cannon, flying high across the Thames, and back into Parliament.








‘The current system of cock-ups is complicated and confusing,’ said the Work and Pensions Secretary. ‘Even I have trouble keeping track of them all. That’s why I have decided to create a new system to unify all my cock-ups into one monumental cock-up – something that everyone can understand’.

The Universal Cock-Up will cost an estimated £2bn to implement and is due to be rolled out next year. However, given that it is being organised by Mr Duncan Smith, experts say it is more likely to cost £200bn and never happen at all.

The new system will create an extensive database of all Iain Duncan Smith’s failures: departmental mismanagement, making up statistics, cruel treatment of benefit claimants with disabilities, illegally forcing people to work in Poundland, a jobs website that hosts fake jobs, and once writing a really terrible novel.

‘I have every confidence that the Universal Cock-Up will be delivered on time and on budget,’ said Mr Duncan Smith. ‘I have already commissioned the very latest state-of-the-art IT system to run it: a Sinclair ZX 81. Nothing can possibly go wrong, although admittedly we are having some teething troubles getting the cassette player to load the software.’

Mr Duncan Smith has also arranged for himself to be constantly monitored by Atos, who will conduct a continuous assessment of his inability to do the job properly and ensure that he is always doing everything he possibly can to do everything possibly wrong.

The Universal Cock-Up is already being heralded as one of the government’s flagship policies. If the scheme is a success, it may be extended to all government departments, although Michael Gove has insisted on keeping his pet project of taxpayer funded ‘free cock-ups’.

Mr Duncan Smith rejected claims that the whole thing was yet another failure waiting to happen for which he would refuse to accept responsibility. ‘I am sick and tired of this constant culture of blame,’ he told reporters, ‘and it’s all YOUR fault.’





Emergency services have been called to Tate Modern after a number of visitors were unable to escape from a retrospective of the artist MC Escher.

‘I have been up and down these stairs for three days now,’ complained one man, ‘but I always seem to end up where I began.’

Another visitor is believed to be lost within an infinite loop of hyperbolic tessellations, while a family of three is currently being held hostage by a pair of self-drawing hands.

‘Escher can be a dangerous artist to look at,’ said Tate Director Nicholas Serota, ‘and it is all too easy for people to become caught up within his seemingly impossible constructions. I fear that the weight of paradox has caused the exhibition to reach a state of critical mass and collapse in on itself trapping the visitors within.’

An initial rescue attempt was abandoned after emergency services broke in through a side window only to find themselves looking in on themselves breaking out. A later attempt was also confounded when a helicopter rescue team lowered a ladder onto the roof but were hampered when the ladder led nowhere, endlessly looping back round on itself.

‘This is all very confusing,’ said head of Rescue Services Commander Henry Polkinghorne. ‘We do have a map of the exhibition, but it doesn’t help much since whichever way you hold it, it always seems to be upside down or back to front.’

The situation is further complicated because the visitors are believed to be trapped within one of three independent gravity wells, each of which is orthogonal to the other two. ‘None of this makes any sense’, said Commander Polkinghorne, ‘and it’s hurting my head.’

As the crisis continues, the trapped visitors are being counselled by an emergency neuroscientist who is standing outside the exhibition with a loud hailer explaining how they are all the victims of a complex cognitive illusion.

Sewell‘Personally, I find the endless inter-dimensional paradoxes of Escher to be both contrived and derivative,’ said art critic Brian Sewell, as he waited to be rescued from within a reflecting glass sphere that he was somehow still holding.

ethical sat nav

MPs are preparing for the arrival of a new piece of wearable technology that will help them navigate difficult terrain and always guide them towards the high moral ground.

The EPS, or Ethical Positioning System, operates by triangulating a person’s political standpoint via a number of morally aware ‘smart satellites’. If a politician starts to veer off course, perhaps about to break a manifesto pledge, the Sat Nav will interrupt with the message: ‘You are no longer on the agreed route, please perform a U-turn now.’

The new system replaces the old and unreliable moral compass. ‘In theory the moral compass should have worked,’ explained philosopher AC Grayling, ‘but many politicians found it confusing and were clearly unable to tell which way it was pointing. All too often they either they left it at home or held it upside down and headed off in entirely the wrong direction.’

The Ethical Sat Nav has the advantage of always being in view, attaching to every politician’s forehead via a special rubber suction pad. To convey extra moral authority the unit has a range of respected voices including those of Morgan Freeman, Dame Judi Dench and Sir David Attenborough.

To accommodate different viewpoints, MPs can choose from a selection of moralities: Kantian, Utilitarian and Neo-Aristotelian. However, some politicians have already found ways to jailbreak their Sat Nav so that it shifts into the more dubious Machiavellian mode, although on this setting they do have to put up with the voice of Peter Mandelson.

‘As an election approaches, MPs often get taken off course,’ said BBC political editor Nick Robinson. ‘This new moral guidance system should help to keep them on track, re-calculating their route each time they take a wrong turn and avoiding any politically costly toll roads. It also warns them if they are speeding, avoiding responsibility or lying. If they do all three it flashes up an emergency picture of Chris Huhne.’

The Ethical Sat Nav will be issued to every politician next month, although a faulty trial batch have already been recalled. ‘I had just attached it to my head when it stopped working,’ said one bemused MP. ‘I have no idea why. I was simply trying to claim for it on expenses when the unit gave an exasperated sigh and blew up in my face.’

3D serial killer

The world’s first gun-toting maniac created using 3D printer technology has been publicly unveiled and will be released into the community next week.

The synthetic psycho is the brainchild of American law student Billy Bob Eagleburger of Austin, Texas. It will undergo a test-run next Tuesday afternoon when it will be armed to teeth with an arsenal of 3D printer generated weaponry and let loose in a local shopping mall.

‘Once it was possible to print a 3D plastic gun it was the next logical step to print a 3D plastic serial killer,’ explained Eagleburger, who now plans to publish his blueprint on the internet. ‘I don’t see anything wrong with it,’ he said. ‘We live in a free society and it’s the constitutional right of every American to download and print their very own self-assembly sociopath.’

‘I recognise that in the wrong hands a gun-wielding killer might be used to harm other people,’ he admitted, ‘but the important thing to remember is that 3D printed guns don’t kill people. 3D printed psychopaths with 3D printed guns kill people….No, hang on. I haven’t thought this through properly. But just because it doesn’t make sense isn’t a good reason not to put it out there.’

Liberals are already calling for tighter regulations on 3D printer ownership, with proposals being drafted to restrict the use of automatic and semi-automatic printers, plus a seven day waiting period for anyone thinking of buying a replacement cartridge.

However, Wayne LaPierre of America’s newly formed NPA (National Printer Association) defended the freedom to print psychopaths. ‘The Second Amendment clearly gives every American the right to defend himself by pressing Ctrl P’, he said. ‘America would be a safer place if every man, woman and child had a plasticated gun-wielding maniac by their side.’

But, just as LaPierre was defending the right to print arms, the National Guard was already being called to Washington DC where a rogue 3D printer had gone one stage further and begun printing endless versions of itself.

‘This is the nightmare scenario,’ said a visibly shocked President Obama. ‘Once the 3D printers start printing copies of themselves, there will be no stopping them.’