Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is regarded as so dangerous that whenever he appears in public he must wear a face mask, straitjacket and be wheeled everywhere on a trolley.

‘It was a risk to promote him,’ admitted Labour Leader Ed Miliband, ‘and safety is our first concern. Especially mine. That’s why he must wear the mask at all times and remain under very close supervision.’

Balls, a clinical economist, is well known for his frightening ability to get into the minds of his opponents and cause them great psychological distress through the use of embarrassing statistics and traumatising lectures on supply-side economics.

‘The man is a monster,’ said Chancellor George Osborne, ‘last time I saw him he made me break down and cry simply by whispering the phrase “neo classical endogenous growth theory”. I won’t go anywhere near him.’

When not being wheeled out to savage the government, Mr Balls will be kept in solitary confinement at the high security wing of the House of Commons; there he will listen to Bach’s Goldberg Variations and dream of the day he will get an office with a view. Mr Balls will be regularly visited by his wife and cabinet colleague, Yvette Cooper, who will try to get him to explain Labour’s economic policy through his preferred method of cryptic clues and psychological games.

‘People misunderstand Ed,’ explained his wife, ‘he only ever attacks people he doesn’t like or who get in his way. Most of the time he’s a pussy cat, which is probably just as well because he ate ours.’

Mr Balls gained his reputation as a psychopathic monster over many years. Firstly, working under Gordon Brown where he learned the ancient art of scowling, brooding and angrily throwing things round the room. Then, as Shadow Education Minister, when he would regularly tear chunks out of Michael Gove. ‘That was bad enough,’ said Gove, ‘but once he invited me to dinner, paralysed me with a boring lecture on education theory, before cutting open my skull and eating bits of my brain. Thankfully, it hasn’t affected me in any way.’

Mr Balls rejected accusations that he had recently threatened to eat George Osborne’s liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. ‘I don’t drink Chianti,’ explained Balls, ‘Everyone knows that I am much more of a Champagne Sociopath.’

Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that in the future all new schools will be built and maintained by the pupils. ‘This is what I mean by ‘free schools,’ he said, ‘the kids build them and it doesn’t cost us a penny.’

Under the scheme, from September every school pupil in England and Wales will be issued with a hammer, some nails and a pot of paint. ‘Obviously we want them to do a good job,’ said Mr Gove, ‘which is why I have set up a range of ‘Building Academies’ where the kids will get basic training in woodwork, bricklaying and plastering. The brighter kids can have a go at architecture while the thicker ones can focus on wolf-whistling and showing their bottoms to passers by.’

‘We are already well on the way to building our school,’ said nine-year-old Ollie Brownlow, ‘so far it’s got a helipad, a rocket launcher and a secret underground control centre. Of course it won’t be easy to build entirely out of crisp wrappers and milk bottle tops, but if it means getting out of double maths then we’re all very keen.’

The Shadow Education Secretary has already questioned the safety of some of the new buildings. ‘Many of these schools are made from old toilet rolls held together with bits of string,’ he complained, ‘at least under Labour they would have been provided with cereal boxes and some sticky-backed plastic.’

‘I am not too bothered by the structural stability of the buildings,’ said Mr Gove, ‘the important thing is the quality of the teaching. That is why we are also asking pupils to construct their own teachers out of twigs and old clothes. It costs a lot to train a real teacher but a ‘scare-teacher’ hardly costs anything – and, according to a recent Ofsted report, the kids treat them with a lot more respect.’

Mr Gove rejected allegations that the whole scheme was being funded on a shoestring. ‘It’s not just a shoestring,’ he insisted, ‘we are also providing a conker, a crayon and some half-eaten chewing gum as well.’

Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville have become the front-runners in the Labour leadership race. ‘This pair of strange, amorphous, genderless beings are exactly what the party needs,’ said acting leader Harriet Harman, ‘they add colour, diversity and a touch of magic to the leadership campaign.’

The shiny, one eyed mascots launched their bid for the Labour leadership at a school in East London where, like all the other candidates, they proceeded to stand there, flap their arms around a bit and say absolutely nothing.

‘Wenlock is probably favourite to take the post having had greater experience in foreign affairs,’ said BBC political editor Nick Robinson, ‘however, many people believe that Mandeville looks cuter and could be more fun.’

Despite being related, both mascots have pledged not to criticise the other. ‘Wenlock and Mandeville love each other very much,’ said their mother, Lord Coe, ‘and they will compete fairly for the Labour leadership, very much in the Olympic tradition.’

The support for Wenlock and Mandeville is seen by many as a direct response to the recent decision by the Conservative Party to adopt their very own fluffy mascot, Nick Clegg. ‘The Labour Party clearly needs a mascot of its own,’ said Lord Mandelson, ‘especially one that I can climb inside and operate myself.’

The arrival of Wenlock and Mandeville has raised expectations that other ‘dark horse’ mascots may also throw their hats into the ring. Other laughable candidates include a running, jumping Big Ben, a giant spinning teapot and Ed Balls.

Lord Mandelson rejected suggestions that the Labour Party might be resistant to another one-eyed leader: ‘They may only have one eye,’ he said, ‘but Wenlock and Mandeville have a singular vision for Britain.’