Wall Street was awash with blood yesterday after hundreds of Christian fundamentalists descended on New York’s financial district, frenziedly attacking anyone who looked like a banker. “It was like a Biblical plague – they just came swarming up out of the subway like angry locusts,” said one shocked eyewitness. “It isn’t as if the banks hadn’t suffered enough already – with all those terrible lay-offs and lost bonuses – now they have to suffer this maniacal onslaught!” Terrified bankers, brokers and financiers attempted to save themselves by barricading the doors of their buildings. Undeterred, the crucifix wielding mobs proceeded to batter the doors down, dragging the screaming occupants out into the street to beat them until they repented their sins. According to several unconfirmed reports, there was at least one attempt to burn a banker at the stake, with a senior executive being tied to a lamp post, with dollar bills heaped around his feet as kindling. These bizarre scenes – which only ended when police arrived and broke up the mob – are being blamed on Republican Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, who had earlier compared those behind the recent failure of US financial institutions such as Lehmann Brothers to the priests of Mammon. “She was damn right – those evil bastards were sacrificing children to their heathen god in exchange for improved share dividends,” Hal Hepplethong, a Wisconsin tyre-groover, who was caught by TV news cameras bludgeoning a red braces wearing bank employee with a bible, later told the police. “Heck, when the liquidators went into Lehmann Brothers, they found the basement swimming in blood! There was a huge sacrificial altar down there with a massive effigy of Mammon himself presiding over it – he was cast from solid gold! I know it’s true – my neighbour has seen the pictures on the internet!” The Palin camp moved quickly to try and disassociate their candidate from the carnage in the banking sector, claiming that she had merely been speaking figuratively, and hadn’t meant to imply that bankers were literally devil-worshipping child murderers. “I simply meant to say that the unregulated pursuit of money had inevitably led to the collapse of the markets – a divine judgement on their wrong doing, if you like,” Palin, explained in a TV interview designed to clarify her position, winking conspiratorially at the camera. “Doggone, if I was to say that these bankers were sucking the life blood from ordinary Americans, nobody would think I was saying they were vampires, now would they?” Within hours of her statement, reports started flooding in from the mid-West that hundreds of small town banks had been besieged by angry mobs of citizens waving sharpened stakes and blazing torches, shouting “Kill the vampires!”

Critics have claimed that Palin as a track record of, supposedly unwittingly, inspiring such atrocities, pointing to last year’s Alaskan witch hunts which culminated in two science teachers being burned at the stake for teaching evolutionary theory. “Again, it was a case of people taking Governor Palin’s words out of context,” explained an exasperated aide. “Some misguided individuals confused her personal belief in creationism over evolution with her call for action to stop children’s indoctrination with unChristian ideas and values, like magic and sorcery, through things like those Harry Potter books and films. At no point did she ever equate advocating evolutionary theory with witchcraft.” Nevertheless, for some political commentators, Palin’s continued gaffes are all part of a deliberate policy on the part of the Republican campaign. “They’re just trying to stir up a climate of fear and uncertainty, which will drive voters into the perceived safety of McCain’s age and experience,” opines Professor Zeke Wiggett of the North Carolina School of Basket Making. “Also, it’s basic political rabble rousing designed to stir cranks, knee jerk reactionaries and the ignorant, who wouldn’t normally bother with the election, to come out and vote. An added advantage of this is to create a hostile mob of bigots with which to intimidate the rest of the electorate.” Wiggett points to a recent pro-McCain election broadcast as a prime example the kind of negative misinformation campaign he’s talking about. “It started with a CGI representation of Obama’s inauguration, with the crowds cheering him as he steps up to make his acceptance speech,” the academic says. “Then the cheers turn to screams as he throws open his jacket to reveal the miniature suicide nuclear device strapped to his abdomen, before laughing maniacally as he explodes, taking Washington DC with him!” Wiggett’s analysis has been challenged by other commentators, with several pointing out the broadcast he refers to wasn’t an official McCain broadcast, but was independently funded by an extreme right wing militia, and was only shown in Montana. “The militia is just a front,” declares Wiggett. “It’s just like Palin’s so-called gaffes and misinterpretations – simply a way of allowing them to deny responsibility for the chaos they cause!”

Whilst Wiggett’s views have been dismissed in most quarters as crackpot conspiracy theory, some on the right have claimed that the bizarre events on Wall Street and the offensive election broadcast are actually all part of an anti-Republican conspiracy, designed to discredit McCain and Palin. “The whole business in New York was the result of a carefully co-ordinated internet campaign by liberal conspiracists, “ says the Reverend Francis Matterwhelt of Christians for Capital Punishment, a pro-McCain lobby group. “They whipped those good Christian folk up into a frenzy by manipulating Governor Palin’s words – the whole thing was designed to make her and her supporters look like a bunch of moronic thugs. It was the same with that broadcast – the militia behind it was infiltrated by liberal media types, who made that film to make those good American patriots look like a bunch of racial bigots.” Some unnamed sources in the Palin campaign have a different explanation, dismissing both the idea that their candidate is inept and ill-informed, or that they have been the victims of a complex liberal conspiracy. Instead, they’re blaming the electorate. “Look, it hasn’t nothing to do with the fact that she is incapable of expressing herself in unambiguous, straightforward terms, without reference to religious imagery,” says an individual who claims to be close to the campaign. “But this sort of thing is bound to happen when you are trying to appeal to a bunch of idiotic rednecks incapable of understanding anything in other than in literal terms. It isn’t Sarah Palin’s fault that eight years of George W Bush has so alienated educated voters that we’re being forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel and court a lower class of supporter.” Palin’s running mate, Senator John McCain, has so far been unavailable for comment on these developments, but was seen sitting in his campaign bus, head in his hands mumbling, “Oh Jesus Christ, why did I pick her? What have I done?”