As British swine flu casualties mount, Prime Minister Gordon Brown stands accused of engineering the whole crisis for political gain. “The evil bastard has got whole teams of mad scientists in secret government labs working on producing ever more virulent strains of this flu,” Edgar Chubby, political correspondent of popular UK tabloid The Shite, claimed in a recent article. “Why else do you think the number of cases, and now deaths, have been accelerating in Britain over the past few weeks? They’re on the verge of producing a virus which will cause a mass epidemic with a high fatality rate – and all because that power-mad lunatic wants to cling to power!” According to the newspaper, Brown is seeking to create a national crisis, from which he can emerge as the country’s saviour, thereby boosting his flagging opinion poll standings. “Hand-in-hand with the new virus, those crazy scientists are also producing and stockpiling a vaccine,” Chubby claims. “Once people are dropping like flies, with bodies piling up in the streets and the economy paralysed, Brown will announce that the government has miraculously secured supplies of this wonder drug! In fact, knowing the size of his ego, he’ll probably claim that he came up with it himself in his garden shed, using only an old chemistry set!” Extraordinarily, the newspaper asserts that the swine flu plot only came about after Brown’s attempts to start a war failed. “He was hoping to emulate Thatcher and the way her career was saved by a quick victory in the Falklands,” Chubby’s article claimed. “Obviously, he’s already got the war in Afghanistan going, but that’s really an American thing. Besides, nobody understands what it is about, it’s dragged on too long and it’s deeply unpopular.” Brown had allegedly instructed the Foreign Office and Secret Intelligence Service to identify potential foes for a swift and popular war. “The plan was to find some tin pot dictatorship that could be provoked into an act of aggression against Britain,” the article explained. “Ideally, the target country’s armed forces would consist of a bunch of conscripts suffering from malnutrition and armed only with sharpened sticks. Brown also specified that it shouldn’t be too far away, to save on travelling costs for our armed forces.” Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of British diplomats, the Faroe Islands couldn’t be provoked into war. “It’s another sign of this country’s decline under New Labour that war with Britain just isn’t seen as an attractive proposition any more,” opined the newspaper in an editorial. “Small nations would rather pick a fight with the US – it pays much better in terms of the post-war aid they can count on getting.”

In one last desperate throw of the dice, Brown allegedly even considered getting Foreign Secretary David Milliband to drop his trousers at the UN General Assembly and moon, in the desperate hope that someone would be offended enough to declare war. “But it was decided at a cabinet meeting that Milliband’s backside was just too pert to offend anyone,” Chubby claims. “So, they went with the swine flu, instead.” Although Chubby’s article has been dismissed as political scaremongering by the majority of commentators, most do agree that if Brown is to win the next election then he will need a major crisis to revive his fortunes. “Whilst wars are usually the best bet, they can easily backfire, like Iraq did for Bush and Blair. There’s no doubt that an epidemic does provide a prime opportunity to show strong leadership,” notes Professor Sid Felchwell, of the London School of Home Economics. “But there’s always the danger of the virus mutating and the whole thing spiralling out of control. Personally, I would have thought that some kind of terror outrage would have been better – they’re usually quite localised and easy to contain.” According to Chubby, Brown had considered doing a deal with a terrorist organisation to stage a series of terror attacks in several major British cities. “I have it on good authority that negotiations with a major Middle Eastern terror group reached an advanced stage,” says the journalist. “Part of the deal was that in return for an opportunity to strike, unopposed, at the infidel, they would give sufficient warning of each attack, so that there would be no casualties. The last couple of attacks would be ‘foiled’ by the authorities and a group of low-level activists belonging to a rival terror organisation would be arrested and convicted of the atrocities.” However, Brown’s plans were once again foiled, this time by his arch-rival, Conservative party leader David Cameron. “The negotiations foundered when it emerged that Cameron had already done a deal with another terror group to give them an exclusive contract for terror attacks on the British mainland following a Conservative election victory,” Chubby reveals. “Brown quickly found that no other terrorists were sufficiently confident of him retaining power to do a deal which could be rendered worthless within months! It was a masterstroke on Cameron’s part!”

The newspaperman claims that Brown was reluctant to give up on the terrorism idea, despite the loss of his potential partners. “I’ve seen confidential papers where he proposed that he and his fellow cabinet members should put on black ski masks and hijack an airliner, or something, themselves,” Chubby alleges. “Not only would it have been cheaper than hiring professional terrorists, but the government would have been able to retain complete control over the whole operation.” Not surprisingly, The Shite’s allegations have been dismissed by the government as “utter nonsense”. Indeed, some senior Labour party figures suspect the whole story to have been fabricated by the opposition, for party political purposes. They believe that they can detect the hand of Conservative Central Office’s new Deputy Director of Communications, Dave Fanny, a former editor of the Tits on Sunday tabloid, behind the bizarre tale. “This has all the hallmarks of one of his so-called ‘exclusives’ from his Fleet street days,” opines the party’s Assistant General Secretary, Frank Crutchless. “Who could forget such classics as his claims that Mohammed al Fayed was the illegitimate offspring of the Queen Mother and Omar Sharif, and was therefore entitled to British citizenship? Or that the real reason for the invasion of Afghanistan was to destroy their heroin production in order to force up the price of the British government’s own stocks, the sale of which was financing Blair’s spending plans?” Fanny was eventually forced to resign as editor of the Tits on Sunday after running a story alleging that Prince Andrew had had a homosexual affair with a sailor during the Falklands war. Jim ‘Big Boy’ Skaggs, the self-styled ‘Very Able Seaman’, who claimed to have shared a hammock with His Highness, was exposed as an unemployed carpet fitter from Chepstow, whose only seafaring experience was a two-week stint serving behind the bar on an Isle of Wight ferry.