The government has found itself accused of hypocrisy following claims that top cabinet ministers resorted to witchcraft in order to ensure a ‘No’ vote in the recent Scottish independence referendum. According to a report in today’s Daily Norks, Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and bonkers Chief Whip Michael Gove were involved in a black mass in the grounds of Chequers on the eve of the crucial poll, during which a goat was sacrificed to Satan in the hope of engineering a favourable result. “Apparently William Hague was supposed to have taken part as well, but cried off with a cold, although our sources say that everyone knows he was just too scared to go through with it,” the tabloid’s Assistant Political Editor, Eddie Chilblain, has claimed. “But whilst they might have achieved the result they wanted – a defeat for Scottish independence – it has come at a price. There has been a huge schism in the cabinet following the black mass: our sources tell us that Iain Duncan Smith is absolutely furious! He has accused those who took part of completely undermining his attempts to demonise the poor!”

Indeed, under Duncan Smith, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently revised its approach toward the long-term unemployed and benefit claimants, accusing them of witchcraft if they fail to find employment through the government’s various ‘workfare’ schemes. “The reasoning is that if they can somehow manage to evade gainful employment in an economy as buoyant as ours is after George Osborne’s ‘economic miracle’, then they must be using the dark arts,” explained Chilblain. “It all chimes with Duncan Smith’s own Christian fundamentalist beliefs – to him people become benefit claimants because they are ungodly and evil, rather than as a result of economic factors over which they have no control. To him they are sapping the wealth of the country and setting a poor example for everyone else – tempting them into sloth and indolence. Also, accusing them of witchcraft rather than benefit fraud ensures that there is less public sympathy for them: everybody hates a witch!” An added benefit of burning the long-term unemployed at the stake has been a significant improvement in the unemployment statistics. “You can see why Duncan Smith is furious,” claimed the journalist. “Just when he was getting a handle on the whole benefits business by re-branding claimants as witches, his cabinet colleagues start dressing up in robes and dancing around bonfires to try and summon the devil!”

Political commentators have been quick to point out that this isn’t the first time that witchcraft allegations have threatened to split a cabinet. “Gordon Brown’s government was rocked to its foundations when it emerged that the newly appointed Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, had, earlier in his career, been involved in illegal black magic,” Professor Bob Mincer, Head of Politics at the Bracknell School of Ceramics, told The Sleaze, from the gutter outside a notorious Soho clip joint. “Worse still, it turned out that he had used voodoo to try and destroy the career of Gordon Brown when they were both cabinet ministers under Tony Blair.” It was been alleged that whilst a minister in Blair’s government, Mandelson engaged the services of a Brazilian witch doctor to curse his political arch-rival, then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown. Suspicions were roused at the time when Mandelson collapsed in fits of hysterical laughter when Brown reportedly began spewing up frogs during a function at Downing Street. His skin later erupted huge weeping pustules. Labour insiders have claimed that Brown’s ordeal only ended after Tony Blair himself conducted an exorcism and performed a laying on of hands. However, Mandelson was unable to capitalise on Brown’s misfortune, being forced to resign from the cabinet as a result of his involvement in certain financial irregularities.

Mandelson’s involvement in the affair was finally uncovered when the letter of thanks he had written on House of Commons headed note paper to the witch doctor fell into the hands of a journalist and was published by a tabloid. “At the time it was a potential disaster for New Labour”, confided Professor Mincer. “Not only did it risk reigniting open political warfare between Brown and Mandelson, but it made the Labour government look like a bunch of hypocrites!” Indeed, at the time the story broke, pro-witchcraft groups had been campaigning for the government – which had been taking a hard-line on witchcraft – to ease restrictions on the use of magic.. “The Blair and Brown governments’ commitment to stamping out the Black Arts constantly exposed them to the threats from witches and warlocks,” Mincer explained. “During the 2001 general election campaign, you might recall, Blair was harangued in Walsall by a self-proclaimed white witch, who claimed that new legislation was preventing her from using her powers to cure her sick husband., who couldn’t be treated by conventional means because of NHS waiting lists.”

The same general election campaign also saw Deputy Premier John Prescott being assaulted by an angry Wiccan in North Wales. When the wild-eyed, naked and woad daubed High Priest leapt out of the crowd and attempted to hit Prescott with his wand, aides were worried that the Deputy PM – who had once worked as a gypsy fortune-teller in a fairground – would retaliate by cursing the Wiccan. There was a collective sigh of relief from the Labour leadership when Prescott confined himself to hitting the marauding pagan with his crystal ball. All of which has left Mincer surprised that the present Tory-led coalition government has decided to employ an anti-witchcraft campaign as part of its welfare reform policies. “Those bloody black magic nutters are a powerful lobby group,” he observed. “They are particularly strong out in rural areas, which are traditionally the heartland of the Tory vote. Perhaps that’s why Cameron and his cronies were so keen on that black mass, to try and assuage potential supporters before the next election.” Wiccans have already condemned Duncan Smith’s policies, claiming that witchcraft was an integral and traditional part of British rural life. They also asserted that the low-level forms of witchcraft, such as healing and fortune-telling were no more harmful than hunting or battery-farming Duncan Smith has responded angrily to these claims, claiming that research conclusively proved that supposedly harmless activities such as tarot reading or water-divining were merely the precursors to hard-core magical practices such as voodoo and demonic materialisations. However, environmentalists have also attacked his witchcraft policies, claiming that recent mass DWP witch-burnings in Cumbria and Cornwall had released the same level of pollutants into the atmosphere in two days as five coal-fired power-stations would in a year.