The Art of Backpedalling

Government Minister Rick Boils has been forced to apologise for suggesting that using unemployed people as ballast for the new HS2 project was 'inhuman'.

HS2, or High Speed 2, is the name given to a new high speed rail connection between London and somewhere grim and rainy in the north. With a planned completion date of the second Wednesday in June 2032, the scheme is a major undertaking and it had been suggested that using unemployed people as ballast on the trackbed would be one way of keeping down the costs.

Reaction to the idea has been mixed, ranging from cautious expressions of interest and enquiries about pension packages, to wholehearted enthusiasm for the opportunity of involvement in such an exciting and progressive enhancement to the country's transport infrastructure.

Unions, on the other hand, have slammed the scheme, claiming that being ground up into small lumps and strewn along a hundred miles of railway line is both an appalling waste of skilled workers and a contravention of the Working Time Directive.

Mr Boils initially appeared to support the Unions' view and was reported to have denounced the plan as 'monstrous, inhuman and morally repugnant'. It appears that he has now changed his mind.

"Using unemployed workers is an essential part of our reforms to end the something-for-nothing culture," the spineless time-server said in his most recent statement, which he was at pains to stress was not made as a result of being told to keep his fat mouth shut and stay on message by party bosses. "I am a strong supporter of the scheme in both in principle and practice. Those who can work should work. And those who can lie down in the middle of a railway track and let trains run over them should stop being so selfish and be grateful that've finally found an occupation that gets them out into the open air."

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