Friday 1 July 2011 by Roy Bland

Government stocks of Red Herring ‘seriously depleted’, warns report

Government stocks of red herring have reached dangerously low levels due to of overuse by ministers, according to a report from the Red Herring Quota Board.

Foreign Secretary William Hague is criticised in the report for using up shoals of red herrings throughout the conflict in Libya.

The report says, “Mr Hague’s involvement in Libya to divert attention from the economic crisis and cuts in Britain, has left the Foreign Office with hugely depleted stocks of red herrings.”

“The Foreign Secretary has used up his department’s yearly quota entirely,” the report continues. “So faced with any new potential crisis, he may have to go fishing for red herrings in other departments.”

Red Herring shortage

The report also accuses Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, of ‘recklessly trawling for red herrings’ to divert attention from government plans to slash public sector pensions.

“During the recent strikes,” the report says, “Mr Maude exploited the ‘holding the country to ransom’ variety of red herring, which is now almost extinct because of overuse by Tory politicians; as is the ‘thousands of parents will have to take a day off work’ red herring variety.”

A spokesman for the Office for Red Herring Responsibility warned that a shortage of red herrings would leave ministers seriously exposed as cuts deepen.

“Without a red herring to deploy, ministers will be forced to confront the issues, which could lead to Greek-style riots,” the spokesman said, whilst making it clear that he wasn’t deploying the now-protected Greece red herring.

A Downing Street spokesman said David Cameron had no comment to make.

“The Prime Minister has bigger fish to fry than red herrings,” he said.

“Clearly, David Cameron doesn’t know an idiom from his elbow,” said a member of the Shadow Cabinet, who also claimed that the government was rapidly running out of sprats to catch mackerels.

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