LONDON (The Deal) -- Alas, poor London!
The City as we know it is coming to an end!
Not war nor pestilence have brought us to this terrible pass. The money changers at the temple and its crumbling masonry are the twin sources of this calamity.
Cry woe while the sun shines!
But when the weather turns, as it must, this being England, we shall do as we have always done: keep calm, huddle around a blazing brazier in the snow, warm our hands on a mug of hot tea and watch as the workmen move into the homes we have cherished for generations. Some of the money changers may head off for warmer climes, but we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that those who remain will have accepted a bonus cap in solidarity.
"We," here, is the Royal "we", the use of the first person plural pronoun that is the prerogative of her majesty. For it is Queen Elizabeth herself who is to be asked to leave her home while the workmen move in.
As her majesty's ancestor, Queen Victoria, once said: "We are not amused." And she was right.
Also poised for eviction are the 650 members of the House of Commons and the 790 or so members of the House of Lords, who sit and bicker in the Palace of Westminster as they make our laws.
Britain's great palaces are crumbling. Falling gargoyles and rotting balconies are a menace to life and limb.
Asbestos and ancient wiring, rat-infested tunnels, leaking pipework and dry-rot-riddled roof beams threaten the very fabric of the nation.