Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt provoked outrage today as he announced that the Isle of Wight is to be abolished as part of the Coalition government’s ongoing cost-cutting drive, writes Harry Hull.
The island, situated in a bit of sea between Britain and France, serves “no useful purpose” according to the outcome of a pub-based government review lasting 20 minutes, which was announced in the House of Commons this lunchtime.
“The Isle of Wight was set-up under a previous government and it is only right to reconsider its purpose and usefulness in light of the current financial situation,” said Hunt.
“The UK’s off-shore islands were established many years ago and the demands we set them have changed. It is the right time to look at the size, scope and efficiency of maintaining the Isle of Wight in an open and transparent way.”
The move is likely to alienate a couple of tediously argumentative Liberal Democrats, whose manifesto mentioned something about maintaining the Isle of Wight until at least 2015.
Nick Clegg could press for a compromise involving the retention of the Isle of Wight under the operation and management of an outsourced private maintenance contractor.
A spokesman for outsourcing specialist Tribal Group welcomed the idea. “The Isle of Wight represents a good strategic fit within our strategic operational, change management and systems reviews portfolio,” he said in a statement that made little to no sense.
The Isle of Wight, famous for multi-coloured sand and a foreboding sense of isolation, was established in 1962. It enjoyed a brief surge in popularity during the 1970s when someone came up with the outlandish gimmick of taking tourists there via hovercraft.
The government’s plan has been met with disdain by islanders.
Jeremy Thompspoon, a local publican in the capital village of Newport, said the government should instead abolish “Hull or Birmingham or somewhere like that”.
So far, the government has already abolished Shredded Wheat, Hinduism and the concept of empathy as part of its wide-ranging cost-cutting measures.