Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has announced that Britain is to join the Axis of Evil in a bid to expand the export market. ‘The global downturn means that markets in, shall we say, more civilised states, are rapidly drying up. Our only option is to do more business with so-called rogue states – Bush’s Axis of Evil.’
While human rights groups have condemned the move, many economists are cautiously optimistic according to Martin Wulfe of the Financial Times. ‘British Businesses are already sending tentative feelers toward these pariah nations, and who can blame them?’
’Just look at Zimbabwe and its cholera epidemic – a prime target for Britain’s pharmaceutical industry.’ The chancellor is right to act now, he says. ‘It’s only a matter of time before someone puts a bullet through Mugabe. We need to get our foot in the door before the situation drastically improves.’
Engineering groups are also showing optimism for the scheme. ‘Syria and Iran: two countries with nuclear ambitions just crying out for British-manufactured goods and technical know-how.’ Says Brian Preece of the British Engineering Manufacturers Association.
But it’s North Korea that is getting businesses particularly excited. ‘Kim Jong-il’s million-strong army is a potentially massive market.’ Says Keith Barton of British arms manufacturer BAE systems. ‘With Britain in the Axis of Evil we can aggressively push for weapons contracts regardless of UN embargos or indeed any kind of moral restraint.’
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is also quick to point out the benefits of North Korean trade. ‘A hungry army needs knives and forks for example; what a huge shot in the arm for Sheffield steel. Consider also how selling Kim Il-sung commemorative plates to the adulating nation could revitalise the Potteries.’
Darling also shrugs off concern that North Korea could take advantage of Britain’s precarious economic position by flooding the country with fake currency, as they allegedly did to the US. ‘Bring it on.’ He is reported to have said. ‘We could do with that kind of ready cash right now.’
(Written 14 Jan 2009)