Gordon's green and pleasant land

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The Independent Online

Last week, in our DIY corner, we learnt how to make a complete Will Self column out of old, disused words nobody wants any more. Today, perhaps more ambitiously, we are going to learn how to convert an unwanted office block into a school playing field.

As you probably heard in Mr Gordon Brown's Budget speech, there will be a 100 per cent tax rebate on all new playing fields built in the next fortnight, and now would be a good time to take advantage of this, before Labour wins the election and gets all tough and mean again.

So let's get out there, knocking down these horrible old office blocks and planting playing fields so we can get the youth of our country to drag their obese bodies on to the sward and turn themselves into the lithe athletes of tomorrow! Any questions?

Q. Yes. Will I need planning permission to turn an unwanted office block into a playing field?

A. No. Not if it belongs to someone else. You see, the whole idea of this scheme is not to pull down your own office block, which might come in useful one day, or at least sellable, but to get rid of one of those unsightly and useless office blocks belonging to someone else and restore it to grassland.

Q. How can I identify an unwanted office block?

A. That's easy. It is one which spells out any of the following words on the outside:

CORPORATE

HEADQUARTERS

INSURANCE

COMMUNICATIONS

SOLUTIONS

LOGISTICS

FINANCE

McDONALD'S etc etc

Once you have located an unwanted office block, the next step is to remove it. There are three main methods of doing this:

1. Hiring three or four complete film crews, and persuading the occupants of the building that they have to leave the structure while a scene is shot in which the building is destroyed as part of a disaster movie. You then destroy their office building "by accident..."

2. Persuading the US to bring democracy to the region, a process in the course of which all buildings will be knocked down, including this one.

3. Burning it down the day before it is due to be listed for architectural and historical reasons, thus avoiding all conservation restrictions.

Perhaps even better than any of these is simply to put a sign on the building saying: "As a service to the community, this Post Office branch is now closed. The Royal Mail is pleased to announce that there is still a fully operational main Post Office 300 miles away, in Doncaster." You will then be able to pull down the building without difficulty.

Now comes what is perhaps the hardest bit of the operation: turning this derelict site into a playing field. As you will know, if you have ever cleared a full-scale brown-field site, there will be lots of bricks and broken glass and half-empty cups of coffee lying around. What is the best way of getting rid of all this ?

Here are my top three suggestions:

1. Get the IRA in on the job. At the moment they are desperate to do anything to be accepted. A group which is prepared to murder people in order to achieve respectability would not, I believe, turn its nose up at some ground clearance.

2. Turn the land over to the gypsies. When they have sold anything removable and cleared the place up, then get the IRA in to clear them out.

3. Have it put round that the site is a vital clue in the Da Vinci Code business. The Americans will be in like a flash for a spring clean ...

STOP PRESS. I am sorry.

I am wrong. Apparently Gordon Brown was not giving tax concessions on playing fields. I must have misheard. He was offering tax incentives to old people who are prepared to vote Labour in the next election and then die.

Coming soon. How to make your own coffin and help to bankrupt the undertakers.

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