Terry Jones: Suits you, sir - but can we suggest something warmer?

The Sketch
Click to follow

Lord Hutton has finally published his long-awaited report into the Emperor's New Clothes. Speculation in the media that the Emperor has been walking around stark naked for the past few months has finally been put to rest. Lord Hutton concludes that not only has there been no duplicity whatsoever on the part of the manufacturers of the clothes, but that there has been no hint of gullibility on the part of the Emperor or any of his ministers, officers of state or indeed anyone associated with the Emperor.

Indeed Lord Hutton goes on to stress that it is perfectly obvious for all to see that the Emperor's New Clothes are of excellent workmanship, that they have been cut to fit the Emperor perfectly and that they are made of the very finest materials - including top quality satin with rare silk linings and intricate lace cuffs. The colours, he says, are remarkable

- as is obvious to anyone who looks at the clothes - and the overall effect of the garments is a credit to the Emperor.

Lord Hutton confirms manufacturers' claims that the clothes are indeed only invisible to those "who are unfit for office or else just plain stupid". Everyone else, says Lord Hutton, can see the clothes with their own eyes and can appreciate what fine clothes they are.

The Emperor has expressed his relief and his appreciation for Lord Hutton's painstaking investigation. In a public statement he challenged all those who have accused him of walking the corridors of power in the nude to come forward and apologise...

Singled out for particular criticism in the report is a small child who claimed that he could see the Emperor as naked as the day that he was born. Lord Hutton states that the child had no factual evidence for making this statement, and that the claim amounted to a "very grave" attack upon the credibility and dignity of the Emperor and, indeed, upon all his ministers of state and advisers.

The law lord goes on to condemn the child's parents, teachers and relatives for failing to make a proper investigation into the child's statement before it was made. "In any society," Lord Hutton writes, "it is vital that children do not make false accusations of fact impugning the credibility of others, especially the Emperor. Where any child is intending to make a statement that might make the Emperor or any members of his staff the subject of ridicule, the parents and teachers of that child should ensure that a system is in place whereby they can give careful consideration to the wording of the child's statement and whether it is right in all the circumstances for the child to make the statement."

In future no small children should be allowed to make unsubstantiated statements of fact detrimental to the Emperor that are not based on solid research and verified by a parliamentary sub-committee and by at least two law lords nominated by the Emperor.

Reaction to Lord Hutton's report has been divided. The Emperor's staff are said to be ecstatic, and the Emperor himself has stated that "the lie that I was walking around without any clothes on has now been proved to be the real lie". Outside the Emperor's immediate circle, however, some fear that the long-term effect of Lord Hutton's work may be to bring into disrepute the whole system of public inquiries and to reduce to a laughing stock the idea of getting an elderly law lord to turn a serious and important matter of public debate into an all-out attack on the Emperor's critics.

It may be that the Hutton report will mark a watershed in the people's belief in the way their country is run. There are those who say that it is one thing to see the Emperor himself walking about in his new clothes despite the fact that his teeth are chattering and his fingers are turning blue, but it is quite another to silence anyone who suggests that he should put on something warmer.

Perhaps we are about to enter into a new age in which no one is permitted to give voice to what they see with their own eyes for fear of bursting the bubble of deception that currently encompasses most of those who now govern us.

Comments