Billy Keane: Santa hanging on by his nails as elves make merry
THERE will be no lap dancing in the frozen north this Christmas. The North Pole is in meltdown. Elves are downsizing. Christmas dinner this year is roast pet reindeer. Most of the toy manufacturing has been outsourced to China. A succession of tough budgets has Santa hanging on to the edge of the fiscal cliff by his fingernails.
If it wasn't for the Germans there would be no reindeer to pull the sleds. Donner and Blitzen are German, and so, too, is Rudolf. It seems if Santa defaults on his loans, the reindeer will be repossessed and he will never get a reindeer ever again. That's the way it is with banks. Santa is trapped. Have you ever tried to park a tractor and trailer on a slippy rooftop?
Eejits and demagogues proliferate. "Santa should pitch the bankers to hell," they say.
"It is not possible," replies Santa. "You must not insult the polar bear's mother before you cross the ice."
Some of Santa's taxes have been very unpopular. Especially the carbon tax. For years and years, the elves peed on their little fingers in the cold weather – to keep warm.
The leader of the elves proclaimed: "It was a classic case of taking the piss.
"I'm in favour of cuts," he said patriotically, but he would not specify exactly what or who should be cut. Santa said if the elf leader was a barber, everyone would have long hair. But no one laughed.
The elves went mad over the tax on the Reindew, or the 'old unreliable' as they call it up north. Elves can't really handle their drink and are prone to violence and cirrhosis. It's called the 'elfin gene'. "It was an attack on the family," said the spokesman for the elves. And on women who drink jars of it to pass the dark northern days.
Reindew is a potent mix of fermented walrus milk and reindeer colostrum. The shandy tastes a bit like fish finger-flavoured yoghurt.
The 'tit tax' has Santa sliding down the polls faster than a fireman on bonfire night.
The papers went mad over the cuts. Pixie columnists attacked Santa, and so, too, did North Pole TV. It's not cool in cold countries to tell the truth. Not one of the commentators mentioned the national debt. Not one even knows how much Santa has to borrow every day to run the country.
Many elves have had to emigrate to Eurodisney and take up work with Snow White as baby dwarfs. Elves are hungry and the old are always cold.
The elves, who caused all the trouble to begin with, are climbing steadily in the polls.
The people of the north have memories as short as the shortest days of mid-winter when the light lasts no longer than the on-off flick of a switch.
It was the elves who caused the property bubble. It will come as a great shock to the people of Ireland, but back in the days a two-bedroom igloo was fetching around a half a million caribou hides. Most of the new igloos were built on ice flows and the ice banks gave out credit for crazy schemes to build igloos and ice hotels in Marbella.
Their slogan was 'every elf shall have more than the next'.
The elves' biggest giveaways were the Christmas stocking bonanzas of the noughties. Elves have small feet and, therefore, wear small socks.
But that led to problems. How could you fit PlayStations 1, 2 and 3 into a Christmas stocking no bigger than a foxglove?
Simple, said the cabinet. "We'll give the elves a notional shoe size of 16" – which, in elfin terms, was as big as 5-series family sleigh. Happy days. But at what cost? It was as foolish as a cod voting for a fish-finger factory.
The elves were kicked out of government when the country went bust and the Pole people had to give up their sovereignty.
Look at it this way, said Santa, "it's a free accountancy service". It being a well-known fact the elves are incapable of exercising any restraint when it comes to spending.
Santa cut out the Christmas stockings completely. As he said on Budget night: "If you have no socks you can't pull them up." One or two of Santa's most trusted advisers turned elf on him and gave out stockings behind Santa's back to their constituencies. The politicians' stockings are still bulging. The opposition are growing stronger by the day.
They will wait until poor Santa cleans up all the caribou poo and then when the thaw comes he will be as yesterday as Cabbage Patch Dolls and Ludo.
'Ho ho ho' will be heard no more. Santa will slip silently into the deathly cold, as is the way in the frozen north. And as the old man walks into the longest sleep of all, he will hear the elves' joyous singing.
Every iffy elf making merry,
Strip every tree of every berry
Eat caribou too and reindeer
Guzzle gallons of Reindew
Elves and pixies spend the
And let the last hour be the
Elfin once again,
Elfin once again
And Lapland long a province
Will be Elfin once again.