Still in the grip of recession, the British Government is to open debate on the sticky subject of foreign aid. Over £10bn a year is spent overseas, mostly in France, Spain and the delightful coastal regions of Portugal.
"We have identified a number of areas where aid could be reduced", explained Barnes Mitchell, Minister for overseas development. "We are urging the British public to be rather more economical with their help when travelling abroad, particularly when they're on holiday".
As a first measure, the Minister is urging an end to the practice of speaking slowly and loudly to foreigners: "It's rather degrading, the French in particular take this sort of charity for granted". Travellers are instead advised to just speak normally, or tut loudly at anyone willfully avoiding the english language. "If they can't speak English, then perhaps they should have thought about that before opening a bicycle hire business on the island of Mykonos" said Wallace, speaking from experience.
British subjects are urged to cease queuing with immediate effect: "our sense of fair play and straight lines is putting us on the back foot, in many ways. I literally have over four examples of Britons missing out on activities, from rides at Eurodisney to the last deck chair on a beach in Spain. From now on, we must all push together, and use our elbows if needs be".
Other cut-backs are to be made in the area of Trying Different Things. "Refuse any 'foreign muck' in restaurants or bars, it's just not worth risking it", the minister frothed. "We know for certain that they eat normal food like beans and sausages when we're not looking: demand some of that. At a pinch, you can eat 'slightly foreign' food such as pizza or lasagne, but seafood should always be pointed at with disgust. And talk about it as if the waiter's not stood there right in front of you, that should get the message across".
The DTI has published a range of pamphlets to help travellers, including 'Steadfast driving on the left', 'Refusing to Tip' and 'Toilets With Proper Seats: Your Rights'. A fold-out map, with the correct pronunciation of all the major towns and cities in Europe, is expected to be particularly popular: "You can point at their town, and tell them how to say it", said Wallace.
However, when questioned about the economic benefits of the proposals, the Minister was very defensive: "This policy is intended to fortify our international reputation. Who said anything about saving money?"