The Scottish Government has announced today that average life expectancies north of the border have increased so dramatically over the last couple of decades that the country may now require a state pension. Up until recently few of its citizens survived beyond their thirties. But now, after a 20-year UN-led aid program, around 60% of Scotland's inhabitants can look forward to living well into their forties.
The revelations came during a press conference at Holyrood which was chaired by Alex Salmond, who at 56 is by some way the oldest living Scot; an accolade which conferred on him the title of First Minister. Little of what he said was intelligible but the general consensus was that he seemed to be happy and thanked the UN for all their hard work.
The plight of Scotland's people became international news in the late 1980s after harrowing images of life in some of Glasgow's tenement blocks reached the outside world. As Zambia's UN Development Envoy Joseph Mwanawasa recalled, "It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. These people clearly had nothing to live for so I left my work in the Congo to help in whatever way I could. Seeing little children wearing nothing but shell suits queuing for battered Big Macs brought tears to my eyes."
One of the early priorities of the aid program was to improve living standards through access to clean drinking water, and most people now have at least one tap in their tower block. Where this has proven impossible, charities have ensured families received half a litre of Irn Bru a day, though some areas have had to make do with Tizer.
As Mwanawasa recalls it was often a difficult working environment and skirmishes would frequently break out when the parcels of unprocessed food were being distributed. "This was worst in Glasgow where tribal unrest would come to a head. The two groups would arrive adorned in their ceremonial dress; one set in blue, the others in green and white. The only way we could stop them fighting was by throwing a football into the crowd. While this object transfixed both clans it is clear neither peoples had any idea what to do with it."
Life in Scotland as a whole is now improving. As well as looking to introduce pensions, a prototype health service is being trialled in some of the larger settlements. And with more people moving away from living off the land, jobs are slowly being created and some 9% of the population are now in employment. Prospects for many, though, remain grim as efforts to domesticate the young have proven futile.
The cost of these new developments is worrying some. But young Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander's written statement hoped to put people's minds at rest. "The number of people living long enough to draw on their pensions will initially be relatively small. Even so there is obviously no way we can afford this new scheme on our own which is why it will be 100% funded by the English taxpayer. Belter!"