In an attempt to bring parliament into the twenty-first century, one of the first acts of the new Liberal-Conservative government will be the introduction of a performance aspect into the remuneration package of a number of historic posts.
The process actually began in 2006 with the removal of the right of the poet laureate to be paid in sherry, usually because of the dreadful doggerel that tended to be the result of the rather eccentric payscale.
However the timescale for modernisation has been much accelerated under the direct wish of Clegg and Cameron. In his first speech to the Commons, Nick Clegg set out his vision of a government “uncluttered by the trappings of our failed, intolerant predecessors”.
Under new legislation the current Witchfinder General, Michael Ogilvie, who has held the post since 1976, will have to evidence 'the finding of [... ]a minimum of four witches a year, going forward'.
Relevant competencies including public speaking, empathy with minorities and ducking-stool maintenance will be incorporated into the job description. This replaces the existing requirement that the postholder ‘shalle never faulter, nay, in thee tireless pursuitte of these unconscionable retches, until he falle down deed, or that thee day of judgemente shalle be upponne hym.”
Other key performance indicators will include data on burnings and drownings analysed by geographic location, degree of brutality and level of sin. The Witchfinder General will be expected to issue good witchfinding guidance in order to encourage a grassroots witchfinder movement among our local communities, which is expected to be launched on the 31st of October. It remains to be seen whether this will replace existing Neighbourhood Watch groups.
A league table of Britain’s witchfinding performance will be published in due course, in accordance with EU statutory requirements.
Human rights campaigners are worried that increased scrutiny of the WG may in fact result in millions of men and women being falsely accused of witchery. David Cameron was quick to deny any suggestions that the move might encourage perverse behaviours, saying that these were in fact exactly what he was trying to stamp out. “Except, of course, for anything that might go on behind closed doors between an MP and his chums.”