“It’s really very simple,” explained CBI director-general Sir John Cringeland. “We only meant to put our left leg in to the referendum debate, shake it about a bit and take it out again. Unfortunately, an over-enthusiastic tea boy, in the grip of a sugar rush from too many Viennese Whirls, faxed an application form to the Electoral Commission asking if we could put our whole selves in.
“Well, it’s only bloody Scotland, we thought, so we decided to let it go. We’d no reason to believe that “Donald Duck” wasn’t an authorised signatory, and anyway a junior clerk had shredded the only copy of our signatory list to make bedding for his hamster. It looked as if registration would help us to comply with campaign spending rules, since we’d lined up Alistair Darling to speak at our annual fund-raising dinner, and he generally charges £20,000 just to fart the National Anthem.
“Of course, consulting our members has been a grey area ever since our last IT upgrade, during which our former preferred supplier accidentally translated our records into Japanese. But I sounded out some decent chaps at my club, and they were all in favour of registration, not to mention giving that upstart Salmond a damn good thrashing. So we thought our Scottish members, whoever they might turn out to be, would meekly fall into line.
“Imagine our surprise when some of them resigned because they wanted to stay neutral! I mean, how can you stay neutral when, each time someone is persuaded to vote Yes, a kitten dies? And who’d have thought that Scotland had so many universities? Anyway, we consulted Professor John Curtice via his coin-operated interface, and he repeatedly advised us that, despite mounting evidence, nothing had really changed. That was fine until last night, when I inadvertently turned into a dark alleyway and found myself confronted with the Prime Minister and the Director General of the BBC, both carrying baseball bats.
“As a result of that discussion, the CBI would like to retract its registration with the Electoral Commission. We will do so by invoking the “Old Boy Network Get Out Of Jail Free” scheme, which allows us to carry on as if nothing has happened and vilify anyone who objects as a frothing Cybernat. We remain committed to total bias in the referendum debate, but now intend to pursue this in an underhand fashion, in line with the values of the most successful union the galaxy has ever known.
“Mistakes have been made, but the good news is that I am not responsible for any of them. For the benefit of the House of Lords wardrobe department, my size is ‘medium’ and I look forward to making your acquaintance shortly.”
A cat-burglar with a rucksack full of Tipp-Ex was later found in a crumpled heap outside the offices of the Electoral Commission. "Bloody anti-climb paint," he was heard to moan while being wheeled away.
In response to Sir John’s statement, the Institute of Stable Door Manufacturers issued guidance stating that its products are best used when the horse is inside the stable, and less effective when it has already completed a season in pantomime and entered itself in the Cheltenham Festival.
Meanwhile, the BBC announced an exciting new venture with the CBI, which will result in all of its Scottish referendum coverage being broadcast on a jointly-owned channel aimed specifically at the gullible. This will be called CBeebies.