TheCritique Archives

by Martin Odoni

Please note: If you haven’t heard the original version of this very, very famous old joke before, it has been popular in Russia for decades, and there are many variants of it. You can witness an animated version of it on YouTube, and a pre-Mikhail-Gorbachev version is available to read here. This is an adaptation to reflect the ideological stupidities of the various Tory leaders of the last forty years.


Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, William Hague, Iain Duncan-Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron are all travelling together in a railway carriage through the open countryside. Unexpectedly, the engine shudders and splutters, and the train grinds to a stop. They look at each other in consternation, and immediately start trying to work out how to get the train moving again.

Cameron suggests: “Let’s cajole the directors of the train company with a tax cut…

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