Government in tough crackdown on binge-raining
Former nanny Gertrude Mullet, hand-picked to head up the task force, told DeadBrain yesterday, "Rain's just like everything else. In moderation, it's all well and good. Most people think a little doesn't do anybody any harm, and over the years it's gained quite wide social acceptance in this country. But we've all seen the consequences when it is irresponsibly taken to excess in our towns and cities."
A month-long £5bn scientific study in Tewkesbury highlights the unregulated availability of cheap brands of rain as a key causative factor in virtually all of the UK's floods this summer. "The main lesson here is that rain needs to be made more expensive," Mullet believes. The Murdoch press is set to fall dutifully into line with a series of articles pressing for more tax on the product and an end to "happy hours" of reckless levels of consumption.
A hard-hitting public awareness campaign will highlight the dangers of so-called binge-raining. As a first step, an official health warning, "Rain Kills", will be compulsorily displayed on all umbrellas, raincoats, Wellington boots, and the covers at Wimbledon. The stark message will be reinforced by notices in all public spaces forbidding (in addition to smoking, drinking, protesting, blogging, laughing and approximately 20 other offences at the time of writing), "excess precipitation between the hours of 9pm and 6am within a 5km radius of a flood plain, blocked drain or incompetent local authority".
In support, Ofcom has branded "utterly irresponsible" the total absence of any form of restriction on televised images of precipitation in all its forms to younger viewers. Spokesman Douglas Ramsbottom explained, "We want to see strict rules on all images of this kind of material – research by our focus groups suggests a safe upper limit of a rate of 5mm per hour – before the 9 o'clock water...er...oh dear."
In the flood-hit South-East, Thames Valley Police has moved swiftly to drive the message home. In line with its customary crime-fighting policy, an additional 4 million rain cameras will be installed as a deterrent, and from this autumn all its police vehicles will carry the slogan, "Working to reduce the perception of rain".
An anonymous telephone snitchline is to be set up to allow the public to report any infringement of the new regulations. However, as the number has yet to be announced, the public have been urged not to call Crimestoppers or indeed the anti-terror hotline instead, as they are unable to cope with thousands of people phoning up just to say they think it might rain.
Analysts at DeadBrain admit to being slightly confused as to whom all the fines, taxes and other regulatory opprobrium should be directed – meteorological and theological opinion having failed to reach consensus. However Thames Water appears to be the most likely candidate in view of last year's campaign, perhaps a little too enthusiastically endorsed: "Help us to beat the drought".
In related news, Tony and Cherie Blair, en route to sunnier climes, were overheard commenting, "Après nous le deluge."