The army has been put on standby and the government has convened a meeting of its Cobra crisis committee after the country was plunged into its biggest crisis for more than a century when the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race was interrupted by a protester and one of the teams broke an oar.
The government has consistently denied it is indifferent to the suffering of the people hardest hit by the current crisis and a spokesperson for the Prime Minister sought to counter criticisms that the coalition is only interested in helping a tiny elite, by announcing immediate help for the worst affected people in the country, such as the Cambridge bowman and the Oxford team’s cox:
We acknowledge the worries many people are having about how they and their families will be able to survive the current boating crisis. That’s why we are providing immediate financial support and vital assistance to those most in need, including subsidies to both Oxford and Cambridge rowing clubs for new oars, as well as taxpayer funded grants for other elite educational institutions.
A spokesperson for Oxford University Boat Club welcomed the statement from the government and said the extra financial support would be most helpful, especially to the rowing teams’ most vulnerable members:
Our cox may be small, especially in comparison to the rest of us, but you’d be surprised how much champagne he can put away at the best of times. You can imagine how much we have to fork out for top-notch champers and in an unprecedented national emergency like this it’d be costing us a fortune, that’s why it’s essential we get as much taxpayers money as possible so we can continue to provide the vital national service of paddling down a river once a year in a race hardly anyone bothers to watch.
Mr Cameron’s spokesperson also denied the current boating difficulties facing the nation were of the government’s own making and blamed the previous Labour administration for the rowing crisis:
It’s all Gordon Brown’s fault. During 13 years in power, Labour singularly failed to introduce regulation which would prevent people from going for a swim during the time of the Boat Race. This was pure and simple incompetence on the part of the Blair and Brown administrations and as a result the country is now facing an unprecedented crisis in its vitally important boat racing sector. That’s why this government will, as a priority, introduce legislation to prevent anyone without an Oxbridge degree from using oars or entering any stretch of water without a permit.
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