THE UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, who recently stated that the UK needs to be “prepared for war”, yesterday penned the following sick note: “Dear Nato, Please excuse HMS The Prince of Wales from attending your exercise classes as he is feeling unwell. We hope that this is not a return of the malady that affected him 18 months ago off the Isle of Wight when, on his way to play with the US Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and the US Marine Corps, he succumbed to an attack of propshaftitis, the same condition, in fact, that prevented his sister, HMS Queen Elizabeth, from attending your exercises last week”.

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We can only hope that Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin will give the UK at least three months’ notice of attack, so that Mr Shapps can ensure that the UK is fully prepared.

Ken Gow