All hail Tel the beneficent, the magnanimous, the compassionate! From my Whitehall chambers I bow down in the general direction of Cheshunt, thus serendipitously also pointing my arse towards France. For hath not Mother Telesa of Throatcutta declared he is about to cut retail food prices by 20%, slaying the dragon of inflation and paving the way for more rate cuts from the epicentre of ineffectuality that is the Bank of England?

Do I hear a collective gasp of incredulity? But beloved and cynical readers, surely this is the only possible interpretation of the news that the Death Star is trying to ratchet a further 15% “contribution” from its bedraggled suppliers? That’s contribution spelt E-X-T-O-R-T-I-O-N.

I say only this: 15% combined with the further 5% that the ever-philanthropic Tesco is bound to find out of its own margin will help cut retail prices by a fifth! At least! I can see the press release.

“We know our customers are haemorrhaging money in these tricky times,” Lord Telstar said. “In fact I regularly have to step over piles of unwashed hoi polloi on my way out to the Lexus. And this gave me a brainwave. Why not use the global financial famine to shaft the suppliers a bit more?”

Well as it happens, HM Treasury is also feeling the pinch. So, inspired by Tesco’s flash of financial genius, I’ve popped a note over to Darling Alistair, suggesting he asks for a 15% “contribution” in the form of increased corporation tax from the supermarkets. I dare say Tesco isn’t the only one using these straitened times to its advantage. I notice that the Co-op has sneakily completed its acquisition of Somerfield while everyone who matters is gainfully employed devising ever more painful ways of putting City bankers to death.

I guess there are some who will always come up smelling of roses. Although by the look of the news from M&S, this doesn’t include our dear English Rose himself.