Report Refund Sketch

The cast:

ROBIN COOK (Former Leader of the House, member of Tony Blair's New Labour government who resigned over the War on Iraq)
as himself,
JACK STRAW (UK Foreign Secretary who recently declared that a report stating that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction was "incontrovertible evidence" that Iraq had WMD)

A customer enters a book shop. A sign in the window reads CONVINCING ARGUMENTS

MR. COOK: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The owner does not respond.)

MR. COOK: 'Ello, Miss?

OWNER: What do you mean "miss"?

MR. COOK: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

OWNER: We're closin' for lunch.

MR. COOK: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this report what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

OWNER: Oh yes, the, uh, the Incontrovertible...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?

MR. COOK: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's nonexistent, that's what's wrong with it!

OWNER: No, no, it's uh,'s hidin' in the subtext.

MR. COOK: Look, matey, I know bollocks when I see it, and I'm readin' it right now.

OWNER: No no it's not nonexistent, it's, it's hidin' in a footnote! Remarkable document, the Incontrovertible, idn'it, ay? Such a wealth o' facts 'n' figures!

MR. COOK: That's the bleedin' point. There's sod all in there.

OWNER: Nononono, no, no! It's in the subtext!

MR. COOK: All right then, if it's in the subtext, I'll dig it out! (pulls out magnifying glass) 'Ello, Mister Incontrovertible Evidence! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show...

(owner tries to scribble something in the report)

OWNER: There, it's right there, it is!

MR. COOK: No, it ain't, that was you scribblin' in the margins!

OWNER: I never!!

MR. COOK: Yes, you did!

OWNER: I never, never did anything...

MR. COOK: (magnifyer in hand, paging rapidly) 'ELLO EVIDENCE!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Takes report out of the cover and flips through, showing the OWNER. Not a word on any of the pages.)

MR. COOK: Now that's what I call a tabula rasa.

OWNER: No, no.....No, it just washed off the page!


OWNER: Yeah! You rubbed it off, just you was leafin' through it there! Norwegian Blue ink fades easily, major.

MR. COOK: look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That evidence is definitely nonexistent, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of content was due to it bein' written in special MI5 disappearin' ink.

OWNER: Well, it''s, ah...probably not been properly decoded yet.

MR. COOK: Not been PROPERLY DECODED yet?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why was there nothin' but blank paper in there the moment I opened it up?

OWNER: Norwegian Blue is 'ighly sensitive to light! Remarkable craftsmanship, id'nit, squire? Nothin' better on the market!

MR. COOK: Look, I took the liberty of examining that report when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it looked like there was something in it in the first place was that some photos were PASTED ON.


OWNER: Well, o'course it was pasted on! If I hadn't pasted those photos on, the evidence'd have been covered in the sand, gone before you could say "mushroom cloud", VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

MR. COOK: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this rot wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! It's a bleedin' vacuum!

OWNER: No no! It's not decoded!

MR. COOK: Bollocks! it's not there! This evidence never was! It remains in a state of not-being! It's as empty as the vacuum of ou'er space! Bugger all! Nothin' there, not a single shred! If you hadn't pasted those photos on the pages, it'd be total white space! It's a sketchbook! A pack o' pre-bound A4 copy stock! THIS IS NON-EVIDENCE!!


OWNER: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of Incontrovertible Evidence.

MR. COOK: I see. I see, I get the picture.

OWNER: I got an Operation Iraqi Freedom commemorative t-shirt.


MR. COOK: Pray, does it come with proof of necessity of the use of force?

OWNER: Nnnnot really.


OWNER: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

MR. COOK: Well.


OWNER: (quietly) D'you.... d'you want to come back to my place?

MR. COOK: (resigned) Yeah, all right, sure.