Sunday, 19th June 2016

by Joshua Gaskell

A mysterious sign has been affixed overnight to the door of Number 10 Downing Street.

PPE Close

Rumours suggest that in the small hours a dark figure was seen leaving Number 11, the official residence of the chancellor, but the policeman on duty has refused to comment on this. The sign’s meaning has divided semioticians, with some claiming that PPE is an abbreviation of ‘personal protective equipment’, and others suggesting it is a reference to the Oxford degree course ‘Philosophy, Politics, and Economics’.

David Cameron read PPE, as did George Osborne, the ‘hard-hat chancellor’. There has been speculation online that the sign’s ambiguity is a deliberate elision of meaning intended to suggest to the British people that only Osborne has both the practical and theoretical expertise to succeed Cameron as prime minister; unlike, say, Boris Johnson (Greats) or Theresa May (Geography).

Mr Osborne is forty-five.

Hard Hat

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