The government’s “digital service”, a branch of the cabinet office and the one that was meant to protect the government’s computer systems against cyber attack, is apparently still using analogue equipment, the Rochdale Herald has discovered.

Speaking to the Herald, an official who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “well, we got this thing a few years back, I think they called it a commuter, but it was just in a fixed spot, it didn’t go anywhere. Anyway, they gave us this thing, looked a bit like a telly on top of a video. But none of the tapes fitted it.”

When it was pointed out that it’s not designed to take tapes, the official answered, “well, that would explain it, but it’s still a damned silly idea, not making stuff that fits the tapes. I mean, there’s a thing that pops out and you can push back in again. Looks like it might fit records, but even 45s are too big to fit in it, and as for 33s, well . . .”

At this point our source broke into gales of laughter.

“Actually, it was rather fun popping out that slot, and seeing what we could use it for,” they went on. “We eventually decided it would make a pretty good cigar cutter, so we just used it for that. Put a little stand in front of the box, pop out the slot, put the cigar in position, and push the slot back in, hey presto! One cigar cut and ready to smoke.”

Well, they do say things can be put to the strangest uses. Maybe one day soon a use will be found for a government department. After all, stranger things have happened . . . surely.