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Monday, 1 June 2009

Welcome to the Mother Of Parliaments

As the date draws ever nearer for the landing of the Canadian fleet, it appears that it may all be in vain. As readers may be aware, half the population of Canada - approximately six people - have fled the True North strong and free, in a rag-tag and bob-tail Armada, escaping the tyranny of the alien Harpons. As a population, they are a hardy folk, habituated to scraping a meagre existence from the landscape - in the case of the Nova Scotia population they gather shellfish on the Atlantic shores, making crude shelters from driftwood called 'timhortons', while the Ontarians fleece tourists at Niagara Falls (the World's biggest disappointment) with $16.00 beefburgers. The invasion of the merciless Harpons has devastated the population of Canada - reports say that total numbers have fallen from 45 to "about 12" and now the remnants are, guided by their legends of "the green place", risking everything, especially their luggage, by loading their few remaining precious belongings into their tradition vessels, apparently called 'aircanadas' and with the ritual cry of "Your luggage has been sent to Newfoundland" , have set out for the promised land of freedom, decency and democracy. In other words, they're coming here.


I dont really know how to put this, but I have to point out that there are other places whose names begin with 'U' (for United Kingdom), where democracy could be said to shine with equal brightness - like Uzbekistan for example. It could be that over time, the name of the 'green place' was forgotten, and all that was definitely known by Canadians was that it began with 'U'. So when the decision was made to find 'the green place' , they consulted their one remaining Atlas (that was found in a sinking diesel submarine in Halifax harbour), and discovered inside the Atlas a badly photocopied page showing a map of this country (with Scotland and Wales crossed out rather rudely) with the simple word " home" scrawled in biro.

Anyway, it is too late now, the 'aircanadas' have doubless set sail for Blighty, with the luggage heading for Iqaluit in a seperate vessel, and I have made all the amendments to our property necessary for the Canadians to settle in, for example, instead of the traditional English barbeque, which as we all know consists of a small aluminum tray with some unlightable coal in the bottom, I have bought a small nuclear power plant to serve as an analogue for a real North American barbeque. They will hardly notice the difference. I also considered renting, from a nearby circus, two small bears that could lurk round the back yard, thus making eating outdoors hazardous, but decided against this on grounds of health and safety. There was no way I could guarantee the bears safety against the local six-year olds. Finally, I have installed cabinets on every available wallspace thus reducing the floor space of our house so that it is a series of narrow corridors, bought every power tool that the local hardware store can sell me, dug a huge basement installing a crappy bar in the corner and a never played pool table in the middle, put engines or motors on everything I possess, and have installed 14 bathroom suites - one in every room and the rest scattered throughout the hallways. While I am aware that my own Canadians do not have all these accoutrements in their own homes, I am aware that they expect to see all this when they visit other people's houses, so hopefully they will feel at home.

My sincere hope is that these preparations will ameliorate the disappointment they experience when they realize that, in looking for the shining light of democracy, they could have picked almost anywhere else that began with a 'U' and found a similar luminence, the only difference being that in the United Kingdom, or Great Britain, those responsible for our democracy now all refer to eachother by their first names "Tony" or "Gordon" or "David", in a middle-brow, middle-management styled show of unity with us, the subjects. In other countries with comparable levels of democracy whose names also start with a "U", the United Arab Emirates for example, terms of address are more formal. So instead of "Tony", "Gordon", "David", there is Sheikh or Excellency. Like us though, the UAE has a hereditery constitutional monarchy, and a Parliament mostly made up of relatives, or close associates, of the country's Royal family. I am unsure of the statistics in the UAE, but here in the UK, we bask in the knowledge that over 60% of our Parliament consists of people who attended 'Public' (remember this term 'Public', in the UK at least, actually means "very private" and is used when describing Eton, Rugby etc etc) schools. This is a comforting statistic, as it means that those who know how to rule - the 1.5% of those clever enough to have been borne into enough wealth, and come from the "right" families - are still ruling, with the success that you would expect from those who assume they know best.

Unfortunately, however, occasionally, the applecart is upset, and in the UK at the moment, apples have been strewn all over the road. The reason is that, rather unwisely ( and this is a difference between the Uk and UAE) a relatively free press has been allowed. For the last few weeks, the self same press have been gorging themselves on the apples from a cart that they have knocked over. The 60% of the 1.5% and even the remaining 40% of the 98.5% have, it appears, been misusing a system of expenses that exists in our Parliament. MP's have claimed for duck houses, non-existent accomodations, toilets, donations to charity and all sorts of things that tthe public have disapproved of fully. The scandal has been widely reported and so it is unnecessary to go into more detail here, but my major concerns are not about the expenses claims themselves, but that discovery of this scandal was made possible largely by means of various acts of Parliament voted on by the very MP's who are now being 'outed'. Freedom of Information Acts, policies on disclosure, transparency in Government; all these allowed journalists to gain access to the information that they have now used to shame numerous MP's. "Ah-ha! " cry some " A great sign that our system works! A pox on you doubters and naysayers!". "Oh no! " cries Mazzer "I'm being ruled by people who are too stupid to realize that you dont stand on the branch of the tree you are sawing."

Much opinion has been expressed that this scandal could represent a new start for democracy, but those of you who have read "Civilization - Why?" will be aware of the opinion that there are two states, nay, two oligarchies, in the world that have historically protected themselves most effectively from change. One of these is China, and the other is the UK (5000 years and 2000 years respectively). Gordon, our Prime Minister, has, acting quickly in response to the crisis, announced the formation of a "council for democratic reform" that will, excitingly, even include "some" people from outside the political system. This CFDR will look at how to make the activities of MP's more "transparent". The true genius of the British system is that forming a Council cannot actually be described as "doing" anything, but to make sure, the Council for Democratic Reform wil also look at the Health Service and the BBC. Gordon's promise, is however irrelevant, because he will certainly be voted out at the next election. Gordon's replacement is ggoing to be David. David was eductaed at Eton.

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