February 16, 2011
Once upon a time at a famous school in La-La Land, Cammy Cam and Boris Bunter were sitting under an oak tree plaiting yellow ribbons and scoffing buns.
“Penny for your thoughts, fatty,” said Cam.
“Jolly good buns,” said Boris.
“No, I mean proper thoughts like Mao had.”
“If you must know, I was thinking about a tart.”
“Haven”t you had enough?” said Cam, shocked at his friend’s greed.
“I can never get enough!” Boris smirked, “particularly when they”re someone else’s. What’s this you”re swotting up?” he asked, picking up the book Cam had been reading.
Cam pursed his lips and tried to look intelligent.
“It’s called Utopia.“
“Is it about Japs?” asked Boris.
“No,” said Cam.
“Yaboo, swiz,” moaned Boris, “I like books about Japs.”
“Let me explain,” Cam said excitedly. “You see this tree we are sitting under?”
“Pretty hard to miss it,” mumbled Boris.
“Just think how super it would be if one could sell off all the forests in the land and give civil society groups a chance to buy them.”
“That seems a bit silly,” said Boris dismissively. “They can buy trees whenever they want.”
“Not trees that we already collectively own.”
“Who do you mean by “we”?” asked Boris.
Cam looked despairingly at his fat friend. He was so out of touch with the people’s needs.
“I mean you and me and the rest of our pals and everyone else in the country. We will all be in it together.”
From over by the river Ozzie was approaching. He looked cynical and glum.
“What’s up, Ozzie?” cried Boris. “Lost more money at the races? I suppose you backed Deripaska again? Come and listen to Cam’s new idea. What are you going to call it, by the way?”
“Something really grand and important,” said Cam. “Maybe “Jolly Good Society.””
“Will there be any gingerbread men in it?” asked Boris. “I love gingerbread men; they”re yummy!”
“No, there won”t, they”re staying in Ulster,” said Cam.
“Oh, boo-hoo,” wailed Boris.
“What about “Big Society”?” asked Ozzie. “Sounds better than “Jolly Good”?”
“Eureka!” shouted Cam. “That’s a really cool name!”
“So what’s this Big Society going to do?” asked Ozzie. “Oh look, Nobby Clarke’s appeared”can he be one of the gang?”
“I thought you were confined to your room,” said Boris.
“Used my Get Out of Jail Free,” said Nobby. “Not that you need one; you can come and go as you please these days.”
“Cam has invented a fab new game called Big Society and he is just explaining the rules,” said Boris.
Cam said that the idea was to put more power and opportunity into people’s hands.
“What people?” Ozzie sneered.
“I mean the citizens, communities, and local government.”
“A bit LibertÃ©, FraternitÃ©, and “Let them eat cake,” isn”t it?” asked Nobby.
“Pompous old windbag,” Ozzie muttered.
“Did I hear the word “cake”?” asked Boris. “Goody goody!”
Cam was on a roll.
“We will give communities the right to take over local state-run services, we will train a new generation of community organizers, we will support the creation of neighborhood groups, and we will never surrender.”
A crowd was gathering.
“We will encourage people to volunteer. We will support the creation and expansion of mutuals, cooperatives, charities, and social enterprises. We will give public-sector workers a new right to form employee-owned cooperatives, and we will abolish Regional Spatial Strategies.”
“What are they?” cried a voice.
“I don”t know, but we”ll abolish them,” said Cam.
“That’s Marxism!” someone shouted from the crowd.
“Bollocks”that’s Thatcherism!” cried another.
“All the same thing,” muttered Ozzie.
“What about the Church? Where do they stand?” called an altar boy.
“What Church?” grunted Boris.
“Good point,” said Cam.
Around them things were getting out of hand as more and more people flocked to join the mob.