Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Wanted, dead or alive.

ONCE upon a time there lived a man known as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Whenever he came out of his castle to talk to the poor people he smiled and said nice things, but always had some of his servants with him to make sure the poor he saw were not too dirty and that they did not get too close.

He was a man who liked to have lots of money, so he charged his friends to eat with him and made sure he only ate with the richest people.

He decided the poor had too much money, so he taxed their food and their cheap holidays.

He thought poor people were bad, and rich people were good. So when rich people put up rents he let them, and told the poor people who could not afford to pay them they needed to all live together.

He left the very poorest people alone, so that he could have his portrait painted helping them later. But the everyday poor - those who were watching the pennies, waiting for pay day and being as good as possible so they did not lose their jobs - he decided were of no use to him.

So when each family was due a small copper penny on the birth of a new child, he very carefully gave it to them before taxing their pay to the tune of one small copper penny. He did this even if they were looking after children who were not their own and they had not been given the penny in the first place.

He let rich people keep their pennies.

He gave less money to the hospitals which looked after the poor people when they were ill, and he sacked police officers who helped the poor people when they had trouble. He gave less funding to the people who put out fires in the poor people's houses, and when he realised his private army was filled with people recruited from poor areas he sacked 20,000 of them.

He said it was all the fault of the person who was sheriff before him, and said there was no money left for unimportant things. So charities which helped poor people who were beaten by their partners, poor people who wanted to work but were disabled, poor people who were old and poor people who had lost their jobs and wanted help to find another one were all told they would have to do without.

When the poor people marched and said they wanted jobs so they could earn and pay more taxes for him, he said they were being silly.

He was mean to all the maidens, and when they were angry he told them they were frustrated and to calm down and while there were always a couple sitting behind him in public he didn't promote too many.

When the poor people were bad and disrupted his holiday he locked them up for a very, very long time. When his friends were bad he said they shouldn't have to resign and were a credit to the government and a long life of public service spent helping the poor people.

His money-collectors were heard at the castle gate calling the peasants names, seen careering through Sherwood Forest in a gold-covered coach laughing loudly while watching a comedy DVD, shooting badgers, and being called incompetent by the very nasty Sheriff of Chingford.

He did not order a public inquiry into allegations lots of rich people had been sexually abusing poor children for decades, and when all his cost-cutting of public services meant he'd have to take a smaller pension himself his toadies suggested he be paid more to make up for it.

Meanwhile the bishops who said they were men of faith and believed in peace and forgiveness and that bum sex was bad unless they were doing it made money from men who sold guns to kill people all over the world.

The one person lots of poor people thought might help them and rob from the rich to make their lives a little easier turned out, once inside the castle, to change his mind.

Then a wandering minstrel arrived in Nottingham, and was appalled at what he saw.

He said: "It's Sheriff-of-Nottingham times: 'What do the working classes eat? Pasties. Let's tax those. Where do they go on their holidays? In static caravans. We'll tax them.' I didn't notice a tax on polo mallets. I loathe Cameron; I loathe Osborne. We didn't vote them in and yet here they are deciding for us. I'd like to see their heads on spikes on Tower Bridge. Seriously. I'd sleep well."

He said: "The Catholic Church has no right to wag the finger at gay people. How can we respect a church that has encouraged paedophiles by moving them from one parish to another, free to carry on again?"

He said all the things the poor people had thought for several years, but because he was just a minstrel the sheriff laughed at him from a high window in his castle and it didn't matter a damn.

And what happened to the sheriff in the end? Well, a good man dressed all in green who had lost his home and wealth and knew what it was to be poor came along and helped the peasants to rise up. The sheriff put up WANTED posters, unaware that Robin was precisely what everyone did want.

The only problem is, he's not here yet.

 And wouldn't we be merry if he were?


Anonymous said...

(It's a little bit unfair to make that jab at the CofE when it's clear they have no involvement in what happens at the Conference Centre. I'm sure that even the National Secular Society could book an event there if they wanted to.)

Great piece, as ever. Love the "Wanted" gag at the end.

Brouhaha said...

I struggle a lot with personal attacks in politics, on politicians. This one included. Especially when the accusations levelled are petty, factually inaccurate and counter-productive (e.g. Osborne in First. What sensible, level headed person would begrudge the Chancellor of the Exchequer, arguably the second most influential person in the country, with enormous responsibility of what is the 8th biggest economy in the world, a seat in the non-crowded first class carriage to get on with work? And I mean a Chancellor of ANY political colour.
I guess I should be grateful that at least at the end of your story the man dressed in green didn't turn out to be Ed Miliband.

Foxy said...

Did you read it? He wasn't working, he was watching a comedy DVD and other passengers reported him laughing loudly. They heard him at the other end of the carriage.

Sir Gideon of Osborne.

Anonymous said...

I bagsy maid Marion. :)

Matt Beat said...

Nobody minds where he sits, (on top would be my preference), but how he went about upgrading was what pissed most people off.

SteppieC said...

Easy target for you. Cameron's doing one of the toughest jobs in the country and, whilst certainly not perfect, doing it so much better than Brown (remember how horrible those days were) and, unlike Blair, starting to make some radical changes that should see the country in much better shape for years to come. And, the choice is............ Miliband? Sad reflection on 'New Labour' that they can't do better than him or Balls.

Brouhaha said...

Given the continual "catch them out taking a pee in a toilet" kind of journalism against politicians especially this one I guess watching a comedy dvd at 'our' expense is indeed a massive crime when looking at it with tunnel vision rather than the bigger picture.
I do not begrudge any MP's, whatever their party, their down time or their working time in First Class. They do a difficult job in a predatory and often vicious journalistic environment for a fraction of the salary of the equivalent roles in business or even in other aspects of the public sector. If sitting in First watching comedy travelling between engagements allows him to be fresh to make decisions then so be it. I would say this even if Balls became Chancellor (shuddering at the thought).
Despite not always agreeing with it I do love your blog though Foxy.

LCF said...

Hear, hear.

Foxy said...

Thanks, Gideon.

Violent said...

"And what happened to the sheriff in the end?"

Life of absolute luxury earning millions talking about things he'll never truly experience or understand, to people giving £1 to charity for every £100 they dodge in taxes.

It's an interesting read, but it's impossible to imply some sense of impending justice in a world where justice is not only blind, she's also an elitist, with an army of back-slappers who'll defend the sensibilities of the man plundering their pockets so long as it means they've 'won'.

Brouhaha said...

Ha ha. Just for that I own up to not being Sir Gideon. Though I always fancied the Richard Armitage version of Sir Guy.

Gareth Milner said...

It's a shame that whilst its very wrong what some politicians get up to, many of us plebs below can often be just as if not more morally reprehensible that the politicians. I should phone pot and ask him for a dulux colour check on kettle.

Catherine said...

Nobody begrudges him sitting in first class, they just expect to him to pay for it like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Wow Foxy, a lot of disagreement here. Have you hit a nerve? Shouldn't those respondents be working?

CrawdaddyClub Richmond said...

I also have no issue with Osborne travelling in First Class, however it's the hypocrisy of banning it for other officials, not paying the correct fare and blaming it all on the plebs filling up the standard carriages. Well done your writing and various random musings!!

alanp1 said...

Love it Foxy...a fairytale about a bunch of cartoon characters...

Anonymous said...

UK National Debt in 2010: 8 billion and in 2013: 1.1 trillion. What does Gideon have to say about this small detail then? Other than blaming everyone else? Even the Inland Revenue campaign at the moment makes us think of the sherriff of Nottingham. Robin Hood where are you, please come and save us from total destruction.

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