Friday, 7 January 2011


I'm coming to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me. While I go about my usual feline pursuits, I find that my mind goes into overdrive. Unfortunately, the turbo boost my mental process experiences doesn't serve to enhance my effectiveness in hunting and killing prey one bit - in fact it becomes a wretched distraction. Countless mice and birds have escaped my claws and teeth because of my preoccupations; the latest object of my uncontrolled ruminations has been democracy.

It's a word I often hear drip from the chops of the various Witangemot puppets who spout from the sacred portals of the soothsayers. The other day I asked Caedmon what he thought democracy was. His reply was that it was the rule of the people; it was devised by the ancient Greeks (has no one put the old gits out of their misery yet?). Now, I understand that the Northumbrian people carry with them a blissful illusion that they have a say in the way they are governed. They fondly think that their voice is heard - and that it carries some weight with the Witangemot government. They vote for their most favoured factions, who lavish them with eloquent promises about a better future, a classless and just society, greater freedom, more rewards for their labours and so on. And according to the plausibility of these promises - and the individuals who make them - they cast their lot to select their desired Witangemot representative.

As a moggy - who is able to explore various areas that aren't available to the common and garden human being - I have insights not available to the world at large. I gatecrash parties and meetings, purr contentedly around the legs of the assembled guests or delegates and eavesdrop their conversations. I amass the things I see and overhear, and cogitate incessantly until a conclusion drops into place with a deafening thud.

But this time no such thing has happened. I'm finding democracy to be a very strange idea, and this is why: people nurse the idea that Witangemot and other democratic institutions reflect the wishes and aspirations of the majority. The other day, I heard that in the Suffolk area of the land of the Angles, the people were invited by their local Witangemot to vote for the image they thought best identified what the county stood for. The loyal people of that area of the Anglian kingdom duly submitted their chosen icon, and after the deadline date, the votes were counted. The result was that the good people of Suffolk voted for a band of unkempt, unwashed and rebellious young musicians called the 'Cot Of Dirtiness'. Not my preferred choice, I'll have to admit - but that's what they voted for. Whatever floats your longship. The Witangemot leaders didn't like the choice however, so they agreed to adopt the image of a horse for their county emblem instead. So - what was that all about?

And that's not all. King Jose Borracho - Ruler in Chief and Supreme Allied Commander of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman, nor an empire) presented the various nations with a new treaty, the acceptance of which depended on a popular vote. The people of Ireland voted against it. Fair enough, Joe boy. You can't win 'em all. So, what happened next? King Jose Borracho - Ruler in Chief and Supreme Allied Commander of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman, nor an empire) waited until a particularly uncertain time in the Irish economy, and foisted the same vote upon them. Again. No kidding. And this time, the poor suckers voted in favour of the treaty. And now - as I write - the Irish are up to their ears in debts, poxes and innumerable calamities.

Democracy. What's it really about? Perhaps you can now understand why I don't get the picture - and why the mice are getting away...

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