Wednesday 23 March 2011

Oswine's Bellicose Budget Bunfight

'Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities' - Voltaire

Today is a lovely day here in the lovely country of Northumbria. I'm not merely saying this because of the spring sunshine, which is causing the early flowers and leaf buds to emerge; it's a wonderful day because Oswine - the Supreme Treasurer and Dogsbody-In-Chief of the Tree/Liberationist administration - and Caedmeron's right hand man - is announcing the Budget. Hooray for Ossy! Everyone is so happy!

I know this because I wandered through the town of Streonaeshalch earlier to watch the fishermen unloading their catches and sorting them on the quayside. (I often get some fresh titbits from those of them who are kindly disposed towards cats.) Everyone seemed to be very animated about the Budget. I've come to the conclusion that they're all looking forward to making a greater contribution towards the good of the community at large - and the politicians in particular. I'm also sure that they're thrilled at the prospect of increasing degrees of impoverishment as the cost of bread, suet, ale, mead, oats and firewood increases once again.

Without a doubt, Beeby See has had a valuable part to play in setting the general mood of optimism for the populace; as the country's most favoured soothsayer, she cheerfully rabbits on about the cuts in public services - and like some modern-day Jeremiah, she vividly describes the apocalyptic desolation to come. Everyone loves to hear her pronouncements, and eagerly hangs on her every halitosis-breathed word. The Tree/Liberationist administration also contributes to the general happiness of the population by declaring that there's no more money in the Kingdom, because the magic mushroom-led Redistrbutionists took great care to ensure that the Kingdom was brought to bankruptcy in their last Witangemot administration under the maniacal Guthmund The Brown. To do this they created legions of fantasy jobs for their fellow fantasists in order to promote their support and loyalty. Caedmeron is now repeatedly telling all and sundry that hard decisions have had to be taken to bring the country back to a place of solvency once more, and funds for important social and welfare projects are being slashed.

There's also a degree of excitement about the Cyrenian War initiated by Caedmeron the other day, and the soothsayers are being eagerly sought for up-to-date information and comment on what's happening. She cheerfully regales her audience with tales of bloodshed and various heroic deeds of carnage.

Everyone wants to see the khat-chewing, chandelier-swinging O'Daffy deposed from power, so that the hapless Cyrenians can enjoy the same blessings as the Anglo-Saxon Northumbrians. I assume from this that they would also like to enjoy lovely Budget Days like ours. That'll be nice for them; they can share the experience of ever-increasing taxation to fund the lavish lifestyles of their new democratic political masters. And I'm sure they would also love to have diversity coordinators, pigeon psychiatrists and tree quota accountants to further enrich their existence.

But it's all very peculiar: while there's such excitement about these current budgetary and bellicose activities, nobody has yet explained to me where the money for this Cyrenian war is coming from. Is it from the back pocket of King Jose Borracho, the power-crazed thug chieftain who - with his faithful half-witted henchman Hermit - heads up the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire)?

Something doesn't add up...

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