Posts Tagged ‘Charles Dickens’

A Labour Christmas carol

26/12/2012, 08:00:44 AM

by Rob Marchant

It was Christmas eve, 2012, and Ebenezer Miliband lay in his bed, thinking of how his little hardware shop was faring in the middle of this perniciously cold winter. Business had been difficult, and here was a man generous to a fault. Perhaps too generous, some said. Debt was high everywhere in London that year, and no-one wanted to make promises to anyone, about anything. But Miliband, a decent and honourable man, was always good to his creditors.

He lay and fretted about his little business, and the harsh economic climate, unable to sleep. And, as he lay there, suddenly something very strange happened: it seemed like the bells on all the clocks in the house were sounding, madly, at the same time. Miliband looked around him, startled. What on earth was happening?

And then suddenly, after a few long seconds, they stopped ringing, as abruptly as they had begun, and silence reigned again. As he turned back towards his bed, who should have quietly appeared meanwhile, but the ghost of his mentor and former business partner: Jacob Brown, esq.

Brown had been a faithful friend and backer, but had had mixed success in charge as the shop’s senior partner, before his untimely demise. In his early days, he’d been affectionately known as “Prudence”, a name which people had later stopped using, for reasons which no-one could now quite remember.

Never a man for idle chit-chat, he had obviously come with a purpose and got straight to the point.

“Ebenezer,” he said, glowering a little, “d’you think it’s been a good year?”

The shock of seeing the ghost had not quite hit Miliband yet, and his words came out easily at first. He was also not quite sure what Brown was getting at. “Well, actually, not bad at all, Jacob. Sales are up, and the competition’s had a terrible year. No-one’s buying from them.”

Brown snorted derisively. “I had a honeymoon, too, you know. Much good did it do me. But I mean, do you really think you know where you’re going?”


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

The “big society” is just a big sham

05/02/2011, 10:30:25 AM

by Andy Dodd

The prime minister, as we know, is very fond of the “big society”, the notion that the government can be rolled back to allow individuals and communities to do more to help themselves and each other. How often have we been told in the past nine months that everyone, equally, is in this together? How often have we heard the lecture that through co-operation, self-sacrifice and personal responsibility, we’ll pull through this difficult economic period and emerge stronger on the other side?

But are we really all in it together?  The recent by-election in Oldham showed the clear resentment of ordinary people who not so long ago were willing to accept the arguments put forward by the government that tough economic decisions were necessary to avoid disaster. This belief was built upon promises from ministers that everyone would be asked to make their contribution to the hard times ahead. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon