. A Conservative Christmas Carol | London Progressive Journal
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A Conservative Christmas Carol

Fri 16th Dec 2011

As the clock strikes midnight at number ten Downing Street, Prime Minister Scrooge stares out of the Georgian windows of his lavish residence, holding onto an expensive glass of aged single malt whiskey, in one hand, and a thank-you letter from his financial friends in the other. Yes, it has been a profitable year- yet more of the assets of the poorest have been transferred into the hands of the super-rich. Scrooge is about to retire to bed, a contented Tory, having sent away all those ‘do-gooder’ liberals and lefties who came knocking at No 10, full of Christmas cheer, with collection tins to raise money for an underfunded state education system, the NHS, the public sector, and all those other impractical institutions that require funds, yet never seem to return a profit.

Scrooge lays is bed, admiring a centre-fold of Maggie Thatcher. As he drifts of to a nice dream about a new Britain in which the entire public sector has gone to auction in a massive ‘fire-sale’, and where there is no such thing as disability allowance or pensions; and where all the proles have to work till they drop or else they starve.

Just as he is starting to enjoy himself, drifting off to his dream-fantasy, he hears a creaking noise coming from the foot of the stairs. ‘Has Boris Johnson managed to lock himself in the coat closet again?’ he wonders. ‘No, it can’t be Clegg either’, he realises, ‘I sent him home hours ago after he’d fulfilled his main important duty of bringing me my slippers’.

But then the noise draws closer and a figure appears in the doorway; stony-faced and imposing. The Yorkshire accent unmistakable, it introduces itself as the ‘Ghost of Struggles Past’, also known as Arthur Scargill. He takes Scrooge on a trip down memory lane, back to coal fields of the wild North, a land once populated by unionised workers, where only a brave Tory minister, or one that took the wrong turning on the way home from his local Conservative Association meeting, would ever set foot. Scargill takes Scrooge back to 1984 to show him the Miners’ Strike, suppressed by thousands of extra police drafted in by Thatcher, and the consequences of the pit closures which destroyed many livelihoods and weakened the bonds of community spirit in many towns across the North of England. Scrooge is also shown glimpses of Britain’s once great manufacturing industry, with its relatively well paid unionised jobs. What a far cry that is from the now impoverished towns containing mass unemployment, low paid lobs, and high rates of alcohol, drug abuse and depression.

Scrooge wakes up in a cold sweat, believing it was all a dream. If the figure of Arthur Scargill appearing over him were not enough to scare him witless, he now sees another figure clad in thick jacket and scarf holding up a placard announcing ‘We are the 99%’. The ‘Ghost of Occupations Present’ takes Scrooge on a tour of the OccupyLSX camp to show him how people from all walks of life have come together to demand the creation of a new society. They lead by example: without a leadership hierarchy they have created a well organised mini-city, containing a library, kitchen and education tent, where ideas can be shared and where freed-minds can come together, having been unbound from the yoke of traditionalist thinking. Everything is organised so that none are cold or go hungry. Each individual is themselves both a leader and a follower. Scrooge is asked to contrast this ‘Big Society’ with the ‘organised chaos’ of the financial sector.

Following a pummelling by the ‘Ghost of Struggles Past’, and a lesson in the concept of society from the ‘Ghost of Occupations Present’, Scrooge comes too yet again. This time he meets the ‘Ghost of Future Tyranny’. Decked out in black kevlar, wearing a ski mask and holding a semi-automatic weapon, the ‘Ghost of Future Tyranny’ shows Scrooge what Britain could dissolve into over the course of the next few decades, should the gap between rich and poor continue to grow alongside a clampdown on peaceful protest. Where once Oxford Street stood, there are now burnt out buildings, in the parts of London still habitable and not consumed by the flames of riots that erupted when food ran out, a curfew exists from dawn to dusk. Trade unionists risk their lives organising workers to demand liveable wages and safe working conditions, doing so under the constant threat of assassination. A tiny minority of super wealthy live behind high walled mansions, their properties patrolled by private security guards, picked from amongst soldiers returning from conflicts overseas. Conflicts that many now believe have become a necessity, as global resources become increasingly scarce.

In the novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens, Scrooge relents, makes amends with those he has deprived, and becomes a more kind-hearted human being. Let’s hope the story of A Conservative Christmas carol has an equally happy ending..
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