Monday, 12 October 2009

Three Men in a Boat

Gordon, David and Nick rowed upstream towards Westminster after their long summer break. They had all been feeling a little seedy back in July and had agreed that a rowing holiday was the solution to their 'bad medical conditions'. But now as they returned to the Houses of Parliament on the first day of the new political term, they reflected on the key issues of the past year.

"We need to restore trust in our politicians," sighed David, "And trust in the political system as a whole." David was refering to the expenses scandal that had broken in the early summer. A recent poll had revealed that politicians were now the group of professionals least likely to tell the truth. "We all mentioned that we had to restore faith in the political system. But I can't actually remember whether we had any concrete plans to make it happen. It's been such a long summer break."

"Oh yes, I agree," replied Gordon. "Indeed it seems like an age since that occurred. But funnily enough, I was actually thinking that we need to restore trust in our business men, our banks, our economy in general. The electorate lost trust in those things an even longer time ago." Gordon was refering to the near catastrophic meltdown of the banking system that had occured a year earlier and that was only averted by government intervention. "At the time," he went on, "We all criticised the greedy bonus culture. And when the taxpayers ended up bailing out the banks, we all said 'no more massive bonuses'. But now, many of those bailed-out banks intend to pay their employees huge bonuses again, even though they are only still in business thanks to the hard pressed taxpayer."

Nick seemed absorbed in the fish that darted around the boat. "Goldfish," he said.

"Sorry?" said the other two.

"I was thinking that people appear to have the memories of goldfish. You know, about three seconds. And isn't that what Conservatives and Labour have always traded upon when in power? That people will soon lose interest. As long as the papers don't keep banging on about it you don't need to worry. And even if they do, all you have to do is make the right noises and announce new policy initiatives. And then people will eventually lose interest again and go back to watching 'Strictly Come Dancing' or 'X-Factor'. It works every time."

"He's right you know," said David. "A week is a long time in politics."

"And a few months," responded Gordon, "Is a much longer time in political awareness."

The three men all grinned at one another. They tied up the boat at Westminster and wandered into the Houses of Parliament, patting one another on the back.