Please do come in and take a seat. I think you know what I’m going to say. It’s been coming for some time now, and it gives me a heavy heart to bring bad news to one as, ah, deserving as yourself, but we’ve got to have an honest conversation about this. Man to man. Though it brings me no joy, you understand. None. I like to see a self-made chap and God knows you’ve done admirably every step of the way.
But we’ve got to face facts. Things aren’t what they were. There are just so many more people now, more stuff to want. More ways to want it. From the Cradle to the Grave is less a two-stop shop and more a bloody conga line. We’re on our knees. The entire economy being propped up on matchsticks. Or a cavernous economic illusion based entirely on our personal-credit-fuelled consumption, which you, I have to say, have been most helpful in creating. We do owe you a debt, and I mean that most sincerely. It gives old Osborne a break, that’s for sure.
But things are tenuous. We’re all looking down the barrel my friend. Now I know - I know - it’s been a long time coming, what with the Great Wars and that pesky Blitz Spirit and all that tiresome frugality. The Fifties gave you a look in, sure. The Eighties were a golden time for all of us and God knows we all miss The Lady (in certain quarters). But, on balance, you’ve had to work very hard these last few decades - far more than you should ever have had to - what with various community minded movements to quash, and Lord knows you got us out of a tight spot with Communism. You stepped in just in time and don’t think we’re not grateful. And we admit there’s been stellar work on your part of late; Boris - your master stroke if ever there was one - has done wonders for our international image. The Americans have simply eaten him up; though it’s entirely possible they think he’s just a very committed cast member of Downton. Also excellent, by the way. Really just goes to show that there’s always an appetite for cinematically reimagined, aesthetically pleasing class division.
But for every boom, there’s always a bust; and normally that’s when you make your exit old pal. It’s put us all in a rather sticky corner if we’re honest. There are those who would say that you’re rather overstaying your welcome. Getting your fingers in rather too many pies. This is AUSTERITY, old friend. And if we look at the facts, I think it's clear that someone has been working outside of their remit.
The NHS is a fucking disaster. Big Business is busy playing chubby bunnies with its Swiss bank account. The Bankers, well. Let alone the MP’s. Good grief. You’ve certainly not been subtle on that front, though, certainly, one is rather inclined to feel that all that fuss about expenses was really just a civilian misunderstanding. The climate's feeling the sharp end of stick. We’re still trying to live down the 2009 farce in Copenhagen. You’re starting to make us look quite amateurish.
And you’ve really put the squeeze on old Dave. The man’s going to have a coronary if you keep it up. He is positively puce. We all saw you there last week, driving in the screws just when he was about to Tell It Like It Really Is. The pensioners are baying for blood, thanks to you. The baby boomers are having far too much fun to even consider reigning it in (and indeed, where to begin with them?). The young are already too far gone, what with their Instagrammed aspiration and immediate gratification and financial nihilism. You've got be fair to the others and admit that it might be time to redistribute your influence. Just for a while.
The thing is, we don’t want rid of you; no, by gum. Remember - we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. We’re quite the team. We’d love it if you could just be more selective about where you land. There’s consensus that if the Good People of Britain - after Plebgate one must be more discerning with one's terminology - could just part ways with you, this whole costly business of the deficit and welfare etc etc would be sorted much more quickly.
I know what you’re thinking. Why shouldn't you get yours while the going’s good. Why shouldn't you take your time to shine? We certainly see your point of view and one hates to be churlish about these things.
But one rather wonders if it might not be time to start looking in the mirror old chap. I’m no psychologist but if I were… well. I might be asking some rather uncomfortable questions about what happened in your childhood to create this... assertive individualism. Of course these days everything's a syndrome - I don't need to tell you that, surely - but back in the day, we used to call it, and you, dare I say it, greed. However, some felt that it was an unhelpful term which stigmatised those with an above-average capacity to prioritise their own needs over others. And then the Ethics Committee launched an independent enquiry and New Labour happened and the re-brand was complete. So now here you are now, thriving I must say - you certainly are looking well - and really much more attractive without all that seven deadly sins baggage.
But I like to call a plate a plate. And my friend, greed is an addiction too. I just want to you to try and own that for a second. You simply want too much. O’er vaulting ambition, pride before a fall. And as it stands, you’re just not fit for mass consumption. You need to re-purpose, re-tool. Take a little time to reflect.
But please don’t look so bereft. There are plenty of postings available, plenty of places that could use your sterling work. I hear North Korea is in dire need of your services (not the ruling elite, clearly; I think we can all agree you rose admirably to the task there). Just, think about it. We can assure you the pay-out would be most satisfactory.
(originally published on 22.01.15)