Any attempt to parody the profound words attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller is at best in poor taste and could be considered as sacrilegious. Anyway, here goes…
First they came for the forests, and I didn`t speak out because I wasn`t a tree.
Then they came for the badgers, and I didn`t speak out because I wasn`t a badger.
Then they came for the deer and I didn`t speak out because I wasn`t a dirty great big stag with sharp pointy antlers.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me because they were all too busy signing bloody pointless petitions, every single one of which will be completely ignored.
Don`t get me wrong; I like forests and I like badgers and I like deer. I would also like the nation of my birth which is, after all, the seventh richest economy on the planet, to support and nurture its citizens in what was once known as civilized democracy. It would seem that the notion of sharing our common wealth is deeply unpopular and the term “welfare state” is now a derogatory sound bite used to justify what can only be described as oppression. Quite how a nation that defeated fascism and then went on to provide homes, employment, health care, education and that other derogatory sound bite “social security” should now allow four million children to grow up in poverty and demonise the terminally ill and people with disabilities as an underclass of scroungers and shirkers is a cause of frightening concern. Save the Children, a most worthy charity usually tugging at our heartstrings to donate money to help starving children in far flung places that are anywhere but here, are now running TV ads asking us to donate to help feed and clothe children born and living in the United Kingdom. Our current coalition government is selling weapons to far flung dictators that are anywhere else but here and giving tax breaks to millionaires as well as supporting eye-watering bonuses to crooked bankers who caused the economic mess in the first place. This has been achieved by the dark propaganda of fear and blame.
Now, any comparison between the UK coalition government and the Third Reich is as preposterous as it is risible. The main differences being that Hitler was democratically elected and the coalition government were not and, for all its evil, the Third Reich was remarkably efficient at achieving its goals unlike the current coalition government. However, what the two have in common is an ability to ignore actual evidence and lie through their teeth to instil hatred and bigotry in order to maintain control. Fear mongering is the modus operandi that allows the lining of pockets and the tumescence of power. Having rich chums in the press and having the final say on media funding and licensing helps as does hastily cobbled legislation to quell dissent. Also notable is the efficiency of nullifying political opposition. In our current situation we see that the Labour Party, who came up with the “welfare state”, affordable social housing, the NHS, jobs, comprehensive education as a right and “social security” are now joining in with the scare tactics of unregulated immigration and shirker rhetoric. Sorry Labour, but your stance against the madness is equivalent to a hungry child in the Sudetenland shouting at a Stuka dive bomber to go away.
Pastor Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran, was an anti-communist theologian who initially supported Hitler but like so many that are easily taken in by dogma, soon realised his mistake and objected to fascism. He was incarcerated in Dachau for “not being enthusiastic enough” in his support for the Nazis. Mercifully, he survived and lived to the grand old age of 92. Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA, famous for his Monarch and the lions in Trafalgar Square passed away in 1873, some 19 years before the birth of Niemoller.
Landseer`s Monarch of the Glen is on display at the National Museum of Scotland and is on loan from the Diageo Collection. Diageo are a global alcohol manufacturer who supply Guinness, Red Strip, Johnnie Walker and Bell`s whiskey, Smirnoff vodka, Gordon`s gin, Captain Morgan rum and, my own personal favourites, Lagavulin and Bushmills. Diageo, it seems, avoids paying tax to the UK revenue and in a company restructure in 2009 closed its plants in Kilmarnock and Glasgow and relocated to a site in Leven, Fife. To do this, the owners of Landseer`s rather twee Monarch of the Glen had to cull a herd of roe deer who happened to be in the way. Employees facing compulsory redundancy and locals who like deer signed petitions. You can guess what transpired.
First they came for the poor, then they came for people with disabilities, then they came for the children. Enough with the petitions; start breaking up the paving stones.