Many readers will be too young to remember Christopher Robin from A. A. Milne's books ‘Winnie-the-Pooh' and ‘The House at Pooh Corner'. Christopher is a young boy and one of Winnie's best friends; the other friends are, of course, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl and Tigger. Christopher is known for his uneven socks. Listening to the radio talk shows and all the brouhaha surrounding public servants and their lack of political rights and freedom makes me wish that the country were led by Winnie and his crew. In addition to the two Pooh books, Winnie was immortalized in two books of poems. An arrangement of one of the poems, 'Buckingham Palace', was first recorded in July 1941. Petula Clark released a recording of it in 1953 to coincide with the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The words go like this:
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin went down with Alice. Alice is marrying one of the guard. "A soldier's life is terriblly hard," says Alice.
Well of course she would, wouldn't she? I mean everyone knows how hard our leaders work to keep us safe from opportunistic adventurers who might use their knowledge of the failings of the Public Service to try to change things.
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin went down with Alice. We saw a guard in a sentry-box. "One of the sergeants looks after their socks," says Alice.
You see, after every election where there is a regime change, Public Servants have to change their socks to suit the new political reality. If they don't, then they are replaced. Permanent Secretaries, who really should be renamed Impermanent Secretaries, are changed automatically to reflect the dependence of Public Service Leaders on their Political Masters.
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin went down with Alice. We looked for the King, but he never came. "Well, God take care of him, all the same," says Alice.
Well, we know all about Absentee Leaders, don't we? Some are more off-island than on, and the P.M. leads the way!
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin went down with Alice. They've great big parties inside the grounds. "I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds," says Alice.
Well, prices change with time. It appears that political seats have become a lot more expensive than £100.
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin went down with Alice. A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's. "He's much too busy a-signing things," says Alice.
Amazing, isn't it that even way back then Leaders were holed up signing agreements, sales of sea beds, mineral rights, loans and things in private without any oversight or insight. The more things change the more they remain the same.
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin went down with Alice. "Do you think the King knows all about me?" "Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea," says Alice.
Well that's the Eternal Question, isn't it? What do our Leaders really know about us, how we live, how we suffer, how we scrape by? Do they really appreciate the hardship and suffering that their austerity measures cause? Do they spare us a thought while they are off gallivanting the globe, suffering the hardships of Business Travel and deprivations of First-Class-Hotel-Living?
Then, of course, there's Tea Time itself. If our Colonial Masters taught us anything at all it is that Decorum and Protocol must be observed and upheld at all costs. When it's time for tea, it's time for tea, never mind the chaos and misery that surrounds us.
But back to the lass who would Run for Office and dared to challenge the system by questioning the rights and legality of Staff Orders that rob her of her right to Political Action quite contrary to the Constitution. Many a chat-show contributor drew parallels to the Private Sector and pointed out that the unfortunate, misguided lass would soon be shown the door if she were to go against her employer.
Well, let's look at it from another angle: Any employer who denied an employee his or her rights to political action would soon find himself in hot water. Of course, that rarely happens because those who aspire to political leadership have seldom held jobs for very long in the private sector and don't have a clue about running a business, so much the pity!