Christo­pher Robin

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

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!

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