Pumping the organ
Frankly, I get worried when we put economic recovery in the hands of intellectuals. “Food-van” Sandra, yes; economists, scary. Intellectuals just don’t deal with reality.
For example, in the early 1970s intellectuals decided to force the metric system down our throats. Nearly 50 years later, they haven’t yet realised it hasn’t worked. We want both systems. And for good reason: nine inches will impress a girl; 228.6 mm won’t.
When I left Miss Phillips’ school at age nine, I could handle yards, feet and inches or decimals. My children only learnt metric. One daughter, while buying curtain material for two windows, nearly got enough for Buckingham Palace, Ilaro Court and the old Empire theatre. Most of today’s young homeowners are at the mercy of carpenters who talk 2 x 4s and 3 x 8s.
Every Friday afternoon, and on feast days, we Miss Phil pupils attached ourselves to a long rope and snaked from Strathclyde to St Leonard’s Church. Most of us joined the choir in singing lustily but two of the stronger boys were detailed to pump the organ. I never did, but brother Bill got to do it and developed a liking for that pastime which he continued through life.
Since “Wonder Woman” Mia’s accession, everyone has been impressed with her energy, drive and purpose. This is “take charge” at its best. Many, like Mavis Beckles recently, obviously sing in her choir and are nothing but praise. I can’t sing but would rather be an organ-pumper, boosting the woman when I agree, offering alternatives when I don’t.
Mia has opened the floor for suggestions, even promising referenda on key issues. We all have our own perspectives and should voice them. I was therefore very disappointed to see a Saturday Sun Editorial (September 1, 2018) recommending that, since we have a Government “backed by 29 of the 30-member House of Assembly”, she should go ahead and abolish capital punishment. This would be a total betrayal of all the democratic participation she promised and, in my opinion, most foolish given the escalation of uncontrollable murders.
Here is another glaring contradiction in the “we are all in this together” scenario. It was heartwarming to read of taxi drivers and ZR men, farmers and fishermen (whose vehicles never use the road), chipping in willingly to pay the brutal new fuel tax. We are all ready to sacrifice to bring the country we love back up to par.
But reality hit on September 5: a full-page ad inviting “tenders for the supply of catering services for Parliament”: quotations required “for 100 persons for meetings of the House of Assembly; 70 persons for meetings of the Senate” – lunch, tea, snacks and dinner. Mucho money, given past figures.
Two-course lunch, three-course dinner – soup, choices of main course, dessert. Snacks available at all times. Tea – hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, pastries and so on.
Tell me it ain’t so, Mia. There are 30 parliamentarians; 21 senators. I hear the Senate has three officers – Clerk, Deputy Clerk and Marshal. The House may have a few more. So who are the 100 and the 70 being feasted (I have had first-hand testimony of the lavishness of the fare provided)?
Is it true that all and sundry turn up for bittles? Policemen, guards, friends, even ex-politicians? Is this “we are all in this together” sacrificing? No one could fail to note the rapid volumetric expansion of MPS in the last Government. I have a dog named after one – small head, big neck, obese body. In the old days we had Mottley’s soup kitchen in the Park to feed the poor. But this don’t hit right. I can’t pump that organ.
But it gets worse. Says the Tenders notice: “alcoholic beverages are provided by the Management Commission of Parliament”! That may explain some speeches, behaviours and even laws, but are we to believe our leaders sometimes work “under the influence”? We have heard of glasses wrapped in paper napkins to hide the colour of the “water” they have to consume – is this the new “Bowmanston Special”?
There is big talk about wellness and chronic obesity. Let our leaders set the example: no more gormandising and feeding the 5000 at taxpayers’ expense. We are all in this together.