Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Floppity Bunny frolicked in the sweet green grass outside the burrow as he waited for his bestest ever friend to walk with him to work at the Happy Valley Fun Factory. His little pink nose twitched with delight as he sniffed the air. Oh what a joyful day they would have, doing a job they loved and bringing happiness to the whole world. “Hey Flops!” shouted Foxy Woxy as he bounded along the woodland path to the sunlit glade where Floppity lived. The two friends linked arms and skipped off to work. Mrs Bunny waved them off and grinned with pleasure at the anticipation of a day of good old spring cleaning... and gin.
At Uncle Jeremy’s ecstasy emporium work was its own reward, so much so that even just thinking about it was just heaven. Foxy and Floppity were joined by Fiona Ferret and Malcom Mole and the four of them beamed from ear to ear as they imagined all the fun they would be making today. Ordinarily they would put in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay but when they arrived at the factory gates they found Mr Brock the Badger, the works manager, drawing a heavy chain through the railings and securing it with an enormous padlock.
“Why, what’s the matter?” asked Malcolm “Is it a holiday?” The friends clapped with glee but the normally smiley Mr Brock shook his head. “Not today, my old friends, not today.” He sighed, took out a marvellously spotted handkerchief and wiped a slick of sweat from his brow. “It’s bad news, I’m afraid.” He went on to explain how the factory would have to close because nobody could afford to pay for the jollity they manufactured. “We’re getting all our joy from the Far East now” he said “they make it so much more cheaply than we can.”
The friends were stunned and thought it first it must be a joke, a mischievous prank that Mr Brock was playing. After all, the whole of Happy Valley relied on the factory for their livelihood. But when he put on his hat and set off down the road with a heavy and troubled gait they realised he was serious. “But how?” they asked and “But why?” Mr Brock sighed and sat himself down on a convenient tussock. The friends gathered round as he told them how this sorry state of affairs had come about.
In the bad old days, under the Tories, he elucidated, there wasn’t much happiness about, so Comrade Corbyn and Wrong McDonnell decided that something must be done. They borrowed lots and lots of money and set out to guarantee happiness for all, to which end they had bought some magic beans from a tinker and determined that Britain would become a world leader in manufacturing happiness from nothing. Jobs for all, they said, and well-paying jobs at that. But it turned out that the British weren’t very good at making happiness and their brand of orderly mirth was an esoteric offering and far too pricey to sell abroad.
So we made happiness for the domestic market, he told them, which only the rich people could afford and as sales dwindled the prices went up and we had to keep paying our workers more and more to keep everybody else supplied with cheap imported happiness. The new party, renamed Fluffy Old New Labour, kept pouring in the borrowed money until one day it all ran out. And that day was today. Mr Brock stood up, replaced his hat and strolled off leaving the friends open-mouthed.
Labour Party Conference 2016
It was getting cold now and dark clouds had hidden the sun. They pulled their thin coats around them and for the first time saw how flimsy and insignificant their lives would be without work. As they trudged back toward the glade, Malcolm and Fiona bid them farewell and promised to stay in touch. Floppity looked up at his much larger friend and asked, forlornly, “But what will we eat?” The fox put his arm around the rabbit and grinned a toothy grin. He said, “I’ll think of something.”