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A fable for modern Britain?

(My thanks to a reader for suggesting this)

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER.

ORIGINAL VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE OLD STORY:
Be responsible for yourself!

MODERN VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving. The BBC does a big news item about the poor grasshopper’s dreadful suffering showing pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The Guardian does a 2-page feature on the grasshopper’s tale of woe. Ed Miliband angrily attacks PM David Cameron in the House of Commons and berates the Tories for their lack of compassion, for being “the nasty party”.
Labour politicians tour TV and radio stations, lambasting the Government’s economic policies and asking “how can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?”
The trade unions – mainly Unite, teachers and social workers – stage a noisy demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the protestors singing, “we shall overcome” and shouting “down with poverty” and “down with capitalism”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury holds a special service (televised by the BBC) for the grasshopper and has the congregation pray for the grasshopper.
Nick Clegg gives a speech where he claims that when he went into Coalition with the Tories, he never expected that they would allow anyone to suffer as much as the poor grasshopper and he demands action from Cameron. “Enough is enough” Clegg thunders, “George Osborne’s austerity cuts have gone too far”.

The grasshopper appears on breakfast TV bemoaning his fate to grovellingly sympathetic interviewers. When the ant is interviewed, he gets harangued for his greed and selfishness. 

The Equality and Insect Rights Commission issues a report proving that the ant has infringed the grasshopper’s insect rights. The politically-correct bien pensants at the BBC, the Guardian and the Labour Party claim that the thieving ant has got rich off the back of the grasshopper and call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, under massive pressure from the media onslaught, the Government drafts the EEAAA Economic Equity & Anti-Ant Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. This levies a special tax on the ant for having stored up too much food. The tax is so excessive that the ant cannot pay it. So the Government takes possession of the ant’s home in lieu of the unpaid tax and gives it to the grasshopper and his very large extended family created during the summer when the grasshopper was frolicking while the ant worked.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his large extended family finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper family didn’t maintain it. The ant has disappeared to Australia, where they appreciate his work ethic and experience in collecting and storing food.

The grasshopper is later found dead in a drugs related incident which was induced by the over consumption of dried medicinal vegetation stored by the ant for times of need. The house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders, newly arrived in the country, who terrorize and wreck the once prosperous and peaceful neighbourhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY:  You may be reading this because you are an ant. You may wish to pass this on to other ants. But don’t bother sending it on to any grasshoppers because they wouldn’t understand it anyway.

2 comments to A fable for modern Britain?

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