So many numbers... Lazy link-to-others post tonight because of work.
"Excuse me, Mr. Emperor. I don't want to intrude, but I thought you should know that Rome is burning. What? Oh, I see, I'll come back when you've finished fiddling. Will your expenses take long?"
If Rome had invented the Internet, the last days of Empire would look like today. A world where pink-dyed cats cause mass outrage while the stoning to death of a woman is calmly discussed with 'well, it's their law, innit?'. Where Nelson's famed (but probably apocryphal) line, 'I see no ships', is revived in Parliament as 'I see no report'. Where Tories press forward with a Socialist agenda that would cause a hiss of breath if suggested in the Kremlin.
A world where money is the only thing anyone cares about. Where the government want to take all your money and give you pocket-money, as much as they think you deserve. Someone will be round to check your room is tidy before they decide how much you can have. And yet every country is in debt to every other country. How does that work? How long before whoever it is who loaned all that money starts foreclosing on countries?
They'd better be quick. The Euro looks likely to collapse at any moment, and most other currencies are looking shaky too. We'll be back to bartering with shiny stones soon.
What are the Emperors doing? We have so many of them now it's hard to keep track. Some of them are engaged in prosecuting a man found in possession of a sense of humour with intent to tell a joke. Oh, that's really important work they are doing, protecting us from inadvertent laugh-related injury. When we hear how much of the money we don't have they've spent on this, all thoughts of mirth will flee and we can settle into a morose safety.
Ah, but think how much they've saved by ignoring an old lady's pleas for help and allowing her tormentors to kill her. They have Priorities, these people, and we are not on that list.
We are so infantilised we are to drink beer (if we can still afford any on our pocket money) from plastic cups. Soon they will come with a lid and a spout. Like those take-away coffee cups already do. Ever noticed the similarity? How about the 'sports' drink bottles that look very like baby bottles? I always take the lids off. My days of drinking anything from baby cups and teats are long past.
Treating us like children is far more important than actually running the country. We are, once more, ruled by Nero but this time he's brought the whole family along. Every one a certifiable crackpot with no idea why they were elected and not a clue what to do now they are. It can only end as Rome ended, in a hell of a mess. I hope there are booze-fuelled orgies this time too.
We have 'diversity' rammed down our throats such that any militant faction of any group (other than Christians or smokers) can demand what the hell they like and get it. Whether the rest of the people crammed into that pigeonhole agree is of no consequence. The diversity agenda is set up to keep us involved in playground squabbles - all white men are racist so we get gangs of non-whites going around beating up white men because that's allowed. They're all racists. All men are evil thugs so women can pretend to be raped and get them jailed because that's allowed. Any man proven to have been set up is deemed guilty anyway. He was carrying a rapist weapon in his trousers therefore intent is proved, in the simple mind of the modern pundit.
Then we are repeatedly told that all Muslims are Jihadists, although I can tell you that the Palestinian guy who runs the local kebab - chips - pakora - pizza - hell, whatever you want to eat he's got it or can get it (except pork) - shop is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He doesn't care if you arrive a little unsteadily when the pubs close. He'll chat to chatty drunks and ignore abusive ones. He's never blown up anything and even though he's Muslim, he doesn't have a beard. I expect the kebabs are Halal but I doubt his chicken pakora is. He buys it ready-made and deep-fries it while you wait.
Then again, we are told that all the food outlets and all the supermarkets are now stocked only with Halal meat. Considering the total turnover involved, that must mean there are Imams all over the country, hoarse from continuous superfast recitals and permanently spattered with blood. Have you seen how fast a chicken processing line goes? He's lucky if he gets five seconds per bird before it's off to the defeathering tank. Halal requires a specialist abattoir. There aren't enough of them to supply at supermarket rates of sale.
Halal is also a specialist market, like Kosher, which can command a premium over the everyday dead chicken. Buying in that premium-cost meat and then pretending it's plain is like buying a Ferrari and advertising it for sale as a Cortina. It doesn't make sense. What purpose is served by sneaking Halal into our diets or even by telling us it's there? It can achieve nothing other than turning people against Muslims and who wants that to happen? Seriously, consider who might want that to happen.
No, Muslims aren't filling the supermarkets with Halal meat. The Daily Mail is filling our heads with it. Why? To keep us looking the wrong way and to get us to help create our own enemy.
Oh, but never mind Halal. Soon we'll be told that Guinness is funding terrorists and Tesco salads have four-leaved clovers sneaked into them by leprechauns, who have also taken all our gold and hidden it at the end of a rainbow. Yes, we are to fear the wrath of another EU zone who thinks this EU zone still has any say in what happens to them. The IRA are back in town.
It seems the Jihadists are not living up to expectations so we've had to fall back on the good old Catholic enemy of old. Someone has to keep the population scared and all those imported 'terrorists' are busily setting up corner shops and complaining about the ban on advertising their biggest sellers, tobacco and booze. What? You thought Mr. Patel was making all his money from chocolate hobnobs and the Daily Mirror? No, he is now too busy fending off ASH and the Shenkerites to worry about blowing up buses. So it's time to wheel out the trusty old IRA, give them back their guns and tell them some lies about the UK government having some kind of authority still.
Who will be next? The Provisional Boy Scouts? The Real Brownies? The Wahhabi sect of the Tufty Club? Rupert bin Bear and al-Sooty? Will we have MI5 announcing 'Beware the Jabberwock' before the year is out? It doesn't seem unlikely any more.
It's easy to get enraged by the newspaper stories. That's what they are for. If you relax, have a smoke, sit back and look at it with a reasonable frame of mind, it looks like the stuff Monty Python discarded as being far too silly for the show. It reads like a rejected script for Spike Milligan's 'Q' series.
Yet almost everyone falls for all of it, all the time. While taking their pocket money, drinking coffee from baby cups and raising bottles with nipple-drinkers to their lips. While accepting that they have to taste plastic with their beer because the pub they go to, which has never seen so much as a raised voice, might one day be filled with dangerous maniacs. While accepting that they have to go out in the rain to smoke and that they are evil because their T-shirt has 'XXL' stamped on the label. So many people sleepwalk throughout their lives with their iPods in their ears and their thumbs blistered from texting. When they get to the end and their life flashes before their eyes, they'll see what they missed. Too late.
Meanwhile we have bin wardens who can spot a glass bottle in a paper bin from three streets away, councils that use satellites to check whether you are an inch outside the catchment area for your chosen school, and many, many things too ludicrous to mention enforced by people too nondescript to name. And nobody seems to mind.
No matter how insane the world gets, people just accept it. Scanners that show you naked and store the images (oh yes, they do) so that pervy scanner operators can pass round photos of you and your children naked? Well, nobody minds. Council-employed private enforcers who can fine you for stepping on the cracks in the pavement or anything else they fancy? Well, nobody minds. Police who pounce, mob-handed, on parents picking up disabled children from school while ignoring street gangs who terrorise pensioners? Well, nobody minds.
This country doesn't need a superhero. They'd merely censure Batman for wearing a mask, wheel-clamp the Batmobile and take all his weapons away. No, what this country needs is exactly the opposite. Batman would let them sleep. The Joker would wake them up. Islamists and the IRA won't because they are working to a plan, and they have money at the heart of everything they do. People know what they are dealing with in those organisations. They know what to expect. Unfortunately the Joker is no more real than Batman, but it would take pure lunacy, untrammelled by any obvious connection with money, to really wake people up.
Well, we may yet see that. Our government, and those it answers to, are near to the line that separates the totalitarian with an agenda from the chaos of the Joker. Very near. Emboldened by the meek acceptance of ever more lunatic laws and job descriptions Douglas Adams couldn't have thought up, the UN has an entire office dedicated to greeting visitors from space. No doubt they have space-aid budgets lined up too and armies at the ready in case the aliens have oil on their planet.
The whole edifice is insane. It cannot hold. New World Order? With this lot in charge? What we have is the New World Shambles. As for Common Purpose, they might as well advertise their services as cat-herder trainers. All of them treat six billion people as if they are one homogenous cloned mass. That doesn't even work with bacteria. Each of them, individually, thinks that six billion people want exactly what they want, and desire to live exactly as they declare. Every one of these Righteous thinks that way but every one of them thinks of a different Utopia, and every one of them thinks theirs is the right one.
The irony is that all those who want to make us clones are themselves individuals. They cannot see why their fellow Righteous don't agree with them, so they will never see why the rest of us don't.
The EU is going to fall apart and it'll be messy. The United States might fall apart too. It was never one country, not really. Compare Utah and California and you might as well be comparing Japan and Iran. Very different places with people who have very different ways of life. Like the regions of the EU, they all resent centrally-dictated rules that please nobody.
Those who dictate from the centre won't trouble themselves to look out of the window and see the flames. They are too busy fiddling. So their excesses will get wilder and more insane with every passing day until they have spent the last Euro and the whole thing collapses.
When it does, they will find they have created a population no longer able to look after themselves and who will wring their hands and look for someone to blame.
And then, as the Joker says, '...these civilised people? They'll eat each other.'
I'll start with the Dreadful Arnott. Smoked.
Mmmm... Parma Arnott... with salt.