Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Ants and Grasshoppers

I was provoked by a comment in Time magazine this week about the need for our wealth-creators to stop being grasshoppers and become ants. So I've fished out this old story:

The Ant & The Grasshopper

Version 1 – the Classic 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 shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
The End


Version 2 – The British Version [we might now title it the G20 fiscal stimulus 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 shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like him, are cold and starving. The BBC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper, with cuts to a video of the ant in his comfortable warm home in Hampstead with a table laden with food.
The British are stunned that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so much while others have plenty. The Liberal Party, the Respect Party, the Transvestites With Starving Babies Party, the Single Lesbian One Eyed Mothers Party and the Coalition Against Poverty demonstrate in front of the ant's house. The BBC, interrupting a Rastafarian cultural festival special from Grimsby with breaking news, broadcasts them singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’
Ken Livingstone laments in an interview with Panorama that the ant has got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his ‘fair share’. In response, the Labour Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti-Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant’s taxes are reassessed, and he is also fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as helpers.
Without enough money to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by Camden Council. The ant moves to France, and starts a successful AgriBiz company with the help of EU funding (although within weeks his business is threatened with compulsory purchase by the state unless he marries a French ant).
The BBC later shows the now fat grasshopper finishing up the last of the ant's food, though Spring is still months away, while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain it. Inadequate government funding is blamed, Diane Abbot is appointed to head a commission of enquiry that will cost £?0,000,000.
The grasshopper is soon dead of a drug overdose. The Guardian blames it on the obvious failure of the Government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity. The abandoned house is taken over by a gang of immigrant spiders, praised by the government for enriching Britain’s multicultural diversity, who promptly set up a marijuana-growing operation and terrorize the community.
The End

And what the G20 are planning this week is to fleece all the ants (and their children, grandchildren and subsequent generations) to within an inch of bankruptcy, to look after all the grasshoppers.

2 comments:

Marc Lloyd said...

Love it! So fair, balanced and politically correct.

Daniel James Howard said...

Suggestions for what insects comprise the government?

Maybe ladybird - so outwardly winsome, but deep down just a carnivorous beetle...