Stocks and swine (abbreviated)

Having worked down the word-count of the previous version for (eventual rejection by) the Leicester Mercury, the facility that is one’s own blog allows that the editing time and effort involved is not totally wasted:


After last May’s local elections, I watched TV images of a jubilant Ed Miliband as his jacket was soiled by a witlessly tossed egg. I don’t know how those present reacted to this assault. How his minders responded to the attempted humiliation of their ward. Whether anyone considered attempting a citizen’s arrest.

In case you’re presuming partisan sympathy for Miliband here, think again. Were David Cameron to be similarly splattered, I would be equally appalled. Surely, such a playground resort merely serves to place the object of your bile in a position that garners sympathy and support. Throwing shaving foam at an octogenarian Murdoch is counter-productive. Who can blame Prescott for retaliating?

But I wonder whether we now have a situation where the hurling of more than insults would be justified. We – all of us – are being mocked and insulted by types exemplified in the smug evasiveness that is Bob Diamond. Whose bank’s activities have knock-on affected everybody. After we bailed out the last muckfest served up by arrogant, avaricious kingspivs. Those who hold us at-source-taxpayers in their contemptuous pockets. Are we convinced that appropriate penalties will follow? Or will talk of serious incompetence/crime gradually fade as our politicians somehow PR whitewash the outcomes?

So, what can we, the helpless, do? Well, might we… bring back the stocks!? Strip this swine naked in a packed Wembley Stadium, in front of a live TV audience. Shackle him, and let those who have lost their homes, their businesses, their jobs, hurl a past-sell-by-date egg each. And then leave him sunning in putrefaction and flies. Until he begs forgiveness. It is ”time for remorse.”

Okay, so I’m being flippant. Advocating uncivilised mob violence and all. But how is such extreme anti-social behaviour to be punished? How do we reach someone who personifies a culture of disconnected privilege, so remote from the lives of those they don’t know and care not a jot? Someone who has the graceless temerity to still smile in public.

In the last few years, as the UK has been undulating in and out of recession, the shameful gap between its rich and poor has continued to widen, as those at the bottom are further disenfranchised, crushed under the increasing weight of the fat wealth at the top. We are a humiliated nation. Because we are not all in this together. There is no Big Society. Only a Society for the Big.

If Diamond and his sty cronies’ Savile Row suits were soiled with a thrown egg or three, I confess I would, for once, be pleased. But I would be much happier to see them delivered of a sharp blow with a big, hard heavy copy of the book.


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