The rise, fall and resurrection of the Great Trolls of Want, Need and Ill Health.
(And the Scourge of the Neo-liberal Creed )
Once upon a time,
A small boy learnt at his Mothers’ knee that it was right to stand with those whom others might reject, persecute or threaten with hate. He listened to tales of the darker times within the enchanted land of Albion, where the Ogres of ignorance egged on by the Trolls of want and need, marched through the streets of the greatest city of Albion. His loving family explained how this Ogre and his entourage had hurled threats and abuse outside the communities of descendants of the children of Jerusalem, with self righteous anger burning within their breasts; having been told very clearly by the Oracles and their kind through their trumpets of popular mass communication that those Trolls haunting their lives had been created by them. So the Oracles continued to grow fat and wealthy, shielded by the fires of anger their avarice had unleashed. The flames would eventually be doused, but yet still not entirely extinguished in the battle of Cable Street, the tales of which began that little boys’ learning.
Across the sea
Upon the continent of Europe and beyond, a similar tide was rising, fulminated by a group of very dysfunctional bad Oracles; with a fetish for uniforms and (if it where not so serious) a rather silly way of marching, which their followers seemed obliged to copy. These dark waters of what became told as Fascism; would engulf many nations leaving much devastation, featuring every manifestation of inhumanity, intolerance and pain, before overwhelming force, the sacrifice of many gallant souls (and a bigger wedge of cash than the Fascists could muster) made them recede. But they never really went away, for those evil Trolls summoned by the bad Oracles would continue to dwell within the deepest recesses of every kingdom thus and once infested.
Back in the land of Albion, the warriors had returned from their heroic struggles defeating the Fascists across the ocean. Many were determined not to go easily back to the doffing of the cap and tugged forelocks of yesteryear. So it would be that The Oracles of old, expecting to return to their gilded temples; would soon be aghast to find a new wave was rising upon the voices of those they thought forever vanquished with great and victorious effect by the Zinoviev letter of 1924.
The hitherto discredited leftist tribe produced Oracles by the names of Atlee, Bevin, Dalton and Cripps who were elevated to power upon this wave of popular dissent and became the new high priests. Their reign over Government was to bring great and enduring change to the war battered land of Albion. They looked to the plans crafted by the great and Liberal master of monies Beveridge, to ensure the evil trolls of want, hunger, ignorance and ill health should never again be allowed to stalk the land as they once had. It came to pass that soon, having offered due diligence at the alter of Keynes, they built a mighty Edifice called the mixed economy, the walls of which bore the legends; NHS, National education system, Public utilities, Welfare and public housing. Although these priests were destined to fall far sooner then their great and enduring influence might merit, the Edifice they had built would stand and remain sturdy for many years to come.
Whilst all of this went on, our little boy grew into a young man. Determined to do right, he followed the path set before him by those stories told to him as a small child. Through gatherings of members of the young socialist guild he joined the tribe from which the great change had risen. He took his place on the barricade for the trade union cause and plunged into the often turbulent waters of the political sea.
Meantime, the Edifice thus built was still preserved by the Priests and Oracles of both left and right; for all still paid lip service, at least, to the idea that without the shelter of its mighty walls, the roof of the economic world might cave in.
Came the Lady of Grantham to the high table and the Oracles who had plotted and schemed for this day rejoiced that their champion had arrived. For now, these Oracles of the old guard could emerge from the shadows cast by the hitherto sacred Edifice, dragging with them scriptures enunciated by Friedman and Hayek. These texts that so inspired them, foretold that great freedoms would be visited upon the land of Albion and beyond, if only the shackles were removed and those markets set free.
Low, even as the Lady drove out of her palaces those who did not believe with the zeal required in the teachings within the sacred scriptures, deep beneath the land, those ancient Trolls stirred back into vengeful life. They tore at the walls of the caves that had imprisoned them with sharp and avaricious claws, striking out for the world above, making slow relentless progress. As the light of day fell upon them, the names they bore could be clearly seen and amongst their numbers were Want and Need.
The returning trolls of Want and Need brought back to life the great Ogres of ignorance, bigotry, inequality and ill health and unleashed them upon the lands of Albion. Centres of industriousness fell, their assets stripped, their workers beaten down by the yeomanry whose loyalty had been bought by the lady for a few extra pieces of silver in their purse. The Oracles who had returned and grown brave and strong; proclaimed each victory through their golden media trumpets whilst acolytes and priests of the Lady’s order praised the unfettered market and made proclamations that there would come a great tide of trinkets and monies that would cascade throughout the lands and this cascade would be called “trickle down” economics.
Eventually fell and it is said by some that she was quite, quite mad by then, her mind poisoned by the beguiling potions made by the trolls that she had unleashed. Unfortunately, by this time too, the infectious malaise of Neo-liberalism had bored deep into the very heart of Albion and spread far beyond its shores. The Oracles and high priests of the land, far from being weakened by the disease that infested their fiefdom had grown rich and strong for all who came to take office at their feet must first swear their fealty to this poisoned creed.