I am getting increasingly reactionary about some of the clients. They are comfortable about staying unemployed and make no effort to find work. I was particularly incensed by one man who has fathered seven kids from four women.
I think I have an eco-friendly approach to the problem. I am drawn to the 17th-century Dutch solution to idle youth. I like idea of the ‘drowning cell’ – a cistern that filled up with water. The miscreants had to work a pump to stop themselves from drowning. They had 15 minutes.
Many of my clients are so arsey that they would probably deliberately drown. However, I was wondering about the cell idea being an excellent alternative way to generate energy.
Welcome to the Samuel Smiles Appreciation Society. As any well-read anarchist will tell you, the twin pillars of libertarian socialism are self help and mutual aid (followed by a nice pint and a spliff). The mutual bit is important; it means doing things together, for each other. Auntie’s attitude has always been that if you’re not prepared to help with the washing up you don’t get to share in the meal. The cat has proved stubbornly resistant to this fundamental principle of domestic behaviour but everyone else seems to have settled down to it eventually.
It used to be so much simpler for socialists when only the idle rich could afford not to work.
Then we could amuse ourselves with thoughts of the capitalist class being sent to the coalface, or the aristocracy digging beetroot, when work was allocated after the revolution. Auntie has long since reserved swilling out the latrines in the Curry Field at Glastonbury for a particularly nasty teacher she had at primary school.
Now, though, there are idle, undeserving bastards everywhere. Can’t even be bothered to turn out on a demo when there’s a war on, most of them – though they still think they’ve got the right to whinge when the bombs start going off in their neighbourhood.
Start issuing the water pumps, Auntie says.
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Dear Auntie _ War, famine, economic depression and global warming - the idea that 'another world is possible' seems remoter than ever. Will we ever have a just and peaceful world? _ Desperate for peace, Preston
Dear Auntie _ At one of the Gaza protests in London, Stop the War put the number of protesters at around 100,000 but the police insisted it was only 20,000. Can Auntie reassure me that the Met has a scientific methodology for estimating crowd numbers? _ Numberless in London
Dear Auntie, All my left-wing friends seem to be overjoyed about Obama winning the US election, holding real hope that he will bring change, that he'll stop the wars, and that he'll somehow make America all cuddly and nice. But haven't we been here before? I'm getting flashbacks to the expectations people had of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, and how quickly they betrayed us. Is it terrible that I think Obama will be just more of the same? Hopeless, London
Dear Auntie, Having reached 50, I've become invisible. It's the only explanation of why people look right through me. I'm ignored in shops and at bus stops; and getting served at the bar is an endurance test, as men and younger women always take priority. I have a lifetime of experience as an activist, but these days there's always a 'Darren' or 'Ryan' whose opinion matters more. I'd go as far as saying they don't even hear me speak! It seems white hair and wrinkles are taken as an early indication of Alzheimer's. But I'm not ready to go gently into the night and as Auntie looks of a similar age, does she have any advice? The invisible woman, London
Dear Auntie, _ My daughter is starting to ask awkward questions such as 'Mum, did you take drugs when you were young?' I don't want to lie but I don't want her to venture down the same route. What do I tell her? _ Amy in London
Dear Auntie, _ I'm a vegetarian who is fed up having to justify why I don't eat anything with a face on it. And it's the environmentalists who are also meat eaters who seem the most personally affronted by my choices. Do you have any suggestions how I can deal with this? _ Chickpea not chicken lover, Totnes