Pensive Prowler #27 by Dmetri Kakmi
A Modest Proposal for Politicians of all Nations*
It is a melancholy truth to those who walk through this great world of ours and see capital cities filled with politicians and their minions, amassing wealth and wanting to live all of their lives on the backs of the working people, that a pressing problem begs for solution.
It is agreed by all that this prodigious outpouring of parasites is a very great grievance; and therefore whoever should find a fair, cheap, and easy method of making the leeches useful members of society would deserve ample financial recompense and acclaim for all the world to see.
But my intention is far from being confined to provide only for current practicing members of the political classes. Like Herod with the baby Jesus, I intend to act pre-emptively, hoping to strike early and to net youngsters whose ambition is to one day rise to the dizzy heights of presidency and to prime ministership, chancellor or emir, or whatever title applies to the jurisdiction in which you, dear reader, reside and chaff under the load of hardship while those charged with looking after your welfare live in luxury and want for nothing.
As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject and maturely weighted the various schemes and opinions of others, I have found them wanting in the extreme. And I have no doubt, if put to practise, my scheme will save many a tear and lamentation in the dead of night as we sleep safe in the knowledge the office-bearer truly serves his nation with every fibre of his or indeed her ability.
I know not where you reside, dear reader, but I live in Australia—the lucky country (if you are not Aboriginal)—and therefore my comments will be limited to my borders, lest I overstep my expertise and offend.
At any rate, not taking in the shadow ministry and local councils, the Australian parliament has seventy-six senators and 150 members of the house of representatives. It is, you will agree, a fraction of the overall population and yet these moochers avail themselves of the greater sum of monies from the public purse and think nothing of besmirching the name of the sick, needy, and unemployed and blaming them for all of the nation’s ills.
The prime minister, for instance, is lauded with $AUD527, 852. By comparison, the average cabinet minister struggles with a mere $AUD350, 209. As an addition, these honourable personages receive superannuation and business expenses, including travel expenses, health benefits, a spouse allowance, an electorate allowance, and a resettlement allowance. They get a supplementary income for taking on additional duties, such as chairing a committee. Furthermore, retiring federal politicians are awarded six figure pensions for life. The ‘reportable’ fringe benefits make for most interesting reading.
Meanwhile, the median salary in Australia is $AUD80, 000. Homelessness is on the rise. Most live under the poverty line and many struggle to find work.
Thus inspired by Monsieur Jean-Jacques Rousseau and given extra zip by Mr Rod Serling, I shall now humbly proffer my solutions to this most exasperating dilemma, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
I have been assured by a very knowing Greek physician of my acquaintance that a pampered, well-fed politician over the age of twenty-five makes for a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food, whether fried, boiled or baked; and I have no doubt that the middle-aged will offer choice cuts and equally serve a mouthwatering fricassee, a ragout and, at a pinch, hamburger, thus freeing us up to reserve the grizzled elder statesman for sausages, mozzarella, and salami.
The parliamentarian who takes especial care with his or her skin can be turned into designer handbags, shoes, belts, vests, leather chaps for sadomasochists, coats, and various other fashion accessories. Bones can be put to the service of furniture, kitchen implements and cutting-edge sculpture, thus using all necessary parts and assuring that no wastage whatsoever be entered into. We are after all in the age of recyclables.
As for up-and-coming politicians, from let us say the age of fifteen or sixteen, they can be rounded up in schoolyards as soon as they express the least interest in the political sphere and sold to Russia and China for organ harvesting, thus nipping the bud before the disease can spread far afield.
I reserve the best for the politician who treats the public with contempt and for whom lying and deceiving is second nature only to hypocrisy: round them up and turn them into pet food.
After all, they did want to serve their country and there is no better way to do that than to serve them up in a platter.
I can think of no objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless we desire to act against the number of people who will thereby find material and spiritual benefit in this endeavour.
And I profess in the sincerity of my heart that I have not the least personal interest in promoting this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good; and I challenge any politician or member of the public who dislikes my overture that they first query the patents of their morals, whether they would not at this day think a gross injustice is remedied by my modest, though far-sighted submission.
*With sincere thanks to Jonathan Swift.
Dmetri Kakmi (Episode 158) is a writer and editor based in Melbourne, Australia. The memoir Mother Land was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards in Australia; and is published in England and Turkey. His essays and short stories appear in anthologies and journals. You can find out more about him here.