Friday, 4 November 2016

Corruption & a Trickle Down Effect

After many months yesterday I spoke with distant cousin Jacinta via the trusty services of Skype. `It’s just called Skyping’ she advised knowledgeably and said she had caught up with all my latest blog posts and had I caught up with hers. Hers mostly concern interaction with those she works alongside at North Kent Social Services so of course I had not and what’s worse, had to admit it. She ignored that and went on to ask when I was going to get started on the book idea that emerged from the family bereavement earlier in the year. Was I still intending to call it `Does Anyone Here Speak Portuguese?’ she wanted to know. I did the bad-skype-connection version of a nonchalant shrug and she must have seen it because she told me that she thought it was a great idea for a title. `You seem to be posting on Facebook quite a lot at the moment,’ she told me and then asked if it was simply to put off the awful business of actually making a start on the proposed book. I nodded because she was completely right of course. We went on to talk a bit about police corruption in England and people being charged with serious crimes they had not committed and because Jacinta had once upon a time been a Court Reporter she was interested but disappointingly could not add a great deal other than interest. Secret witnesses it would appear are more a New Zealand tradition than an English one though she did remind me that Timothy Evans, long ago hanged for the murder of his wife and child (who were undoubtedly killed by John Reginald Halliday Christie) had gone to the gallows because of false evidence. It wasn’t quite the same I told her and anyway Timothy Evans died way back in 1948 whereas I was talking about much more recent criminal events. `There are certainly some funny customs in New Zealand,’ she observed, as though secret witnesses giving false evidence was part of the local culture. Later I thought that perhaps a certain amount of depravity, strangely acceptable, had indeed embedded itself into the current national ethos. We then spoke a great deal about Brexit and the ridiculous notion that if a binding referendum did not quite turn out to the liking of Those In Charge, it could then perhaps be voted upon again when everyone had time to digest the first result. We both agreed that it would be difficult to go on describing such a situation as democratic. I then bored her with ten minutes of Politics New Zealand Style and pointed out that I could still not truly be described as a political animal even though a Facebook acquaintance had recently accused me of being a cheerleader for John Key. Jacinta, pleasingly, had heard of John Key and even she knew that he had a reputation for being a pleasant enough fellow who was now heading for a fourth term in office. `He's obviously got something,' she said. `A certain element of the community seem to detest him though,’ I told her - well, I had to be honest. She said well look at how many people had found Maggie Thatcher detestable and I was a bit bemused and found myself saying, `Well she was wasn’t she?’ Jacinta did not think she had been too bad, even taking the Poll Tax into consideration. She asked what New Zealanders hated about John Key and I couldn’t really think of anything concrete except that he was supposed to be rich. `We don’t like people to be too successful,’ I said cautiously, `Some of the anti-Key brigade think that his most ardent supporters vote for him because they think some of his wealth will trickle down to them somehow.’ There was a silence before she asked how much I thought we might each get in a country of four million people. After thinking about it I had to admit that it would probably only amount to twelve dollars fifty each. Not a great deal!

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