Reflections on a bonfire
It is bonfire night; a strangely British celebration of one man’s attempt to blow up our Parliament. If you think about it, the whole event seems to be a peculiar celebration of terrorism.
Most years bonfire night seems to pass me by but this year the whole event has a strange imagery; not only are we celebrating an attempt to blow up parliament at a time when the cuts are inviting people to consider how they feel about their politicians, as perhaps not seen for the past twenty years, but in addition I can’t help but reflect on the so-called bonfire of the quangos.
Not only are quangos being ‘burnt’ but right now it feels like the whole of the public sector is at risk of being placed, at least in part, upon the Government’s metaphorical bonfire.
With this in mind I was wondering whether it is possible to extend my local government bonfire metaphor. Here goes:
The guy: The obvious answer would be George Osborne but I’m going for Nick Clegg; the person who ends up taking the flack for a wider conspiracy. Poor old Nick often looks like he’s taken a good stuffing these days, and despite being full of potentially good words it all looks like it’s going to go up in smoke very easily.
The dry wood: Probably the public sector workers themselves; chopped up to pay for the sins of others. On current experience there is the the odd bit of rotten, wet pap that might be difficult to burn away, but that won’t stop it being thrown on anyway.
The cartwheel: Eric Pickles; a man in perpetual motion, essentially going nowhere, singing everything around him whilst everyone else is waiting for him to burn out a little.
The sparklers: The Big Society; sparkly things which allow individuals to take control of the delivery of public fireworks; the problem is they fizzle out a little too quickly.
The rocket: George Osborne; blazing a trail across the sky before making a massive explosion.
The dying embers: Public sector reform as salami slicing takes over.
On a more serious note, this evening when we stand there watching the fireworks, eating baked potatoes and warming ourselves on the bonfire, we’ll also be reflecting on the jobs of public sector workers suddenly at risk, on the public services that will no longer be provided and on the shift in emphasis in the way we think about the State. Is it possible that this is more of a revolution than that attempted by Mr Fawkes? Maybe not, but the bonfire will mean more to me this year than it has in the past.