Wednesday, 14 January 2015





Once upon a time something was wrong with the world.

So intelligent, good-hearted, brave Hero  set out on a quest to put the world to rights by destroying the Enemy.

'How will you recognise the Enemy?' asked Hero's father.

'The Enemy is different from me.' replied Hero. 'The Enemy is Death.'

'Take care.' begged Hero's mother. 'Be good.' She was a stereotypical mother.

'Come back soon.' warned Hero's lover. 'Love lasts forever, but sex has a time limit.'

The first person Hero met was an Old Man.

'Good morning.' said the Old Man.

'I am on my way to put things right.' said Hero.

'Can I help you? I have spent my life trying to make the world a better place by enacting laws that protect people from injustice.' offered the Old Man.

'No.' said Hero. 'You are old. You are a man. You have no new ideas and you do not know what it is to be a Hero and put the world to rights.'

'That may be true.' said the Old Man. 'The world keeps changing but some of the things my generation have made might be useful for you to carry with you.'

'No.' said Hero

'As you wish.' said the Old Man who had plenty of children and was tired of disagreements.

The next person that Hero met was a Liberal.

'Hello Hero.' said the Liberal. 'Where are you going?'

'I am on my way to put things right and destroy the Enemy.' said Hero.

'Can I help you?' said the Liberal. 'I want to put things right too. Perhaps I can go with you some of the way at least?'

'No' said Hero. 'My only friends are those who agree to go all the way with me.'

'I am sorry.' said the Liberal who always apologised for her failures and who wore ill-fitting shoes.

The third person that Hero met was a Moderate.

'Hi.' said the Moderate. 'I am heading in your direction and have already made some progress. Shall we journey together? I am going to visit my family.'

'No.' said Hero. 'My friends are wholly committed to my quest and you only care about your family.'

'Okay. Do it your way.' said the Moderate who because of experience, was given to being pragmatic and also had transport.

The next two persons Hero met were an Artist and a Writer.

'Wow!' said they said. 'A Hero at last. We have been playing around with ways of shaking up people and shocking them into having new ideas so the world can change for the better. Can we help you? What do you think?'

'Well I'm not flaky and offensive like you both.' said Hero. 'You simply cannot be relied on to be politically correct. I know what I think. Your thoughts are all over the place.'

'Perhaps and maybe not.' said the Artist and Writer. 'But we have always fought with the Enemy. Will you free our brothers and sisters if you defeat the Enemy?'

'When I defeat the Enemy I will.' promised Hero. 'Artists and writers have a high nuisance value however, so only if they paint my portrait and write a flattering eulogy about me.'

The Artist and Writer shrugged. They were used to bad reviews and carrying out worse commissions and had been invited to a party.

Hero found himself surrounded by a crowd of travellers who were all arguing with each other.

'Who are you all?' Hero asked in some confusion.

'We are all Heroes going on a quest to put things right and destroy the Enemy.' said one of the many spokespeople in the crowd.

“Oh.' said Hero surprised. 'I thought I was the only one on this quest. I am sure it is good to have companions who will go all the way with me. Please can you tell me how you are going to destroy the Enemy.'

'There is only one way to destroy the Enemy.' said another spokesperson. 'I am the only one with the solution.'

At this the argument became even louder and more fractious.

'First we must go back and destroy the Old Man's law.' said one.

'No we must rewrite it.' said another.

'Its the fault of the Liberals. They are too soft and kind and don't realise that they have always been fortunate. Without them things would be clearer and there would be more space.'

'Its the fault of the Moderates. They only consider themselves and not others. We must take away their riches.'

'Its the fault of the Artists and Writers. We have to teach them what they are NOT allowed to say.'

Some of the travellers said 'Lets go back and tell everyone how to do things properly.'

Others said 'Lets go forward and fight the Enemy.'

Realising that there was no consensus among his companions, Hero asked. “Have you seen the Enemy? Do you know what the Enemy looks like?'

This last question caused such a tremendous row that a fist fight broke out among the Heroes. No one could decide for certain who the Enemy was or what the Enemy looked like.

'Poverty.' 'Ignorance.' 'Greed.' 'Bigotry.' 'Riches'. 'Sickness.' 'Immorality.' 'Dogma.' 'Lack of faith.' were all suggested.

'I still think its Death.' determined Hero.

Neither could any of them agree on the best way to destroy the Enemy. Apparently everyone of them had asked an intellectual or an analyst for their point of view with the result that there were more opinions than people. They all had developed dreadful headaches from thinking about it. Hero was going to add that the Enemy seemed to be within their group but nobody was listening.

At last a third spokesperson stood up.

'We have decided to go onto Facebook and see who gets the most Likes.' he said. ' When we know that, then we will Unfriend those who got the least and that is how we will destroy the Enemy.'

'Are you sure?' asked Hero who had climbed up a nearby hill to escape the fracas.

'Look what is happening! It seems that the Enemy is also behind us.'

At that the Heroes turned around and found to their horror that the Enemy had divided and multiplied and had them surrounded.

The Heroes could see that rather a large number of Artists and Writers had been killed and imprisoned. Liberals and Moderates were being attacked and wounded on every side. Most saddening for the Heroes was the huge numbers of dead women and children that lay about everywhere.

The Old Man, helpless with tears, watched from a distance. They were all his children after all.

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