The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzales Foerster - TH.2058


Popular Politics

By Oliver O'Sullivan

Eachvigorous line of his election rally home-coming speech was punctuated by vocal chord-straining screams and red-palmed applause. People had traveled far and wide to see him tall above his pulpit, to see his engine room eyes and pianist’s hands playing the air as if puppeteered by ethereal strings. The
mantra of his chanted name swirled into the sky clearing away the bloated purple chest of the clouds that loomed.

It was a week before the Great British public would flock to the polls, which Graham Cave had so wittingly remarked upon on Sunday morning breakfast TV as ‘making a refreshing change from the Polls flocking to Great Britain’, and the nation was frantic with pre-election excitement. The two, sorry three, prime ministerial candidates appeared periodically on primetime television, either in the heat of debate, or as in the case of Graham Cave – in thirty minute long commercials with blockbuster budgets.

Graham Cave was ahead by a country mile, stock-piling celebrity supporters and patriotic anthem playing musicians. His campaign slogan read, ‘Graham Cave: Nothing to Hide’, a cunning use of his
surname as decided in a two week seminar with his election team. He had nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of.

His father had been unashamedly rich, and Graham had been cruelly burdened with the trappings of wealth. It was not just his Eton schooling he was unabashed to declare, but his views, views that a nation had been reluctant to voice until he soothed them with speeches opening, ‘I’m sorry, but…’, and, ‘some people say that if you say x, that makes you a y’, and slowly that public began to share the beautiful language of ignorance dressed in silky sound bites in staff canteens throughout the land.

He was unashamedly Christian, and was unashamedly proud of living in the Christian land of Great Britain. So he didn’t go to church regularly, and he didn’t know so much about the Bible, ‘is that really
what being Christian is about?’, he questioned, and the churches were so short of worshipers and the worshipers were so short of company that every one felt inclined to agree. Besides, ‘what is the alternative?’, he quipped, ‘Atheism or Islam? Stalin or the Taliban?

He was unashamedly anti-immigration, despite his Irish maternal grandparents, he soon disowned them and all their Irishness. He willed the country’s doors closed from the outside. His pillow wept for those
poor unemployed citizens whose jobs were being stolen by those tax-paying, birth-rate raising aliens, so willing to undermine working values.

He spoke with the kind of voice that accompanies documentary footage of dramatic change –a presidential funeral march, a student protest, a nuclear explosion. He could speak in nonsensical jumbles, reciting a foreign alphabet, or the written script of a chimpanzee’s grunts, and still hundreds would walk on bare foot to stretch out fingertips to touch the air that could have been the breath that sustains the man.For the first time in living history, people felt impassioned about British politics. They booked holiday time off of work to make banners to wave around at party rallies.

‘What do you think is the reason for this, this unprecedented fervour for British politics?’, Cave was asked, ‘Well…’, he pondered, leaning towards the party-sponsored interviewer, ‘… it is no wonder that politics has not excited people, it may not be entertainment, but there is a duty to entertain that has long found itself shuffled amongst paper-logged desks and bureaucratic circles of never ending bureaucracy!

There is a duty to entertain our citizen’s ideas and concerns,’ he continued, ‘their ideals and complaints, their hopes and their fears – I have listened to this population. I have listened and I am both troubled by their worries and in awe of their inspiration.

This nation’s ideas have filled a world, have filled this world. Our inventions are in every home, our business plans are profiting millions, our language is spoken in every corner, our common sense of decency and morality is universal. And yet our flags are hidden, and are ways are suppressed. Why? I cannot answer this question easily, and I am sure that most of my fellow Britons would also have the same difficulty. Is it because of racism? Is it because we are afraid of offending those who have chosen to come to this country, to work in this country, to be a part of the nation of
this country?’, Cave inquired with contrived naivety, ‘Is it because a minority in this country complain that we pander to their demands for neutrality of nationality? A minority that has increased our risk of terrorist attack and unemployment!’, he paused with mouth smugly gaping, ‘Well, I do not need to be
the one to say this, but that’s just a load of… what’s the word? Oh, I’m sorry the word has just escaped me… ah, this is embarrassing! Imagine forgetting the name of the current prime minister of Great Britain!’

His name was David Winters, and his opposition to the cult of Graham Cave was growing tired. He sat in his burgundy leather armchair staring into the fire. Where had it gone so wrong? His liberal
philosophies had long been unpopular with the high earners of Great Britain, who had been forced to move over-seas to avoid high taxation, but recently the working class had also turned their back in favour of the fire brand politics of the opposition.

If he thought about it, the interview in which he had been asked about his presumed religious faith had certainly been a catalyst towards his current state of dire unpopularity.

He had been asked how important his religion was to him, to which he levelled an
inquisitive stare upon his questioner, and then to his aides who had organised this interview, before sitting back in his chair and answering. ‘My Religion?’, he asked, pausing for a matter of seconds, ‘Show me a man whose religion is his own’, he levelled,‘My religion? I suppose you are asking about my faith, my faith in a Christian God(the Christian God of Great
Britain!), Listen’, he said sitting intently forwards,‘this country is not a theocracy and let us not become one. I am not Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu or any other for that matter – and how could I be? How could I be Christian in a country in which all these religions exist without intrinsically believing that everyone of another faith is fundamentally wrong? That is not my duty as Prime

My duty is to provide an environment in which 60 million ideas of God and religion can exist peacefully and beneficially – for the sake of everyone.’

‘I suppose I’ll read those comments again’, he reflected to his oldest ally as he walked off set, who could only wince and agree.

And sure enough, the next morning’s papers were filled with news of the devil worshipping Prime Minister sinking the country into the murky depths of the godless. Not too much of an unusual read, it must
be said, as the tabloids had always sold well off of the rope that his daring policies left hanging.

He had allowed immigration to reach its highest recorded levels, and while benefiting considerably in financial terms – he was criticised for selling British jobs. Criticised by people who chose to over-look the dramatically improved unemployment and education statistics, resultant from foreign investment and tax contributions.

Trade and Industry had become strong once again at a price to many American based multi-nationals and banks, earning him many enemies in high media-owning places. Hence, the Paparazzi and news hounds, unearthing teenage experiments and student misdemeanours and concluding that the man who ran this country was a godless, drug-taking, narcissistic, unpatriotic, communist philanderer.

But now even the liberal press had deserted him. Conservatism was the new Liberalism. Right the new Left. And there David Winters sat, contemplating a life of after dinner speeches, personal memoirs,
and for the first time, he reflected on how far removed from the British public he really was.

‘Darling?’, he called out, ‘How do you fancy a change of scenery?’

‘Pardon?’, his wife responded, walking into the room with their young child heavy in her arms.

‘Oh nothing’, he sighed. ‘I was just thinking about moving out of here, to somewhere new’, he spoke wistfully, ‘and I hear caves are going to be the new thing’.

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