R J Higginson
Once upon a time there was an ancient Toy Factory. This factory made many different sorts of toys. There were large ones and small ones. Some were brightly coloured and some were rather dull. Some toys made a lot of people happy. But others pleased hardly anyone at all. When people asked what these other toys were for, someone said that they were for the good of the people who lived in that country, and that was that.
There were two different sorts of workers in the Toy Factory. The one group of the workers., nearly 700 of them, worked there because some people from their home towns said, "I aint got time to work in t Toy Factory. You go an work there for me."
It was this group of "Chosen" workers who picked someone to be President. He (once it was She) then chose some of his mates to run the Toy Factory. Part of their job was to invent the toys, and then get everyone else to make them. Sometimes there would be some dreadful arguments. Of course, they were not allowed to hit each other, but sometimes the whole country could hear them calling each other names.
Of the other group of workers, some had earned the right to work there. They had worked so hard at other things, that the President of the Toy Factory said they could work there. Others had done something which made the President happy, and he rewarded them by letting them work in the Toy Factory. Some had the right to work in the Toy Factory as a reward for doing some other job. And some worked in the Factory because someone in his family always had. Like a miner whose father and grandfather had worked in the pit and he would be a cissy if he did not follow in their footsteps.
The Toys were mostly made by the Chosen workers. But it was the job of the other group of workers to examine the toys before they were finished and sold. It helped to have people with so many different kinds of experience. Often someone could see how the Toy could be made in a better way. Sometimes they suggested an improvement. But more often they said that the Toy was just about as good as it needed to be, and they told the Chosen workers to finish it and send it off to be sealed.
Of course, these workers could not all work together in the same part of the Toy Factory. So they had different rooms to work in. Some called these rooms "Chambers". But the people who worked in them had a special phrase and would refer to the Chamber where the other people worked as, "An Other Place".
Sometimes the Chosen workers would have arguments amongst themselves. They argued about the Toys, and they even argued about the Inspectors in The Other Place. Some thought that the Inspectors did a good job, and that it was a good thing that so many different kinds of people were Inspectors. Others said that it was wrong that the Inspectors were not Chosen, even though some Inspectors were retired Chosen workers.
Life went on, I suppose one might say almost peacefully, until the making of one very Special Toy, which was the invention of one of the friends of the President. All agreed that it was a very nice Toy; a very useful Toy; and a very necessary Toy. So they set about making it. Even the Inspectors were happy with it.
That is, until one day when one of the Chosen workers decided to add another part to CDB. On that day, not even half of the Chosen Workers were at the Toy Factory. But enough of them wanted the Extra Part, so they put it on CDB, even though CDB worked better without it. Which sparked off a really big argument with the Inspectors.
All the newspapers had talked about CDB and its Extra Part. The result of this was that many of the people in the country wrote letters to the Inspectors saying what they thought of the Extra Part.
The Inspectors said that if the Extra Part were to be added, they would have to look at it very closely. There would be special scrutiny, with all the microscopes and micrometers and polution analysers and test equipment they could lay their hands on.
When the inspectors looked at CDB with its Extra Part, they talked about the letters they had received. Almost all of the letters were from people who did not want the Extra Part. So the Inspectors looked very closely at the Extra Part. "CDB is a very nice Toy," they said. "But this Extra Part spoils it. If we make Toys with parts that most people dont want, we shall be the laughing stock of the whole country."
So they removed the Extra Part.
Of course, this upset the Chosen workers. They did not like it one bit.
"What right have the Inspectors to go against the wish of the People?" said one. "The People chose us, not them. As soon as we get the time, well reform this out-dated way of making Toys. Lets tell those Inspectors that they cant work here any more. Well get some Inspectors who are Chosen just like we are. Then theyll do what we want all the time, and we can run everything."
Unfortunately, this worker had a short memory. Not so long ago, before enough of his friends worked at the Toy Factory so that they were allowed to choose the President, his group were complaining that the President ran the place on a minority. "Most of the People did not vote for his group," they would complain. It was just the same now, after a change of President. Although a very large group of his friends were Chosen, nearly two thirds of the People had NOT chosen them.
So what happened to the Inspectors? Those who had listened to what the People said when they wrote and told them what they wanted in the Toys. I do not know. My alarm clock rang, and woke me up.
August 1998 copyright.
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