On April 15th, new contributor to the Menzies House beat, Toby Ralph, penned a satirical piece entitled ‘Kill the Poor.’ It was an ironic response to the Labour government’s push to tax the superannuation of the ‘fabulously rich.’
As someone who has been not-so-fabulously poor, I’d like to level the playing field with a little bit of good-humoured sparring and poke Toby in the eye with a little satirical slap-stick myself.
Mind you, I wasn’t offended by his hilarious idea that we ‘cull’ the most marginalised of our society. You see, doing time in the trenches might not pay the bills but it imbues one with a very thick skin.
Mr Ralph’s inspiration came from an essay written in 1729 by Jonathon Swift who suggested (with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek) that the poor Irish should improve their condition by selling their children to the rich for food.
So as the ‘fabulously rich’ are singing ‘Let them eat cake,’ while plotting ways to do away with us, we, the riff-raff, the plods, who drain the system and put nothing back (except hard labour and our chimney-sweep swathes of children) are chanting ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity,’ while we sharpen the blades on our guillotines.
Toby Ralph described those who would be taxed in the superannuation sting as being ‘mugged.’ Hello? When was the last time a fat-cat got mugged? They swan about in chauffeur driven cars and don’t make a habit of walking down dim alley-ways (unless they’re on their way to a brothel with the company credit card).
When Ralph talks of the meagre contribution by the working and under classes, he trivializes the unpaid labour and ground roots work that goes in to running this country. We may not fill the coffers with huge political party bribes, I mean donations, but we hand over our hard-earned cash to charity whenever our communities are hit by floods and fires and we donate of ‘ourselves’. Priceless.
Toby, you speak of the dispensable ‘indolent students, hapless single mothers, lower order drug dealers, social workers, performance artists, Greenpeace supporters and those employed in the heavily subsidised manufacturing industries.’ But in the real world outside of fat-cat Disneyland, things would get mightily messed up if you nuked this lot.
Fat-cats listen up! Your nannies and housekeepers would be gone and you’d have to figure out how to change a diaper and plug the vacuum in. The kindergartens would all be shut because the workers who wipe your kid’s butts and teach them how to play nicely would all be gone.
The environment would go to hell because you’d have no Greenies to regulate and monitor your frenzied bingeing on natural resources.
Your social workers would be gone? Really? And all those nasty drug dealers? Where would all the Dapper Dan’s get their weekend fix of cocaine? You’re just as likely to find a hopeless drunk or drug addict on a board of directors as you are in the Rooty Hill RSL. Only the quality differs.
Indolent students? If you wipe out the lazy students or those borrowing against the government financial loan scheme, you’ll have to shut the universities.
The hapless single mothers? One of ‘them’ raised Barrack Obama. Maybe you’ve also heard of J.K Rowling?
And without performance artists, you big dill, Canberra would be empty!
The benefits of wiping out the plebs as you suggest, include - traffic moving faster due to lack of windscreen cleaners and grand opportunities to turn homeless shelters into inner city wine bars. Sounds like a plan! But who’d serve you?
Hospital waiting lists would plunge, you say. Unlikely because all those underpaid shift-working nurses would be gone and frankly, they do most of the work in the hospital system. You’d be cleaning your own bed-pans and dressing your own wounds while getting your jowls cosmetically tightened.
With such arrogant wit you suggest the ‘remains’ of your dead poor-folk could be recycled into premium dog food or blood and bone to fertilize the new National Parks which will flourish over abandoned housing estates.
As someone who has wiped the tears from my son’s eyes after he was bullied by a barrister’s son at the local skate-park for being a ‘houso’, I’m not offended. No, not at all. That barrister has been struck off the register now and his son’s in jail for murder and frankly, I wouldn’t eat a biscuit made out of either of them if I was starving on the street.
Our kids, at least, are free-range, while yours are brought up in the unnatural light of privilege and short-sighted elitism.
Here’s the rub. Don’t worry about your big fat nest egg. You don’t live any longer than the rest of us and you’ll rot in the ground beside us.
You’ll just be leaving it to your kids who probably see you as little more than an easy inheritance (which they’ll indubitably squander). Bear in mind that while you’re fantasizing about eliminating poor people, you’re kids are probably dreaming of eliminating you.
So, as an alternative, I suggest we kill you facetious fat-cats. The dreaded superannuation tax might mean you’ve got to sell the second beach house or cut back to only one overseas trips a year. The horror. So let us put you out of your misery. We’ll use our hammers and sickles to take you down.
Your limousines will then be employed to deliver groceries to the house-bound elderly. We’ll transform your mansions into rehabilitation centres and comfortable shelters for the homeless. Your trust accounts and super can provide extra support for single parents and their children and set up more facilities for those challenged by mental illness and disabilities.
And without all you pompous elite, we’ll be able to welcome more battlers to our shores. Instead of setting them up in barbed wire prisons we can treat them to your holiday resorts in the Whitsundays and put your juicy shrimps on the barbie for them, with crates of VB to wash them down.
So take heed. Apparently it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
I’d really enjoy seeing a fat-cat try to squeeze through a needle.
Oh, but that’s clearly just daft.
Nikki McWatters has at various times been an indolent student, a hapless single mother, a Greenpeace supporter, a social worker, a performance artist, a lower order drug dealer and she has worked in ground-floor manufacturing. She has not to date, killed anyone, rich or poor.