Public Privateers
PublishedJune 3, 2011 CategoryBertie in Business

Public Privateers

It seems that virtue has, of late,
Not seven deadly sins but eight
To vanquish and eliminate
    In search of heaven’s nectar;
The most pernicious on the list,
Our Guardians of the Good insist,
Is one the moralists had missed –
    The evil Public Sector!
But none, more wickedly than this,
Brings virtue to the great abyss,
And poisons with its vampire kiss,
    Our economic vitals;
Nor prompts the Righteous and the Wise
To exorcise the Evil Eyes,
With fervent cries of ‘privatise’
    At gung-ho hymn recitals.
This high morality contains
But little to engage the brains,
Yet unflinchingly maintains
    The ethic it’s pursuing;
Whereby its druids blithely sell
The public bits performing well,
Thus freeing devotees to yell
    How bad the worse are doing.
Such fevered, self-fulfilling views –
That heads they win and tails we lose –
Are calculated to confuse
    The morally deficient;
Who, in their innocence, request
Why can’t the public keep the best
And sell the market all the rest
    To make them more efficient?
But gods, the Delphic priesthood says,
Move always in mysterious ways,
And privatising that which pays
    Is in the holy verses;
While that which runneth at a loss
The Central Office omphalos
Decrees its devotees should toss
    To the public purses.
And so, to meet this Holy Writ,
We saw the branch on which we sit,
Or amputate the better bit
    With sacrificial axes;
Fulfilling, as the priest intones,
The message written in the stones –
That all the public ever owns
    Are burdens on the taxes!
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