Our local newspaper, the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, has a regular column entitled 'Foolscap' - a collection of disconnected jottings with a humourous edge that as often as not, pokes fun at local worthies, but occasionally produces the odd real gem.Such was the case this week, with the tale below ....
A TALE for our times. One day a wealthy tourist arrived in a small town, let us call it Nethymore.
He walked into the only hotel, laid a £100 note on the reception counter and went to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one.
The hotel proprietor took the £100 note and ran to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher took the £100 note and rushed to pay his debt to the pig farmer.
The pig farmer took the £100 note and ran to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel. The supplier of feed and fuel took the £100 note and rushed to pay his debt to the town's 'lady of the night', who in these hard times had given her "services" on credit.
She ran to the hotel to pay off her debt with the £100 note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.
The hotel proprietor then laid the £100 note back on the counter so that the wealthy tourist would not suspect anything.
At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, picks up his £100 note saying that he does not like any of the rooms, and promptly leaves town.
No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.
And that, dear reader, is how our Government is doing business today – and possibly a leisure company near you.
There's no denying foolscap's story made me smile - definitely better than reading the news. But, of course, the flaw in the argument is that the hotel keeper didn't actually get to keep the £100 note, so he is still out of pocket. So the paradigm here might just be that the hotel keeper in this story is you and me - the taxpayer. The banks still pay their executives big bonuses; the Westminster crew continue to fiddle the books; companies get rescued; like the transfer market in football, the money just keeps moving round - and the fatal flaw is that it's our money, but there's precious little chance of our getting it back, whilst the dole queues continue to grow. How much would we give for the rich tourist - a one G Brown Esq - to take his money and leave town?