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The Squirrel and the Grasshopper

0 comments | 3:10 pm | top |
Found a copy of the Squirrel and the Grasshopper fable updated for today's political scene over at www.yobbo.co.nz.  I've improved on it, and here it is below...

Rest of the world version:
The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the Summer away. Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed. The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.



The New Zealand version:

The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. He works long hours in his small business, paying 39% tax on top of increasing costs from pointless red-tape introduced to increase Government spending.  Even after all this, he manages to donate regularly to the charity of his choice.  The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed. A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving. Then One News shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper; with cuts to a video of the squirrel in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food. The New Zealand papers inform people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty.

The Labour Party, Green Party, P.E.T.A. and The Grasshopper Council of New Zealand demonstrate in front of the squirrel's house. One News, interrupting a cultural festival special from Ponsonby with breaking news, broadcasts a multi-cultural choir singing "We Shall Overcome". Michael Cullen rants in an interview with Mark Sainsbury that the squirrel has gotten rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate increase of the top tax bracket, taking it up to 45% so that citizens such as the squirrel will have to pay their "fair share" and also increases the charge for squirrels to enter Auckland city centre. In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The squirrel's taxes are reassessed. He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders, for the work he was doing on his home and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work.

The grasshopper is provided with a council house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile. The squirrel's food is seized and re distributed to the more needy members of society, in this case the grasshopper. Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home. The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to New Zealand as they had to share their country of origin with mice. On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of New Zealands apparent love of dogs. The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempted bombing but were immediately released because the judge deemed that it was unacceptable that the cats had been exposed to advert featuring a puppy on the wall of the interrogation office.

Initial moves to then return them to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice. The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from peoples credit cards. A 60 Minutes special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel's food, though Spring is still months away, while the council house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain the house. He is shown to be taking drugs. Inadequate government funding is blamed for the grasshopper's drug "Illness".

The Government immediately launches an Nationwide anti-drugs campaign, "cool grasshoppers don't do drugs", which consists of a website, adverts on thousands of bus-stops throughout New Zealand, as well as a countless number of little pamphlets.  The campaign is budgeted at $40,000,000 and is dropped shortly afterwards, due to a perceived lack of value.  The Government introduces a steep increase on road-user-charges for Diesel vehicles to try and raise funds, but claim that the increase is necessary to maintain roads throughout the country.  Grasshopper truck-drivers are granted an exemption from the tax due to their unique relationship with Mother Earth.

The cats seek recompense in the New Zealand courts for their treatment since arrival in New Zealand. The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a resthome-burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks. He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him. Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery. A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost $10,000,000 and state the obvious, is set up. Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers and legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased. The asylum seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching New Zealand's multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats.

The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose. The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison. The Government reacts by imposing a ban on party-pills, claiming that they were the cause for the Grasshopper getting into harder drugs.  They call for the resignation of a minister. The cats are paid a million dollars each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in New Zealand.

The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.


And Whaleoil has done another variation here.

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