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Home | 2016 | July

UK politics grassroots guide

Posted by Thersites on UTC 2016-07-01 10:29.

The distasteful sight in the United Kingdom of members of the Conservative party now jockeying for position and influence in the party irrespective of whether they were Leavers or Remainers in the recent referendum is generally dispiriting, at times nauseating, as in the case of a piece in the Telegraph the other day by Liz Truss – a mere week ago one of the most vocal and vituperative Remainers – who now announces that Boris Johnson, figurehead of the Leave campaign, is the only man for her. What a difference a week makes in politics!

In such moments of political revulsion this blog recommends summoning the shade of Maria Theresia (1717-1780). The great Empress ascended the throne at one of her Empire's darkest moments and survived against all odds. Permanently menaced by the Prussian, she led her people through troubled times with a sure instinct. She was regal but had an unfeigned common touch that endeared her to her subjects: she was loved, so that despite all the tribulations there was a deep, ineradicable bond with her people.

Uncountable was the number of girls christened Maria Theresia in her lifetime and afterwards – what child today would deserve the odium of being named after any of our present masters? Her death was a moment of heartfelt grief for all classes of her subjects. Her reputation as the 'Mother of her People' has lasted untarnished for the more than two centuries since then.

In our degraded public life, in which an odour of moral decay hangs about most of our leaders like the hum of rot around an unemptied dustbin in summer, we should remember Maria Theresia's example and ask ourselves: what would she have done in such degenerate times? She certainly left us with some helpful tips on the interrogation and treatment of the criminal class. Are these things that could be useful against our overbearing political class?

Regulations for the use of torture in the Criminal Courts of Austria (1769). The following extracts all come from appendices describing the instruments of torture that were to be used in the criminal courts of the Empire for the purpose of interrogation.

We have extracted some examples of the instruments and techniques familiar to Maria Theresia that the British people – the 'grassroots' as they are called by politicians, that term suggesting quite openly that they are there simply to be trampled upon – may find useful in the reformation, education and improvement of the political class.

Note that all the equipment when used correctly leaves the victim alive and relatively uninjured, so cannot be faulted for its humanitarian aspects. Our purpose is not to harm anyone, just cheer ourselves up a little bit in these depressing times.

Once you have acquired one of these devices you will find there is a regular supply of victims: candidates for Parliament and local councils as well as pollsters and other riff-raff who turn up on your doorstep unannounced. If the odd salesman, pirate builder or gay vicar lands in among this group, so be it – some might regard that as a plus. Should any of these people dare to complain, no jury will convict.

Roping: cheap and cheerful

Want a simple start in grassroots political participation? Don't want to spend too much until you are sure it's for you? Roping is the ideal place to begin. No constructional skills required; a length of sturdy rope and a sound stick are enough. Guaranteed fun for all the family.

The thumbscrew: simple, hours of amusement

For those with DIY skills what better place to start than thumbscrews? Shown here is the design used in Prague, a sophisticated, easy-build, energy-saving solution which can be unreservedly used to remind politicians who their master is.

Note the position of the thumbs, which for safety with maximum effect should not be inserted too far into the device.

A soundproof room such as a cellar is advisable. When the device is properly used according to the instructions there should be no blood-spatter (cleaner-friendly).

How far to go with tightening? The general rule is that as long as victims begin their answers to your questions with phrases such as 'Let me be clear', 'I'm glad you asked me that' or 'Look,…' then tightening by at least another quarter turn is called for. A simple 'yes' or 'no' answer might be rewarded with some slackening and when these clear answers are expressed consistently you might consider removing the clamps. Hand victims a stiff, inexpensive brandy, tell them 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and send them on their way, happy and enlightened.

The legscrew: amusingly known as the 'Spanish boot'

Requires some engineering skills but, once constructed it is a low-maintenance, blood-free device that will give its owner many hours of pleasure. A soundproof room such as a cellar is advisable, though.

Racking: full-featured, but you're worth it

If you have space to spare and can dedicate a room permanently to this device you will be the proud possessor of a state of the art piece of equipment. Go on, impress the neighbours!

Note that the victim's arms have been tied behind his back, meaning less force has to be employed by the person on the wheel.

When dealing with specially deserving cases a bundle of lighted candles makes for an effective and inexpensive extension of functionality. For safety reasons this extension is best used in outdoor installations, such as on the terrace next to the barbie – always a hit with neighbours and friends!

That extra touch with the bundle of candles [inset]. Not quite as emission-free as the simple method, but well worth the extra trouble.

A word of caution

It's best to keep souvenirs of your sessions such as photographs, video and audio recordings off social media: such things can lead to misunderstandings. Some dullards might find your selfies with terrified politicians less amusing than you do.

Your souvenirs are best revisited after watching or listening to any of the infamies that pass for political broadcasting these days. After hearing the first few screams your mood will immediately brighten.