*Author’s note: characters and events in this fictional account are intended to bear no resemblance whatsoever to any real person, event or circumstance, past or present.*
The last cheers died away. He waved at no-one in particular and turned to go back inside.
Another of the public shows over with. ‘Cheering for Heroes’ was one way of diverting the public’s attention from the real project.
It was permitted to cheer them. The ‘heroes’ would be given lavish praise and grateful thanks. Meanwhile, they would be starved of resources and sent to do their job with little or no protection. They would persist in their duty even as they suffered and died. It was enough to continually express helpless regret, lie about the availability of equipment or its imminent arrival, distort the figures.
Testing could help – could have helped – keep the numbers of sick and dead lower. They had dealt with that rather masterfully. In contrast to other countries, here they had delayed and then stopped, claiming testing was not useful. They had made it impossible. Bought tests which ‘didn’t work’ and so had to be thrown away, or sold on for gain. They had not tested the more elderly and frail sick ones, but simply put them with other vulnerable people so as to infect them.
People thought these failures incompetence, but it was all part of the plan. The more of the old and sick, of those dependent on the state, of the poor, infirm and so on, that died, the less the state would be burdened going forward. It was simple – if you were unproductive, you were expendable. It would mean more for those positioned to profit from the mess.
He waved again from the doorstep and adjusted the cuff of a lumpy, ill-fitting, off-the-peg suit. He did not enjoy wearing this. ‘Man of the people’ it was intended to say. But it was not like clothing from a proper tailor. He had shown his closest advisers the suit he wanted to wear. ‘Not the right time,’ they had said. At least he would be able to wear it when out of the public eye. Until the time was indeed right.
The public. They had fed them impossible promises, cleverly appealed to their deepest prejudices, so that this duped ‘electorate’ voted them in by an unassailable margin. ‘Turkeys voting for Christmas’ some said. That was putting it mildly, but the sustained assault on the public education system over the years had yielded a populace unable to exercise any critical judgement. Anyway, that ‘vote’ would be the last for a long while.
What these people really needed, and deep down, wanted, was a return to the ‘good old days’. Hard work – a hard life - and no need to think.
They deserved everything they got. They had allowed themselves to be ruled by degenerates and weaklings, with their ridiculous notions of human rights, equality, fairness, tolerance of minorities, votes that counted for something, truthful politicians. He scoffed at the litany. Free education and healthcare for all. Support for the sick, the disadvantaged, the disabled. Proper, sanitary, housing. Healthy food. Even leisure time. These must all go - fortunately there were many in the country who agreed. Or, at least, who had voted that way. At last, it seemed, the great masses would get their revenge on the lefties, liberals and do-gooders. They themselves might starve and die anyway, but it would be worth it.
Plentiful food and medicine - supplies of these would become a distant memory. And the new ‘elite’ – well they had been ‘chosen’ – would profit handsomely from the disorder and despair. Only those who could pay would be able to eat, or treat their illnesses. Everyone else could eat junk, chew aspirins and die of 20th century diseases.
He continued indoors, waving away the irritating flunkies requiring urgent decisions and action in order to heal people and save lives. ‘Not this day,’ he thought to himself as a trademark smirk passed his lips.
He retired to the privacy of his dressing-room. His despised bourgeois costume was discarded. He unlocked and opened a private closet door.
His ‘business’ suit awaited him. It was a beauty, tailored after a classic design worn by a great leader of recent history, his wartime hero. It fit him perfectly, and showed he meant business.
The sort of tailoring art that had produced these garments had almost died out. Men with such skills had been born in another country and had flourished there, until it had become obvious their future there was limited, at least in the short term. These craftsmen had fled and settled here, keeping the tradition alive – though even some here disdained their presence.
He slowly donned the sharply cut garments, the jacket and trousers, with highly polished footwear.
Reverently, he put on a black-coloured armband to show how much respect he had for the dead, and those yet to die.
The sharp creases of the black trousers and immaculate lines of the tan double-breasted jacket with its rows of silver buttons all reflected back at him proudly from the mirror.
As did the discreet black medal on the left breast, and the unmistakeable crooked symbol on the armband.
Perhaps he would not be leader for ever. But the party coming into being today would continue to sweep away the creaking old ‘democratic’ order, ensuring one of the faithful would always inherit the seat of power.
He came to attention and clicked together the heels of the shiny jackboots. He shot his arm forward and then back in a perfect salute, acknowledging the cheers, now for him alone, coming from the imaginary millions ready to be whipped forward to serve the new order of immense power, profit, and world-beating, ruthless, dominance.
© Anon 2020