Friday, May 13, 2016

The Fall and Rise of the House of Salim - 7

Prime Minister Salim

The returns came in slowly, in part because Salim's party was having to buy ballots all the way to the end. In several cases they found they had bought too many, but in a few they found they had not bought enough. However, even this was to the good, because where they lost, their proxies argued that this showed the election was fair. “Wouldn't we have bought enough votes?” And at least enough people believed this.

In the end, more people decided they loved being bribed, than they hated bribery, and Salim was given the first chance to organize the new government. However, because he needed help from so many small parties, there was a great deal of negotiating to do.

The returns came in slowly, in part because Salim's party was having to buy ballots all the way to the end. In several cases they found they had bought too many, but in a few they found they had not bought enough. However, even this was to the good, because where they lost, their proxies argued that this showed the election was fair. “Wouldn't we have bought enough votes?”

He also called in a famous economist from America, an expert on the Great Depression. He told the economist, “I want you to help me, and advise on how to create a Depression here in Longwindia.”

The economist said “Why that would be the wrong thing to do.”

“Yes, which means I am sure it is the right thing to do.”

So the economist came up with a plan for a new depression in Longwindia.

The new government was installed, by only three votes, and Salim stood up and said:

“In the past several years, there has been a great deal of torment and trial in our nation. So I promise that in this new government, there will be economic tranquility.” There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shook bells and small cymbals.

“For too long money has gone to the undeserving. Under this government, I promise that people will get what they deserve.” There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shook bells and small cymbals.
“All my life I have had to work very hard, and I have learned that it is better to put your trust in God, than in yourself. So under my government, we will put our trust completely in God.” There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shook bells and small cymbals.

“Finally, I remind everyone, that I have learned to live my life by believing that the right thing to do, is the wrong thing to do. No one knows more about how to take care of himself, than himself. So I promise you, under this government, you will be totally on your own.”

There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shot the person with the bells and the cymbals.

There were more cheers.

“I promise I will feed the poor.” There was a loud prolonged ovation.

“I promise I will make our people stand tall again.” There was a loud prolonged ovation.

“I promise to govern by the same principles that I have lived my life, that are here in this holy book.” He put his hand on his copy of the Koran, with all its changes. There was even more loud cheering.

After the speech, everyone agreed that they had never heard such a marvelous speech in all their lives. A week later, the Nobel Prize committee voted him the Peace Prize, the Literature Prize, and the Economics Prize, so impressed was the whole world by the wondrous changes he had promised to bring.

The second election was nowhere near as interesting or exciting as the first, and Salim found himself swept into power, with enough seats to govern without coalition powers. His advisors said the right thing to do was to bring in other parties to the government, so that they would have every reason to support what he did. The nation was in crisis, the told him, and it was essential to have as much support as possible, even a government of national unity.

Salim thought about this, and wondered if it was really the right thing to do, or whether his advisors were advising something that was really the wrong thing to do that they hoped to profit from. So he decided to do the easiest thing to do: he announced that he was giving parties the unprecedented chance to put their country first, and prove that there was no corruption involved at all in their decision. He said that he would allow any party to join the government, but that none of them would get any portfolios. Several parties joined immediately, and Salim was convinced that these parties were weak, because they had done the right thing.

So the next day, with an even larger majority, he said that if a party wouldn't do the right thing for the country, that they would have to do the right thing for their voters, and said that any budget would have no money for any of the districts that were not members of the government. “Why should people who vote against the budget get any of it?” Everyone in his circle of advisors said that this was the wrong thing to do, and this convinced him that all would work out.

Surely enough, the country supported him, because, of course, most people hoped that if there were less for some, there would be more for others. One by one all the other parties joined the government, except for one religious party whose cult required that they vote no on everything. So Salim commanded the parliament 537-1, with the President of the house not voting, and what is more, soon afterwards the religious party representative was assassinated by a concrete contractor, who dropped a block of concrete on the member, and his entire family. They were buried using a paper shedder, so flat were they.

At the end, Salim was almost an absolute dictator, as several Prime Ministers before had essentially been.

With this, he called his cabinet together, and said:

“I am not a very intelligent man, there are many of you who are more intelligent than I am. I have learned over the years, that when my wives took care of money, and God took care of my destiny, that would be best. That people scheme and think, and God laughs, putting barriers in their way. What is more, I went to the West, and studied under their great wise men, and they told me that being greedy and selfish is the best course. So, we will govern by my father's wise words, who knew all of this without leaving home, and that is 'The right thing to do, is the wrong thing to do.' In this one phrase is all of the knowledge of the world.”

“I read the great American sage, who said that the government is the problem, and so it will be. Under my premiership, the government will be the biggest problem possible, and that will unleash the creativity of the public.”

“So I am asking you, as the collected sages of the country, to propose for the legislative program, and to do in your own departments, the worst things you can imagine, because these will be the best things to do.”

“Does that include taking bribes?”

“Saves the public on salaries.”

“Does that include selling state equipment for our own benefit?”

“You will be richer, and someone will use it better than the government.”

“Does that include forcing the women who work under us to be our Mistresses?”

“I have always found that matters work best, when men run the world, and women run the men. A woman who is capable enough to have a minister under her thumb, is at least as capable as the minister. Then we will have two heads for the success of the department.”

“What about living in luxury?”

“Why then you will be hiring servants, and building mansions, and throwing lavish parties, and that will create jobs for so many deserving people. In fact, I will make it the official policy of this government; that members should show the world how well we can live. It is that way in every other important country.”

And so it went, with the cabinet asking about all of the misdeeds possible, and each time, Salim gave them an explanation as to why the wrong thing to do on the surface, was really the right thing to do.
So they left, energized, and eager for the life of reward and luxury that was coming.

The parliament was meeting in a few days to confirm the new government, and Salim realized that he would only get one chance to pass a massive program that would change the country forever. He had learned from his first term that too much tranquility is not good for his legacy, and so he told his advisors to create a plan that would be a bold expansion of private jobs.

Finally they gave him a secret plan, and he put it forward to a secret committee. Parliament was given a chance to approve or disapprove of the plan, but without any details. He spoke to the nation and told people that either they were in favor of jobs or not, since the secret plan was the only plan that would be submitted.

The parliament overwhelmingly voted for the jobs plan, believing, at the very least, that they were saving their own jobs.

For four long years, well actually three, things progressed pretty well, because tax hikes reamed the poor, and who cares about them? So Salim was duly re-elected. But things got worse after that, with plummeting tax revenues, and with a great deal of runoff slush pile. Even by the end many prominent figures were saying that they would vote for the other guy. To make a very long story, by the time the election rolled around people were miserable as a whole get out. So they elect the other party which promise it would keep corruption down, a little bit, and they would monitor it so it wouldn't be more than the economy could handle. But just a little bit. A month before he would've gotten about that would be manageable to his party. Then the crash hit, and only the believers denied it. The result was that the other man won, and by the substantial amount, though there were many true believers who would vote for the man they were supposed to.

So dizzying was the man's victory that no one talked about Salim anymore. It was truly that bad. Though many of their followers turned out to for more corruption anyway.

God is good!  God is great!  But don't stand too close, or your nose will get caught when he slams it shut.