"Sed fortuna, quae plurimum potest cum in reliquis rebus tum praecipue in bello, parvis momentis magnas rerum commutationes efficit; ut tum accidit."

C. Iulius Caesar - Commentarii de Bello Civili Bk III.68

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Don't go into the forest today

The list of candidates for the forthcoming election grows daily. Now Franciscus Apulus Caesar has declared himself a candidate for Consul. Under his stewardship, we are informed, Nova Roma will gain a new face.

What features one wonders will that face have and how much work will the plastic surgeon have to do to achieve Apulus’s goal of leaving us lucky souls his vision of a better Nova Roma than the one he found? More significantly when Nova Roma looks in the mirror at the end of his, thankfully as yet theoretical, term will it recognise the image that stares back? Does a new face mean just a makeover or will it require a trip to the cemetery like Dr. Frankenstein to remove bits of decaying corpses? Will he just take a complete new head and try and stitch it on? Will he just take the skin and drape it over Nova Roma’s current face? What is Apulus likely to do according to the available evidence so far?

This scenario sounds like some nightmarish fairy story. Do you remember the tale of someone called Hood, who had a Granny who lived in the woods? Well let’s take a trip into the woods with Hood to visit Granny Nova Roma.

The eyes of Granny Nova will have to be exchanged. Currently they work too well. Granny Nova needs new eyes; all the worse for not seeing the slide into modernity and the cess pool that is the European Union. They will need to produce blurred and shadowy images that lack focus and depth, for how else can she not see that she is being steered onto a road that does not lead to Rome, but to Brussels?

The nose will have to go to, all the worse for not detecting the whiff of EU corruption and the dank smell of a bureaucrat’s office and Brussel sprouts. The nose that would lead to questions being asked about where these grants are going to go that apparently Hood will be applying for on Granny’s behalf. What are these networks of organizations that Granny will have to join? Would the national activities be in Italy by chance? Would they be somewhere near “Barium, which is an ancient Roman municipium in southern Italy” by chance?

The hands must be made all the worse lest they grip the trees and bushes at the side of the road, in protest at the journey Granny is going to be made to make, when she decides later she doesn’t want to go into the deep dark forest along that scary road.

The ears all the worse in case they hear those voices of dissent that say “Stop! Go back!” and the teeth sawn down to stop Granny from biting Hood should she awake to the danger that she will be in.

We all have to hope that Granny Nova asks a lot of questions and demands that Hood draw her a clear and unambiguous map of the journey she is being asked to make. She is being asked to change direction, away from a straight and sturdy route towards the bright sunlight of Roma of antiquity and instead head towards Brussels down a narrow and rutted road through a very dark forest.

Granny Nova better be very clear that once she has her face lift there is no going back and that not all plastic surgeons know what they are doing. Promises of facial beauty rarely tell of the agony of the surgical procedure or the chance of failure. Better to be a somewhat plain and simple Granny than allow Hood to turn her into a misshapen and disfigured object of scorn and pity.

Granny, don’t go into the forest today.