Issue 193 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published January 1996 Copyright © Socialist Review

Stack on the back

Every one's a winner!

'Well done, Ken. It takes a lot of bottle to finance tax cuts by hitting single mothers, and the homeless young. Phew, and you're a one nation Tory. You're also a prize STACK'

This is the time of the year when it falls on me to draw up my new year's honours list. The categories are the usual ones, and the competition as ever is great. So it gives me great pleasure to name the lucky receivers of a STACK (the award for Shits, Turds, Abominations, Cheats and Knaves). So here goes.

  • Michael Howard: For every family that he's happily torn apart, for every person whose life he's put at risk, for his excellent choice of Nigeria as a country to which it was perfectly acceptable to deport people, Michael had to top the list.
    When you add his stirring racist speeches, his hang 'em and flog 'em policy, his willingness to avoid responsibility for every bungle in his department, and his uncharacteristic soft heartedness when it comes to Holocaust revisionists, I'm sure you'll agree that this loathsome creature deservedly walks away with a STACK.

  • Margaret Thatcher: Well, the old girl has certainly shown herself up for what she always was--a money grubbing old lush. She peddles her wares around the world, merrily making the same old tired speech about the joys of the market, the wonders of unemployment, how good it feels to rob the poor whilst enriching the rich.
    Shame she's not around any more, isn't it? Funny old world! Enjoy your STACK, Maggie, if you can stay sober long enough to remember you've received it.

  • Kenneth Clarke: Well done, Ken. It takes a lot of bottle to finance tax cuts by hitting single mothers, and the young homeless. Phew, and you're a one nation Tory. You're also a prize STACK.

  • Cedric Brown: Cedric had a lot of competitors amongst the newly privatised industry bosses, but I think he should look on it as an honour won by all of them. His barefaced cheek in giving himself huge wage rises whilst demanding job and pay cuts from those who work for him made him a STACK pushover.

  • Camelot: Old Merlin couldn't have produced a better trick than this lot. Introduce a voluntary tax, privatise a chunk of its proceeds, and watch the cash roll in. No wonder Branson's green with envy. Since it's your year for winning things you can add a STACK to your windfall.

  • Jack Straw: Jack's had a bad year. It seems every time he walks the streets he's accosted by beggars and winos, and when he abandons walking and gets in his car, some scruffy urchin has the cheek to wash his windscreen.
    I know, Jack, the poor are an unsightly lot, aren't they? Still they'll all disappear under Labour, won't they? So it's only a short term problem. In the meantime have a STACK, and remind everyone that beggars can be choosers when it comes to elections. I'm sure they can't wait to have you in the driving seat.

  • Shell Oil: Now what a nice lot they are, looking after the environment, supporting good firm government, and ridding the world of truly evil people like... well writers, poets, that sort of thing. Yes you can be sure of Shell, and Shell can be sure of a STACK. Hope it helps you sleep at night.

  • The Royal Family past and present: Good lord, what a Nazi Uncle Ed turned out to be. Who'd have guessed it? Loved the bit about 'keep bombing them'. Yes, he really loved his people.
    Then there's cruel and unfeeling Charles. That's the sort of king we need, and of course Old Fishbone with her plastic hip(so brave!), not to mention HM herself, such a warm and loving person. Yes, for paying some tax you all get STACKS.

  • Princess Di: Can't help loving her, with her care and compassion for 'battered this and battered that' as long as the News of the World's there to capture it on camera. For speaking on behalf of 'women everywhere', while spending more in a week on cosmetics than many 'women everywhere' earn in a year, I think a STACK is well in order. Hope it brings light to your dark tunnels, Ma'am.

  • Jacques Chirac and Alain Juppé: This fine pair are in a spot of trouble as I write. Can't understand it myself. All they want to do is dismantle the French welfare state, and have a few dry runs at blowing the earth off its axis. Still, if the ungrateful French, won't give them any plaudits, I will. Step forward, you fine pair of STACKS. Better hurry before the gulllotine falls.

    Well, those are the awards for this year. Hard luck to the failed nominations who all but made it. John Major came close, but he already has a cupboard full of the things, so he was overlooked. Tony Blair was on the verge of receiving one, winning many nominations, but the feeling of the panel was that he'll be winning them for years to come.

    Yorkshire Water came very close, as did Mother Teresa, Will Carling, and the officious idiot who clamped my three wheeled Invalid car at Waterloo Station.

    On that note let us carry the struggle forward in '96.
    Pat Stack


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