Political Fables: Tony Blair's The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Once upon a time - a very long time ago, in fact - there was a beautiful and great land with green hills and lush green pastures. Within this land, there was a village and within that village lived a young shepherd boy.

He was the youngest head shepherd in generations and was a good looking, boyishly handsome young man. He was charming and intelligent, with a purer than pure heart and good character, and wanted nothing more than for his sheep to prosper.

So, when a big, bad, wolf threatened his sheep the young shepherd boy cried out to the village, “Wolf! Wolf!” The villagers came running out and he explained that the wolf was intending to privatise their heathcare, make children work up chimneys and other bad things. So the villagers, trusting the boy’s sweet smile, put an end to the wolf.

This meant the boyishly handsome young shepherd boy was free to privatise health care himself. Although the villagers and his sheep protested, he explained, quite rightly, “I’ve dealt with the wolf, I’m the good guy!”

Some time later, whilst out in the wilderness tending his flock, the young shepherd boy happened upon another shepherd from a wealthier village over the hill. This boy was not as charmingly good looking as the first, but he tended a much larger flock. So the young shepherd, dazzled by the other’s wealth, ensured they became firm friends.

The wealthy shepherd told the boyishly handsome young shepherd that all was not well throughout the many villages of the charming and lush green land. Far to the east, there was a very nasty wolf, who intended to do them harm with his wolfy weapons of mass destruction. He also had lots of gold, and, most importantly, oil but that didn’t matter. The young shepherd boy agreed with the wealthy shepherd boy; they ought to destroy this wolf at all costs.

The young shepherd boy cried out to his village, “Wolf! Wolf!” But this time, they were reluctant to help and many good people spoke against attacking a wolf who had done nothing to them. They said it was unlikely that a wolf would have chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Moreover, there were many nasty wolves in the world, and they couldn’t go around killing them all. It would be exhausting.

But the young shepherd boy felt that destroying the wolf was the right thing to do. So he replied that he was a pretty straight kinda shepherd and produced a dossier that said the wolf could attack them within forty-five minutes.

The villagers were convinced, and the wolf was slaughtered brutally and had his head placed on a pike. The shepherd boy from the wealthy village over the hill was happy, and together they had raided the wolf’s village for its remaining oil and gold.

All was right in the world.

For a brief moment, he wondered if all of this was his fault

So it was really not on when the boyishly handsome young shepherd boy returned home to a barrage of questions and inquiries about the lack of weapons of mass destruction. “Come on guys,” he said, “I’ve killed the wolf, I’m the good guy!”

But the young shepherd was eventually forced to leave the village for a while, at least until things had calmed down. In that time he did was most former shepherds do: joined the board of huge multi-national investment banks, made paid speeches and advised autocratic shepherds how to keep their flocks in check.

Upon his return, the young shepherd discovered the village was under threat from another big bad wolf. This one was making various promises of wealth, such as giving three hundred and fifty million gold pieces to the NHS. Every week.

The young shepherd boy knew this was nonsense but it was only once the villagers had invited the wolf into the village that the young shepherd boy knew it was time for him to stand up and tell everyone how wrong they were.

“We will rise up!” he shouted, “We will fight this big bad wolf!”

But this time the people of the village merely jeered him and threw rocks.

For a brief moment, he wondered if all of this was his fault.

He wondered: should he really have said that the first wolf was trying to privatise the NHS when the issues of healthcare in a 21st century democratic society were amazingly complicated and he was going to do it anyway. Also, should he have said that the other wolf had weapons of mass destruction when he wasn’t really sure. Perhaps if he hadn’t said these things, the people of his village wouldn’t have lost all faith in him, and then lost faith in all shepherd boys in general.

But then he realised that, of course, they were wrong about him. He was a pretty straight kinda guy. He was the good guy. Whatever that shabby new shepherd Jeremy said about him.

“I tried,” he said with a shrug. Then he walked along the path towards the wealthier village over the hill, where he would be able to live out the rest of his life as an after-dinner-speaker.

The boyishly handsome young shepherd boy ignored the cries and screams of his flock and the people of his village as they succumbed to the big bad wolf, and he lived happily ever after.

More about the author

About the author

As well as contributing to Disclaimer, Holly has published several comic short stories with Black Coffey, and has been known to write and perform stand-up comedy at festivals and charity gigs. Her first play for the radio is in production with Frequency Theatre, and she is currently working on a full-length play for the stage.

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