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Mr Grabs*

Mr Grabs sells himself for gold,
works on the formula: “pay peanuts, get monkeys.”

Mr Grabs, no monkey himself,
trots out the formula: “want the best?
then pay the most.”

Mr Grabs, not interested in narrow gauge,
goes along with the argument:
“if we don’t, then somebody else most certainly will.”

Mr Grabs sees himself as part of the real world,
the world that he and his type have constructed—
a world of: “the more you have the more you’ll need.”

Mr Grabs, when his time is up, will leave by the broad gate—
no needle’s eye for him, he’s only needled
when it’s suggested he might be just a little bit greedy.


Mr Grabs, as you see, is not such a rarity after all.
Given half the chance (and he reckons on this)
we’d all be Mr Grabs, so where’s the shame?

*Dedication: To the Tony Blairs of this world.


The Bonus Boys (and girls?)

Mr “M” of the airports industry
forewent his annual bonus this Christmas
(they say he raked in over one million quid last year).

Mr “M” is small fry in the bonus stakes compared to many
(some scoop up millions, billions—what’s in a ZERO figure
either way in this sort of atmosphere?)

Meantime in eons of meantimes, millions starve
and perish in the cold—bear that in mind all you bonus hackers.

We salute you gallant gentlemen (and gentlewomen?)
of the golden purse—make the most of it,
and at journey’s end at the narrow gate,
the rest of us spare a dime
to ease these genial moneygrubbers on their way.
. . .  


The distance between two points (two cities if you prefer) may be expressed in linear measure or the time taken for an item to travel from one to the other.

On the latter I am not quite sure what it is hoped might be achieved by decreasing the travel time between locations beyond a certain practical level. As you are no doubt aware fast travel comes at the cost of higher fuel expenditure and so faster travel is not necessarily the most efficient way to go, economically. (Here in Orkney, for example, the Scottish Parliament has suggested ferries run at half-power in order to save fuel!)

There is a more fundamental point at issue here, namely the proliferation of human mobility in an overcrowded world. When the time taken to travel from A to B decreases to zero (an impossible scenario but the "point" is well made), the two places, A & B, become one and the same. In other words our liveable space reduces to zero.

It is possible through supersonic air travel to have breakfast both in London and New York on one and the same day. What we are effectively doing by speeding up travel times is to "shrink" our habitable living space. That on an already over-populated planet is lunacy.

(JCV March 12 2010.)

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