The EU has finally figured out a way to solve all its problems in one fell swoop. Unrest throughout Europe? Finished. Euro crisis? Over. Recession? No longer.
All these problems are behind us, with a bright future beckoning but a few steps up the road. For the EU is about to pass a law capping bankers’ bonuses at an amount equal to a year’s salary.
This announcement filled my heart with so much joy that my mind emptied of coherent thought. Since filling an article with nothing but ‘hooray!’ ‘bravo!’ and ‘hear, hear!’ would compromise my intellectual integrity, I’ve had to seek outside help.
This came from a Russian visitor to London, I.L. Kutchaheadoff, former pickpocket, then Second Secretary of the GULAG Party Committee, currently a member of the Duma, owner of three football leagues in Britain, nine newspapers in Spain, an oil trading company in Zurich (registered in Panama, operating in Goa) and a Korean massage parlour in Courchevel. Mr – or rather ‘Comrade’, as he prefers to be called for old times’ sake – Kutchaheadoff kindly agreed to share his views. Here’s what he had to say:
‘Comrades! I, along with all progressive mankind, welcome the EU announcement. It’s about time bankers, those hyenas of capitalism, running dogs of usury, skunks of imperialism, had their ears clipped. If Comrade Marx were alive today, he’d be happy, even though in an ideal world his preference would be to slash not bankers’ bonuses but their jugular veins.
‘However, much as I’m happy about this measure, I hope this is only the first of many. Didn’t Comrade Mao teach that a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a small step? So I’d like to take this opportunity and recommend a few subsequent steps, nay giant leaps on the road to our glittering future.
‘As far as caps go, a year’s salary is meaningless unless we also set an upper limit on said salaries, for example €15,000 a year. This is far in excess of the average wage in Saransk, Comrade Depardieu’s new hometown, but for the time being we must allow such iniquity.
‘The EU must then ban the charging of interest on bank loans, and our forward-looking English comrades have already taken a step in that direction. This measure was also proposed by Comrade Marx, but for appearances’ sake we can refer to the Old Testament instead – with apologies to Comrade Marx, who not only disliked both Testaments but also hated the Yi… I mean persons of Hebraic origin.
‘Since the banks will then become unable to produce surplus value, they’d have to be nationalised once and for all, with operational control passing on to the Financial Union (FU for short) and the regional EU Secretary.
‘Also I couldn’t help noticing, comrades, that your shops sell goods for considerably more than what they pay the manufacturers. This outrage must be corrected immediately, along with the anarchy reigning in the retail trade. Not only do shops overcharge the toiling masses, but they also choose their merchandise. This has to stop. The EU Central Committee must issue pan-European circulars mandating that, for example, shoe shops may not carry more than three most popular styles (e.g. jackboots, bast sandals, felt knee-boots). Ideally, shoe shops should sell no shoes at all to avoid complacency on the part of the toiling masses.
‘Neither should manufacturers who supply the shops be allowed to make what they wish, charge what they want and pay their employees whatever they fancy. To follow on my example, Church’s (to be renamed ‘Party Committee’s’) shall sell only the three styles of footwear specified above. They’ll pay their managers no more than €10,000 a year and will charge no more than €5 for a pair of stylish jackboots.
‘But this means de facto nationalisation, I hear you say. I agree with you, comrades; such palliatives must be outlawed. That’s why both industry and retail trade must be nationalised de jure. This means by an EU Central Committee decree to be greeted with mandated enthusiasm by the toilers of Europe.
‘Our English comrades have already nationalised healthcare, making the NHS the largest employer in Europe and fifth largest in the world, and I applaud them. It goes without saying that this progressive model must be followed across Europe, with private medicine banned once and for all. Doctors’ pay shall be calculated in line with that of a cobbler or a medium-level banker (€10,000 a year being the benchmark).
‘The English, who’ve seen the error of their imperialist ways, are also planning to introduce control of the press, telling the papers what they can’t write. My fur hat’s off to them. But their plans, commendable as they are, don’t go far enough. Tell the hacks what they can’t write by all means – but they also have to be told exactly what they must write. This is called telling the truth (Pravda in my native language).
‘Education? Here too our English comrades are leading the way by turning On the Origin of Species into the gospel of science, just as Das Kapital must be reinstated as the gospel of economics. To be on the safe side, however, all books that disagree with the two gospels (including the so-called Bible) must be removed from school libraries and, ideally, burned.
‘Pupils must be taught only those subjects that will enable them to advance the common cause: iron casting, gold exploration, uranium mining, laser guidance, barbed wire manufacturing, goose-stepping, money laundering. If asked, I’ll be pleased to draw up the detailed curricula.
‘And don’t get me started on publishing… Oops, have to run, comrades. There’s a recalcitrant editor who needs sacking and an anti-Marxist blasphemer to be execu…, I mean re-educated. One last thing before I go: shouldn’t the EU be renamed the EUSSR? Think about it, comrades. And keep up the good work.’