Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

Comes a time when your leader is Hell-bent on a scheme the rationale for which is utterly mystifying. In fact, it seems plain wrong to you. But the message from on high is that it has to be pushed through and you have to do the pushing. Willingly, enthusiastically, with your usual passion and zeal.

How do you get there? How do you summon the energy to override the natural urge to question, debate, argue, or rebel? Or to get the hell out of your office and run? Or to cross the floor and sit with the Tories? Or maybe even the Lib Dems?!

The only way to get there is to imbibe the same stuff your leader is on. You've got to "drink the Kool-Aid".

But the derivation of this expression tells you that drinking the Kool-Aid, is very uncool indeed. Fatal, even. Okay, so most of the 913 victims in the Jonestown massacre actually drank their poison in the less-memorable rival Flavor Aid (apparently a British knock-off). And plenty of people probably did survive the Merry Pranksters' LSD-laced cocktails featured in Tom Wolfe's "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" without lasting psychiatric issues. But you get the drift. When it comes down to it, drinking the Kool-Aid is about the last thing you will ever do.

So, people, next time Gordo and his advisory clique dream up one of those wild and crazy 10p-tax-abolition, 42-day-detention, ageing-vehicle-duty, let's-call-citizens-in-the-dead-of-night reform ideas of his while £500m worth of military helicopter sits motionless in a shed, please don't go rummaging for another can of the Kool-Aid. Get yourself strapped to a gurney and go cold turkey if you have to, but please say to the big lump, "Gordon, that's a really bad idea and I don't want any part of it. Let's do something calm and rational instead. Something that will save the country a shedload of public money. Let's get the whole cabinet into one of those mint condition Chinooks and fly out to meet the Taliban."

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