Monday, May 23, 2022
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The children of Mrs Jellyby

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MORE than 150 years ago, Charles Dickens coined the term ‘Telescopic Philanthropy’. It described the world outlook of his character in Bleak House, Mrs Jellyby. She cared passionately for all the children in Africa while her own offspring wandered hungry, angry and ill-clothed in the London streets except when she harnessed them to join her and fellow philanthropists on the platforms of world-betterment meetings.

Thank Heaven these things don’t happen nowadays and no responsible parent, priest, politician or philanthropist will ever again care more for people thousands of miles away than for those they’re actually responsible for.

Imagine our Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, neglecting the parishes of England and forgetting to preach salvation through the crucifixion of Jesus in order to distribute the money collected from his parishioners to the CEOs of Oxfam and suchlike and promote the Inclusivity of Islam.

Imagine Mr Justin Trudeau destroying the livelihoods of thousands of Canadian truck drivers, farmers and the women and men who sent them money, while preening himself in front of the cameras of the international media to promote the Canadian Ideal of Democracy in Russia and the Ukraine.

Imagine Mr Boris Johnson, prime minister of the United Kingdom, flying by private jet to Poland to promote Net Zero as a means of ending certain violent misunderstandings between a couple of that country’s neighbours and offering to accommodate one hundred (or is it two hundred?) thousand Ukrainians at an estimated cost of £10million a day while England is languishing beneath a debt that can never be repaid due to his country’s well-considered, scientific response to a virus that possibly never was?

Imagine the Prime Minister of distant New Zealand, Ms Jacinda Ardern, promoting World Unity through the benevolence of the selfless billionaires in the World Economic Forum while dividing her own countrymen and women into the Vaxxed and the Unvaxxed, which twain shall never meet again!

Imagine Mr Biden, president of the world’s wealthiest-ever country, taking in migrants by the millions from all over the world and generously disabling its carbon-belching natural resources, while bankrupting his huge land and its entire future in just one year!

No, these things have changed immeasurably.

Our world has become a far better, happier place than in those bad old Victorian times when rich people rode roughshod over the workers who fed them. The heroes and heroines of the New Order seduce the hearts and siphon the money of their electorate with immaculately crafted television appearances, only now and then backed up by baton-wielding police. Our world achieved a wonderful improvement when Telescopic Philanthropy was replaced by Telegenic Philandery.

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AW Edensdale
AW Edensdale
A W Edensdale is an Anglo-Canadian writer.

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