Friday 26 July 2013

Men of Straw

One of Cneifiwr's favourite novels is a fairly obscure satirical work by Heinrich Mann, brother of the more famous Thomas Mann, called Der Untertan (The Subject), translated into English as Man of Straw.

The novel is set in Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II, and tells the story of Dietrich Hesseling, a provincial bigwig in a small town who is a member of a board of trustees of a local orphanage. In his royalist and patriotic fervour, driven by a desire to curry favour with his betters, our hero persuades the trustees that the orphanage funds would be much better spent on a large equestrian statue of the Kaiser's grandfather. Disaster ensues, both for the central character personally, but also of course for Germany itself (the novel was published in 1918).

The other day David Jones, Secretary of State for Wales, took to Twitter to say,

 David Jones@DavidJonesMP 22 Jul

As a North Walian, I'm massively pleased by the interest the whole world is showing in the birth of a baby to an Anglesey couple David Jones
This particular couple moved on a part-time basis to Angelsey in 2011. When young Kate was suffering from morning sickness at the end of the following year, she was whisked off to a private hospital in London, and the BBC solemnly explained that her delicate medical condition meant that she would not be able to return to the wilds of North Wales and the care of the Welsh NHS because of the risk. Just like any other ordinary Angelsey couple, then.

Not to be outdone in the royal grovelling stakes, Carmarthenshire County Council decided to use its very tenuous connections with the baby (his grandfather has owned a holiday home near Llandovery since 2007) to send the couple a special real nappy trial pack, as explained by Cllr Colin Evans (Lab) here.

Unfortunately the county council has broken up for two months of summer holidays, and so Cllr Andrew James (Ind) will have to wait until September to make a loyal address congratulating the grandparents who spend a few days a year at their modest cottage in his ward.

Dietrich Hesseling may be a grotesque character from the distant past in Germany, but his fawning British cousins are alive and well.

: HRH the Prince of Wales shakes hands with Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Kevin Madge, watched by county executive
"Pam would have been here, Sire, but she objects to Camilla muscling in."


Anonymous said...

You seem to think it odd that people travel to England for medical treatment, a different scenery or something new to do.

I live in Anglesey and like a great deal of the population here we are always travelling to and from England, and especially so when it comes to matters of a retail therapeutic or medical nature.

This is the great thing about the British Isles. Seek out the best, no matter where, and use as intended!

Cneifiwr said...

I wonder if a great deal of the population of Angelsey can afford £5,000 a night that it costs to stay at St Mary's Hospital? Pull the other one.