Once upon a time there were three brothers and sisters. The biggest, David, had just become head boy at school and had lots of ideas for things he wanted to do. The middle one, Harriet, was a form prefect but was a bit naughty and didn’t expect to stay one for long! The smallest, wee Angus, was in the first form where his class was the noisiest in the whole school.
Angus always wanted more and more. In fact he wanted so much he didn’t even want to be in the same school! He wanted his own school. So when David came up with his ideas of new things to do, Angus thought ‘If I can stop him getting what he wants he’ll have to let me get what I want.’ He hadn’t really thought it through but it sounded like a good idea.
One day David said, ‘I want to bring in a new sport for the sixth year.’ It was a rough sport. It was a tough sport. It wasn’t very nice but it was only for the big boys.
Harriet and all her friends hated it and said they weren’t going to support it.
Wee Angus knew he was never going to play that silly sport and didn’t really care about it. But he thought, ‘I’ll get my class to oppose David and then with Harriet and her friends we can make sure it never happens. Then I’ll say to David “See, I may be wee but I can make trouble for you unless you let me get my own school. Nah-nah-na-nah-nah.”’ Well, he didn’t say that last bit but he certainly thought it.
Although he didn’t really like his big sister, he shouted at her across the playground, ‘We’ll support you on the silly sport so we’ll expect you to support us on the separate school.’ But Harriet was busy with lots of other things and didn’t take any notice of him.
Then, Harriet and her friends and Angus and his friends all said they didn’t want the new sport and IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!
Some of David’s friends were a bit upset but do you know what? It turned out that David didn’t really care that much about the new sport after all and had lots of much more important things to do.
Angus went to David and said, ‘See, we can stop you getting what you want. If you don’t give us our own school we’ll do that again.’ David didn’t say anything but just smiled.
Then Angus went to Harriet and said, ‘We helped you with that sport thing. Now we want your help with the separate school.’ But Harriet explained that she wasn’t a prefect any more and he’d have to speak to the new prefect, although she wasn’t sure who that’d be and, to be honest, she thought they’d be more concerned about something she called ‘existential.’
Poor Angus! He didn’t even know what ‘existential’ meant and he thought he’d been so clever. All he could do was go back to his own class and tell them his big brother and his big sister had let him down. Again.
And they were all very unhappy for a long, long time.
The moral of this story is: don’t count your chickens if there’s a more clever fox around.
Written, obviously, before the government deferred a vote on foxhunting. See also SNP Grievance of the day No. 25.