Friday, 17 September 2010

Led up the garden path

There is a phrase my maternal Grandfather taught me when I was very small. I'd been trying to play with some of the cats he kept as mousers in the barn and gotten royally spagged for my trouble. Tearfully nursing the injury as small boys do, I explained when challenged that I had not been pulling the cats tail. At this point Grandad guffawed and said; "You're leading me up the garden path!" In other words, 'You're pulling my leg'.

The saying is a phrase with interesting provenance, as I regularly point out in various blog comments. When taken in full this little axiom appears in a more sinister cast. "You're leading me up the garden path to have my throat slit." Is the full version. It refers to the smallholder pig slaughtering practice, a yearly event that occurred in rural England (and France & Germany) well into the 1940's. The practice was a family affair, as these things often were. The womenfolk stood by to rapidly process everything but the squeal onto useful provender, and the menfolk and children did the slaughtering and butchering. The pig was led on a leash with many treats up the garden, usually up close to the kitchen door over a low stout piece of garden furniture called a 'Pig bench', a long low rough hewn piece of timber with four legs. The slaughterer would sit on the pigs back, effectively pinning it in place on the bench. Then with a sharp knife or cheesewire, make a large incision in the pigs throat, holding the struggling squealing animal down while it's life blood drained into a relay of basins held by the children, which were then tipped into buckets ready for making into the delicacy known as 'Black pudding'. When freshly dead, the pig was butchered on the bench and converted into sausages, bacon, and all the carnivorous delights therefrom.

Nowadays the practice is unknown because we in the west have mostly become divorced from our rural roots, yet the phrase persists. Why? Because the meaning is so often apposite when dealing with the entrenched political elite. Particularly when Mrs / Mrs / Ms / Whatever Voter is promised all sorts of nice things at election times, only to find their fiscal life blood drained ever faster by a hungry state.

Like the pig, voters are gulled into acquiescence until the horrifying truth becomes apparent. All the nice things promised by the political establishment turn out to be little more than a trail of goodies to the taxation slaughtering bench. The benefits of taxation so often go to someone else, and rarely the intended.

As those who voted the current US administration / for the EU in are rapidly finding out; big government = big taxes. They are finding out how far up the garden path they have been led.

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