ACT TWO, SCENE FOUR -
New meeting room the ex-theatre space in the community centre
(Everyone is back in the room now, the table is laden with evil, poisonous foodstuffs, people are sorting themselves out)
MATT: Did anyone get to see any of the Olympics?
SUSAN: Donít talk to me about that waste of money?
CAROLINE: I actually was at the opening ceremony? It was superb, I felt proud to be British.
JAMES: Was it very expensive, your Ladyship? I heard it was a load of bloody ďCor blimey, Mary Poppins.Ē Oh and Double Decker buses, wasnít it?
CAROLINE: Well yes it was rather, but thatís not all. It was worth every penny. We really know how to put on a show.
CHARLIE: It wasnít as good as the Chinese one though.
CAROLINE: But they had thousands of unpaid people forced to perform in the opening ceremony. It is easy to make a splash when you are a dictatorship, or should I say Communist regime. Thats how the Russians kept the Cold War going so long, because they had so many people under the thumb.
SUSAN: Not much difference there. In fact we seem to be living in one ourselves at the moment
CAROLINE: Susan, what a bizarre thing to say. We have a very fair government at the moment doing what it needs to do to get us out of trouble. We all must pull together in our new Big Society. David, is doing a great job I think, if only Clegg would let him get on with it. I suppose the socialists need to feel like they have sort of voice.
SUSAN: When you say Ďusí , who do you mean? Not me and Enid I think, maybe not many of us here right now, I dare say youíll be ok though. Cos money attracts money and the Olympics attracts money too for those in the know or who can pull some strings. The scandal about the use of the stadium after the Games is typical of this countryís apathy towards corruption, it squeals about it for five minutes before something else becomes more newsworthy, the damn rich think they are above the law and can get away with dodgy deals.
CAROLINE: That is terrifically unfair Susan. I know the person you are talking about and she is a very respectable business woman. Itís the media who have it in for her. She is so sweet actually and adorable and often organises tickets for the football for my nephews. My husband had some business dealings with her and always said how good she was at her job. It is scandalous how the media go poking about in peopleís business affairs and start slinging mud before they get the whole story.
SUSAN: No what is scandalous is the fact that even in government there is corruption and double dealing
CAROLINE: Those MPís were within their rights to claim for allowances, they get paid so little for governing this great country,
SUSAN: The House of Commons and even the Lords is often empty when debates are taking place, seems that the lure of Big Brother and Hello magazine is all too much. Big Society is just dressing up massive wholesale cuts with a shift to community governance.
CAROLINE: Where do you get all these terms from Susan? The Open University does fill your head with such claptrap honestly. The Big Society shifts power to the people of course, a step too far in some cases in my view though. (glancing at Enid)
JAMES: So you mean, weíll give the public more power to decide things, make them happy, but provide much less money to put anything into practice, make them responsible for doing nothing in effect. Cloud Bloody cuckoo land as usual. It wonít ever affect Cameron either. Heíll be on the bloody lecture circuit when he goes even if he is forced out. Look at Thatcher she used to get a million a throw just for spouting her bullshit policies. And bloody Tony Blair. Heís paid in the region of £3 million a year to advise both JP Morgan, the US investment bank, and also Zurich International, the global insurer based in Switzerland. On top of that he runs his own consultancy firm - Tony Blair Associates - which advises the oil and gas rich governments of Kuwait and Kazakhstan. Done alright for himself I must say and all that for a Labour Prime Minister.
SUSAN: So called!
CAROLINE: Mr. Cameron is our saviour, heíll be remembered for it. The man who brought the Big Society.
JAMES: Letís hope its a good memory for the posh bugger.
SUSAN: Everyone has two choices: Ďsinkí or Ďswimí, oh apart from the poor, the old frail, the l sick and the dependent and of course those on the margins of society like Enid and me.
CHARLIE: Iíll be ok. I think I have a good pension. Although nothing is certain these days and ageism is alive and well.
MATT: I could say the same, in reverse of course.
CHARLIE: Itís the money men that ruin everything I wish more people would see that. They get everywhere nowadays. It didnít use to be like it. There was a time when sportsmen took part for the joy of it and to honour their country, (taking out his notebook and looking for a reference as he speaks) whereas now they just earn a small fortune and moan about it. That Wayne Rooney earns 16 million a year and in 2010 he didnít kick a football because of injury until the third week in November, yet he still earned £800,000. Do you know it would take most other people, earning £40k a year, 20 years to earn that much. Did you also know that the average annual income in the UK is £26k. And, this man has the gall to ask for our sympathy when his team loses. There is too much emphasis on money per se and too little on giving value for money. Heís got a bloody cheek I must say.
MATT: Here we go again. What has Wayne Rooney got to do with our charity? I donít know where you get your figures from anyway. Seems you must spend all your life on the internet uncovering all this conspiracy stuff. What bearing has it on our decision to accept Fuzzerís funding?
CHARLIE: I am interested Matt, in world affairs, not just my own.
ENID: Fancy admitting to having affairs. The man has no shame. Oo-la-la!
CHARLIE: Look where a reliance on credit has taken us all, we are in a global financial meltdown and all the governmentís can think of is a) more of the same, b) print more money and c) rip off the public to boost the coffers again. We are all supposed to go back to wartime austerity, stiff upper lip and all that. I never thought we would see those days again.
MATT: Itís not that bad Charlie.
CHARLIE: How can young people know?
MATT: I think it would be great if we could print more money cos God knows we need a shed load right now to get out of this shit weíre in.
CHARLIE: It is really naive to think that we can get out of trouble just by shifting budgets around and letting a multi-national company into this charity, especially one which has been caught operating outside the law. Itís stupid to think that either of these things are a long term solution to supporting our service users. This whitewash does not even make sense.
MATT: Iíve told you all that this is a great solution to our problem.
CHARLIE: It needs to be proved. We need to be convinced, we need the detail. I cannot see it myself.
SUSAN: I agree, I am lost with the new system, itís too vague, letís see the small print and if we as committee members donít get it how can we make a proper decision based on one manís say so.
ENID: I am confused too, but I do want my service to carry on
JAMES: They have a point Matt .
CAROLINE: I think itís despicable of you all to victimise Matt like this. I really do.
MATT: Well if you cannot appreciate my work and donít trust my judgement (beginning to hyper-ventilate, reaches for his Ventolin) I really donít know what to say.
(Exit, followed by Caroline)
SUSAN: Oh please, all we were asking for was more detail and a deeper understanding to help us make an informed decision. I think you are right Charlie; it feels like bullshit to me.