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When the Toad Came Home is a song for politicians everywhere

Readers will be familiar with the mole, badger, ratty and of course toad. The story of toad’s downfall after a fancy for motorcars, a run in with the police for breaking the rules, a stint in prison and an escape with the aid of a washerwoman. He gets into all kinds of scrapes while his faithful friends look on in despair. The weasels play their part, stalking toad and the others ready to pounce and steal. Eventually they de-possess Toad of his fine home and move in to have raucous parties. With the help of friends Toad eventually storms the place and takes back what is rightfully his and boots out the weasels. I’m guessing by now if you have read previous editorials you know where this is heading.

The Wind in the Willows could have easily been written today in the way it reflects society. Written by Kenneth Grahame in 1908 would you believe, as a bedtime story for his son. The animation voices for the animals included; Richard Pearson (mole), Peter Sallis (rat), Michael Hordern (badger), David Jason (toad), Ian Carmichael (narrator). All great actors and unmistakeable voices.

One could easily replace the names of these characters for politicians and people in the workplace today. Of course it is up to you to which character you attribute the politicians to or perhaps even bankers. Today has seen the announcement of £1,000 to care workers who are on the real living wage. Thats around £9.90 per hour as opposed to say a politician on between £60 and £100 per hour plus expenses.

Those who rattled their pans, clapped their hands and began to point out the discrepancy between fat cat wage packets and those of nurses and carers have gone quiet. Not a frying pan in sight.

We heard so much rhetoric about how the pandemic had highlighted the inequality and how that would change. And how it changed. A meagre pay rise for NHS staff, a £200 payment for fuel poverty and £1,000 for carers taking their hourly earnings if they work around say 60 hours a week, to 0.34p per hour more if you do the math.

Meanwhile our councillors who get a considerably better rate of pay  than that and our MP’s and our Members of the Senedd can really beat the living daylights out of that classy top of the range saucepan as the toad did to his cars because they are fully aware that they can afford another one. Throw in the expenses and there you have it. A veritable Toad Hall complete with weasels as in the wonderful writings of Kenneth Grahame, laughing aloud, living it up and safe in the knowledge that we unlike toad, the river-bankers, mole and badger will not be coming any day soon to storm the marble halls.

As we look towards the May council elections, this is the opportunity for us all to take a long hard look at those we elect. To really scrutinise their worth, their efforts on our behalf and to ask if they are really working hard for that extraordinary wage packet and expenses. If one finds that not to be the case, well then, one has the democratic right and choice to do something about it. The only drawback being that one would have to find another politician to take that place and as the process stands, one does not have the opportunity to interview said person as one would were one to employ such an individual.

I will end with those wonderful lyrics. Feel free to go out onto ones doorstep and sing aloud, bang a pan and toot a trumpet when your politician comes to knock for your vote. Don’t be tempted to use the pan for alternate means.

When the Toad came home
There was panic in the parlour and a pounding in the hall
There was crying in the cow-sheds and shrieking in the stalls
When the Toad came home
When the Toad came home

When the Toad came home
There was smashing in of window and crashing in of door
There was chivvying of weasels that fainted on the floor
When the Toad came home
When the Toad came home

Bang! go the drums!
The trumpeters are tooting and the soldiers are saluting
The cannons they are shooting and the motor cars are hooting
When the Toad came home
When the Toad came home

Shout! Shout Hoo-ray!
And let each one of the crowd try and shout it very loud
In honour of an animal for whom you’re justly proud
When the Toad came home
When the Toad came home!


Wind_in_the_Willows_(1913).djvu: s:Author:Kenneth Grahame, ill. Paul Bransomderivative work: Xxagile, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Bransom, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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