If I ruled the world, the first thing I’d do is appoint a good deputy.
But not an ambitious type; I wouldn’t want to spend too much time sniffing out rebellion.
To ensure job security, I’d also issue a decree making clear that this is a job for life. Any silly talk about parliaments or popular assemblies or any similar nonsense smacking of democracy would be quickly suppressed. The world is a big place. The only efficient way of running it is a dictatorship. So I’d made it absolutely clear that my role model is the Emperor in Star Wars; I always admired his management skills.
Having taken care of housekeeping, I’d get to work.
Australia? Sorry, I can’t spend too much time worrying about Australia. There’s a LOT of countries to look after. Australia, wait your turn after Afghanistan and Albania. Austria…you’re next.
I might, however, slip through a quick decree doing away with the states. I don’t know anyone who cares much for the notion of states — apart from Rugby League boofheads who go all maroon and blue around State of Origin time. Getting rid of states would eliminate an entire (mostly useless) layer of government and much duplication of jobs, not to mention tiresome bickering between federal and state governments. Incidentally, if those in the federal government saw this as a boost to their own power and prestige, I’d quickly put them straight. I’m the one in charge; they just get to play with some local projects with which I can’t be bothered.
Global. I must think global. Vladimir and Barack would have to be called in for a quiet chat to set them straight on this. Oh, yes, they can stick to their own agendas, their own backyards, but anything global — global crises; global economy, global warming, global village etc — that’s me. Butt out, boys. You too, Angela.
Truth is, I don’t want to spend my time putting out bushfires. I’m into the big-picture stuff. After all, what’s the point in ruling the world if you can’t think big? Broad reform and change; that’s what I stand for. Thinking globally, not local. Getting rid of needless divisions. First item on the agenda: languages. There’s way too many of them. We can’t all learn to get along if we can’t even agree how to say “get along”. No, I’m not thinking of reviving Esperanto as a world language. (So settle down, you bearded lot in cardigans.) The answer lies in technology. If we can get instruction manuals for DVD-players from Korea that almost read as if they’re in English, a Universal Translator can’t be far away.
I’ll get my Deputy on to it. After all, we can’t have him or her sitting around idly, gazing enviously at my splendid office.
But don’t think my backing for translating technology means I’m all for gizmos. I have grave concerns about our obsession with screens. So it’s time for a decree or two. No-Screen Saturdays are just a start. As for any couple seen gazing at separate screens while seated at the same table… gone. Finished. Go live with the screen if it means that much to you. And you, yes you, the one I saw bowling along the busy city pavement, eyes on phone, expecting everyone else to get out of YOUR way…Check out Decree 7A — the one about handing in your precious phone and communicating only by pen and pencil for the next month. You’ll get the hang of it.
Religion. Oh yes, I’m not shying away from that. Sorry, Your Holiness, you now answer to me (Though you’re still the one washing strangers’ feet around Easter). Religions divide people more than they unify. This isn’t a good thing. Another decree or two would do it: one about more sweetness and light; less hell and damnation and you’re-all-stuffed-if-you-don’t-believe-in-THIS. We’ll keep all the good stuff, though. Less fasting, more feasts. Could be fun, to get representatives of all major denominations together and get them to come up with a list of the good things they’ve always secretly admired in other religions. Imagine, for example, if you could mix the grand theatre of the Catholics with some great Jewish cooking!
Hang on, tycoons, I’m coming after you. Oh yes, you’ve got a Grand Leveller here. I won’t put up with the few who have too much while too many have too little. Give until it hurts, ladies and gents; you’ll still have more than enough to get by.
Every so often, I’m going to get petty and self-indulgent; take a moment or two off global issues just to sort out some things that simply bug me. This explains why anything ever recorded by Billy Joel will not be heard in my world. Nothing personal, Billy, just one of the perks of office. Sorry, Cher, you’re gone too. In fact, ANYTHING recorded with AutoTune is out. And those annoying people who swear that Prince is a genius, indeed quite possibly a God, will be exiled to a room where Purple Rain is on constant repeat. That should fix them.
If I ruled the world, parsnip and turnips would not be served.
Anyone not liking porridge, nectarines and/or honey would be treated with great suspicion.
All reality TV shows would be banned, especially those involving cooking and renovations.
We would all be good to animals.
We would treat older people with more respect, and those who make their money from gambling, casinos etc with much less respect.
We would spend no time worrying about frippery, such as fashion and how we look.
If I ruled the world, I…
IF? There is no “if”.
I AM the one in charge.
So I get to say when I’ve said quite enough.
Watch this space.
When not ruling the world, Alan Attwood is Editor of The Big Issue, which you all MUST buy next time you see a vendor. Though, of course, you do that already…