A message from Uncle on the eightieth anniversary of the Wall Street crash, transmitted on the Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation from Homeward Castle.
Eighty years ago today the Wall Street crash set off an unprecedented financial panic that led to the great depression.
Last year the world was faced with a big financial collapse which again triggered a global recession. Times are still tough, but thanks to my timely action and injection of capital – Global Capitalism has been saved.
Luckily, the economy of Homeward has never been in recession – and never will be whilst my treasury is full to the rafters!
As you know, I have come down hard on the bankers of Badgertown who have been responsible for much of the troubles that have beset us – however whilst we need to get rid of the excesses, let us not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Bonuses were not the cause of the credit crunch. I have therefore agreed to allow certain bonuses to be paid to all bankers who are behaving themselves. This will be in the form of luncheon vouchers redeemable in all my restaurants!
The battle to stop this global downturn becoming a second great depression is being won. And this isn’t happening by accident. It is being won because of the massive investments I have made in all the rubbish banks around the world.
I will be working with European Union leaders in Brussels this week. What matters is what I do.
Sharp practices by lenders such as Beaver Hateman - such as threatening people with clubs and duck bombs - will end.
Remember hard work, responsibility, integrity, good citizenship and fairness are my watch words.
My pledge to you is to make naughty bankers behaving themselves a reality and to see Homeward’s economy grow even more by the turn of the year.
I wish to make it clear to all my supporters that this story in The Badfort News suggesting that my celebratory balloon flight over Badgertown was a hoax is a hoax.
As you will be aware, the flight was arranged tocommemorate the anniversary of my purchase of Homeward.
I wish to make it clear that it was myself holding the balloons and that at no time were the citizens of Badgertown in any danger.
Some commentators have suggested that it would not be possible for balloons of such size to carry my physical weight. Apart from the impudence of impugning my svelte physique they are scientifically incorrect.
The Balloons contained Gleamhound's heavy gas - designed to be used by astronauts to counteract the effects of lack of gravity. This, of course, like all Gleamhound's preparations has the reverse effect and is an extremely buoyant in air.
As for the claim by The Badfort News that I said in a television interview that "I was just a stuffed dummy you know" - this was taken entirely out of context. I actually said "The flight was all in the aid of charity, you understand. People are always trying to get me to do good works but I am very choosy about the causes I give succour to. I like to play an active part rather than hand over large sums of money - some people just want a famous figure to front their campaigns but I will not be treated as if I was just a stuffed dummy you know"
It has been a most difficult week - beset with much troublesome news.
At the beginning of the week, I was out for a drive around the moat of Homeward.
I got distracted by a mobile phone communication from the Old Monkey - he had just recieved news that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. I, of course, had been predicted as a dead cert to win it this year, and my faithful retainer wanted to know if I wished to cancel the celebration party that he had organised.
"No, of course not!" I declared "There will be no sour grapes here at Homeward, the chap needs a bit of encouragement!...even if he has not actually done much yet!"
Somewhat distracted by this news, I was brought back to earth with a crunch!
I had accidently run over a motor bike which some fool had left in my path.
As luck would have it, it turned out to belong to Beaver Hateman.
As you can imagine, he was somewhat incandescent with rage.Particularly as oil now spurted all over him.
I was in a bit of a rush to get back for the party, so could not stop.
"I'm Uncle. You know where you can get me." I shouted.
"I kno who you bloomin' well are alright! the elephant with a history of destroyin' bikes! You don't give two hoots for anybody else's property, do you?, you capitalist tyrant!" he screamed at me.
Such an uncouth fellow.
The party was not quite as I had hoped - I was glad that the speeches in praise of my good works had to be foregone - I always find them so embarrassing, but it has to be said that it all fell a bit flat as we tried to think of nice things to say about Barack.
The week then got worse. The dwarfs were absolutely furious when two spacecraft crashed on the moon - narrowly missing one of our Helium 3 mines. This determination of the people of earth to discover lunar water is becoming increasingly annoying and I am incensed that they are now "bombing" the moon.
Luckily, we managed to muffle the plume of rock and dust that the Nasa scientists were hoping to record - so they have no data. I wonder how long we can keep the existence of water hidden from them, however.
Then to cap it all The Badfort News ran a story about a £3bn mistake in my budget plan. I am very cross with my librarian, Will Shudder, as this cock-up is all his fault. He misread a paper, in my library, on the savings to me made from raising the dwarfs retirement age from 100 to 105. A very sensitive issue, as you can imagine. Luckily, it is of little importance as I discovered a corner of my treasury that I have not looked in for years - and there was £4bn worth of gold bars in it!
At least the week ended well, as I gave a jolly good speech, if I say so myself, to the assembled crowds at the "Praiseworthy Pachyderms" Conference.
"I see a Homeward where more dwarfs grow up with security and love...I see a Homeward with entrepreneurs everywhere...I see a Homeward without the threat of big bad Badfort!"
There is a steep climb ahead. But I tell you this: the view from the summit will be worth it. Let me tell you what I can see. A labyrinth of skyscrapers and multi-coloured towers connected by a fantastic network of tunnels, secret passages, water chutes, lifts and railways, and littered with oil lakes, fountains, walls of sweets and towers of treacle. Yes, Homeward, in all its glory! and I see roast oxen,ham, bunches of bananas and lashings of cocoa!"
There was a stupendous cheer! - thats what one needs in difficult times - a bit of showmanship!
Tomorrow, I am having a party to celebrate the anniversary of my purchase of Homeward.
In commemoration I have penned a specially commissioned letter to my shallow, reckless, cocky younger self, published in the Homeward Gazette.
First things first, how are you? On second thoughts, don't answer that. I know exactly how you are feeling. It is the Sixties and you are frustrated, exhausted and worried sick. Life at this moment is not great. Yet just a few years ago, you felt like you were the king of the world!
However, your dazzling reign has been marred by the Badfort Crowd to say the least.
It is a bad time to be, what the hippies and revolutionaries call, a bread head. You have to wear the right T-shirts; you have to wear the right badges. You are doing none of these things. You are distinctly Not Cool.
You are depressed and your confidence is in shreds.
You feel that everyone is laughing at you behind your back. Do you want to know something, Uncle? That's because they are.
One day you are walking through Homeward for a meeting with some of the dwarfs who run your mines. As you turn the corner you hear one asking another 'What does Uncle do all day?' The other dwarf answers: ’He sits on his fat arse all day like all capitalists.'
You say nothing but inside you are thinking: 'My God, is that what they really think of me?'
But you know what? It is they who are wrong.
You have this idea that society is going to change and you are going to play an incredibly important role in the future of capitalism.
Soon there will be no shame in running a very profitable business.
But this is all some way off yet. At the moment, Uncle, I am afraid, you must continue to suffer.
How did you get into this mess? To find out, we have to wind back the clock even further, all the way back to when you first came out of the jungle and bought Homeward.
From lowly beginnings, you worked your way up the ladder by sheer guts and determination.
Then, came the opportunity to buy the great castle of Homeward from Wizard Blenkinsop.
In those days, you think you are a hot-shot with your own vast domain. You are overconfident, far too cocky and dressed from head to toe in expensive clothes. Oh, nothing but the best for you Uncle! It hasn't dawned on you yet, with great wealth and tenants comes great responsibility.
You believe that everything is just going to get bigger and bigger and that you are an intrinsic part of it all. You are up there, riding so high, that you cannot see what is really happening.
What the hell is that outside your castle? Please don't tell me it is a Traction Engine? Doh! Of course it is, what else could it be? This is embarrassing. You are making me cringe.
The worst thing is, what I think now is that you haven't earned the right to be driving around in a traction engine like that.
You are too shallow and self-obsessed to appreciate the proper beauty of that traction engine. That kind of discernment and perceptiveness will eventually come to you, but it is a long way off.
Your Traction Engine was nothing more than a 30mph status symbol.
I vividly remember one day - it seems just like yesterday - when you are having a meeting with The Old Monkey about late payment of rents and your knuckles are white with tension and anger. You notice this, and it disturbs you.
'What is happening to me?' you ask yourself.
If I could speak to you now, I wish I could tell you not to worry so much. I wish I could let you know that everything is going to turn out fine. In fact, Uncle, you have absolutely no idea of just how fine it is going to be. But I can't help you now. You just have to get on with it yourself.
As usual it was The Old Monkey who gave you some sage advice 'Uncle, Sir,' he said, 'don't ever blame anyone else if things go wrong. You're in charge, so it's your fault.'
It may sound an obvious bit of advice, but it switches on a big lightbulb in your head. It changes the way you think. Never again will you indulge yourself by thinking that it's poor little you against the world.
From now on, you lead from the front.
You may have managed to purchase Homeward at a very good price, but this was because Wizard Blenkinsop was well aware of the hard work involved with running such a giant enterprise.
You decide to step up to the mark and make a proper fist of it.
So here you are, a little battered and bruised but at last heading in the right direction. And I must say, despite everything, I am quite proud of you, Uncle.
Sure, you can be a bit stubborn, but when it really matters, you know when to listen to yourself and stick with it.
You slash the rents on your many tower blocks, and learn to fully exploit the resources of your astonishing kingdom.
You become known as a great benefactor and supporter of many charities.
The acceptance of neo-liberal economic policy around the world leads to you becoming feted worldwide.
You're happy, you're content and just incredibly grateful for where you are.
For you never imagined, not in your wildest dreams, that you would become well known all over the world.
Yet, your reputation now precedes you.
Your injection of funds into the world economy has led to you being hailed as the saviour of capitalism. No summit would have meaning without your presence.
You, now, even find the Badfort Crowd an amusing distraction, as their traditional left-wing antics have been rejected by the modern world!
However, you have been working flat out since you were 14. As Dad always told you: 'Work hard and be a good citizen!'
You have earned the rewards of a selfless life devoted to the advancement of the citizens of Homeward.
Next week, you are throwing a fabulous bash to celebrate the anniversary of your purchase of Homeward. Your great friend, Dearman, being the largest retailer in Homeward, is organising it for you but, contrary to some reports, he is not paying for it. Uncle, you would never let anyone pick up that tab. Are you kidding? Old habits die hard.
You are tremendously excited about this party. When you were a small elephant, your parents lived next door to one of the bosses at YubYubTree Gold Mine. You remember peering over the garden wall and seeing the likes of Wizard Blenkinsop at a fabulous party.
And what you remember, most vividly, is that you wanted to be at that party. You wanted to join in. Well, this time the party is all yours. It is going to be a great night. Well Done!