I don't suppose Friar Tuck is thinking about my students' EMA money or their English lessons, though he may be worried about Sherwood library. Nevertheless, after telling us us for weeks that selling the nation's forests was a splendid idea, the Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has actually said "we got this one wrong", so no doubt the Merry Men are celebrating with some serious quaffing round the bonfire right now.
It was only last week that that my glittering brand new Tory MP informed us in a letter that was as long as it was pompous how Government plans for the sale of woodland had been subject to bias and disinformation (though she didn't mention the Archbishop of Canterbury by name), and how private ownership of resources was a jolly good thing. And, she suggested, objection to flogging Piglet's house was only intellectually consistent if one also supported public ownership of water, electricity, public transport etc. In fact, I do. She said also that private enterprises worked better. But have you caught a train lately? If so, what kind of mortgage did you take out for the ticket, and have you arrived yet?
The Coalition are trying to get us to think of public ownership as Big Government, hence all the guff about the Big Society. It's true the last government went all cctvtastic and took liberties with civil liberties. That all felt a bit Big Brother and we don't want that either. Yet, public ownership is the Big Society. Will they end up saying they got that wrong too once it's obvious there's no money for it? Well, Tony Blair never admitted the Iraq war was wrong . All the same, isn't David Cameron on a bike going down hill shouting "Look no hands!" while the rest of us are going "Wow, no brakes"?
Oddly enough, I've had a few letters from David Cameron, so fair play to him - he'll obviously get his ideas from absolutely anywhere. Here are a few samples.
"Alec, how about privatising the armed forces? People could buy shares to invest in our brave lads."
Nice one Dave, intellectually consistent. The trouble is soldiers are losing their jobs at the moment because of the ... ahem ...cuts. Anyway, the Queen won't like it, though I suppose you could privatise the monarchy.
"What do you think of some sort of team game where people could come together for a bit of a singsong or watch it on simply huge TVs, or all get together in a park somewhere to learn about Big Team spirit and competition?"
No Dave, that's football. It's already privately owned by foreign billionaires, though don't tell the fans.
"I've come up with a sort of Big Spiritual idea. have like big places were people all promise to be nice, help the Big Society and maybe live for ever. We could have a posh brainy chap in fancy clothes, with a curly stick or something and a beard like Father Christmas and Dumbledore to head it all up"
I'm not sure you're getting the idea of 'idea' Dave. You've just invented the Archbishop of Canterbury - and he waggled his curly stick at the idea of selling off the woodlands, if you recall. And his boss is the Queen, strange though that may sound
"How about me and Cleggers disagree then, on something that isn't going to happen, such as changing the voting system? Then we can say "look, we're mates, right, but not identical twins or something."
Now you're talking (oh, so's Nick Clegg).
"Great, and all those foreigners that we can't exactly say we don't want - what about making them learn Big English."
You (and the previous government) have taken the money away that's pays the teachers to teach the people who need to learn English. It's no good just sticking Big on things that are going to disappear anyway for lack of funding. It's no use trying to lay claim to to something you're laying waste.