The Holy City by Trevor Plumbly

The New Jerusalem

I’ve never had much trust in the value of history, but there’s a lot to be drawn from the Bible, especially where politics is concerned.

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden about to eat the forbidden fruit

It’s election time down here and the harvest awaits those who still believe politicians control access to the Citadel. Personally I don’t: I lost faith in promises when Spot Simpson’s sister told me she’d never done it before and the school dentist told me it wasn’t going to hurt; these are difficult times for those of us blessed with a smidgeon of cynicism. MMP decrees that there be many gates leading to the Promised Land, which seems straightforward enough, but the keepers all offer a different backhander, which ain’t. Forget the old fiery pit stuff, these guys are all give! Confused? Don’t give up yet. Out of the four, three have occupied the inner sanctum for a few years and not made any appreciable difference, while the fourth spent the time rattling his entrance out of spite, moaning about the state of the country. It’s hard to justify freedom of choice prior to judgement day; it seems to bring out the worst in people, not least politicians, and for some perverse reason we love it! Chuckling knowingly during debates and musing over blandishments as if they were biblical tablets rather than blatant bribes.

The gates are open wide

To reach the holy city, it’s necessary to pass through one of the gates. Unlike St Peter, the gatekeeper’s job is to entice you in rather than vet your scorecard. This is the NEW New Jerusalem (for celestial choir, read sales team).

Cain clubbing his brother Abel to death. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve

Gate 1 leads to a land of equality devoted to nursing the hungry in body and spirit. Here, all will be fed, in a paradise born of honest pay for honest toil and a society loosely based on the parable of the loaves and fishes.

Gate 2 is for the Darwinists, exhorting all to ‘pull their socks up!’ a theory based on the assumption that everyone had socks to start with. Their testament is based on the premise that the goodies in life are best trickled down from the top, which is fine if you’re up there with a few bucks, but for the rest of us it’s an anti-social lolly scramble.

Gate 3 leads to the fields of plenty. Here sheep may safely graze, knowing they’re not going to get the chop and trees just about hug you back. Smoke is tolerated in roll-up form, and only the sight of a plastic bottle raises emotions above the warm fuzzies. It is, I feel, a contented place, but I wouldn’t go there for excitement.

The land beyond Gate 4 is difficult to define until you go through it, and by then it’s too late. It’s by far the best option for the each-way punter, promising bits offered by the others, but committed to fight the nasties of life like criminals and welfare cheats. The residents rely on shapechanging, but prefer to call it flexibility.

There are some smaller gates but they don’t really lead anywhere.

Lead us heavenly person, lead us

Pontius Pilate symbolically washes his hands of making a decision about Jesus’s fate

Moses probably had it easy; apart from tapping rocks and parting seas, he was a no-nonsense sort of bloke: “There is but one God!” and all that. Things got a bit complicated when his son came down to sort things out, provoking a row that’s still going on, which illustrates my point: same as in the good book the more options on offer the more confusion and strife. Selling the gospel is vital prior to judgement day and the flock need to be set on the true path; the best way to do this is to jazz things up a bit. Biblically, this was quite simple, in the old book pestilence and flood did the job and in the new one they used spiritual conjuring tricks that I can’t quite explain but trust me, the parallels are there, along with the characters:

Mary at Gate 1, tough but somehow maternal and beyond reproach

Gate 2 was Cain and Abel, now it’s just Cain, a little confused, probably wondering who needs topping next

Adam and Eve do Gate 3, the garden paradise, serpent free and planted with carbon credits

Gate 4 is Pilate’s, hands blood free from their tri-annual scrub; he’s still convinced that power and wisdom come as a package

Fishers of persons

Mary, mother of Jesus

I’m not going to read manifestos or listen to all the claptrap this time. I’ll stick to the good book, it’s all in there. Read it folks, it will bring political enlightenment: these guys invented betrayal, double-dealing and all that stuff, after all these years it still tells it like it is. Old geezers like me don’t need multiple choice with politics or religion, it just confuses us; left or right, upstairs or down, that’s all we need, no farting around in the middle. I’m on hallowed ground here folks, they can warble everything from “I Know My Redeemer Liveth” to “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”, but I’m not going to join. As far as voting goes Mark Twain had it right, “If it made any difference, they wouldn’t let you do it”. The good book’s the answer, at present I’m half way through Genesis and judgement thus far seems to be directed at individual transgressors. Them was the good old days!

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