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Divide and rule

Dear Prime Minister,


(I bet you weren’t expecting that!)

But really! I would like to humbly thank you from the pit of my stomach for your wonderful accomplishments. You are indeed a great leader of men and women.

My story is a simple one. I first came to this country hidden in the back of a handcart. There was no reason for this, apart from the ferry was quite cheap and air-travel was common.

But when I arrived at Dover I had no worldly possessions other than my stamp collection and a pair of Soviet flip-flops (little did I know back then about public decency laws).

What I’d left behind was Stalingrad, a city full of contradictions, contraband and Communism, all numbed by litres and litres (and litres) of cheap vodka. When I wasn’t hungover I worked all the hours Stalin sent, shredding official documents using an official shredding machine (in modern parlance, I was a civil servant) and life was generally intolerable.

But enough of this light hearted gambol down memory lane. Let me get to the point of my letter.

For a generation we tried to accomplish what you have done in a few years, that is to denigrate the professional classes, to expunge them, to flush them from their burrows, to force them to retire or to close their businesses and move overseas: to demoralise and dehumanise them through fear not only of the state, but of each other.

You, my good sir, have been able to achieve this effortlessly and your methods have been excellent.

Stalin himself would be pleased. And I know from firsthand experience that Stalin was really really hard to please.

Keep up the good work and always remember, tomorrow is another day but yesterday’s tomorrow is today and the day before yesterday’s tomorrow was yesterday.

– Mr Strugatsky

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.