Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9: Sherlock Holmes and case of the troubled premier

The man brushed past Dr. Watson who was left holding the door in bewilderment. The man headed straight for the chair where Sherlock Holmes' bow was wandering languidly and aimlessly over the strings of his violin.

"Please help me," Mr. Holmes.

Holmes paused, glanced at his visitor.

"I note", he said, "you are a politician, and probably from the colonies. Tut, tut, sir. Don't look astonished. Your dress and air of importance, conbined with a posture indicating servility to some master are sure marks of  either a politician or a head servant in some great house.. But your accent would be quite unacceptable in any great house.  And your pronounced servility combined with the copy of The Moncton Times and Transcript in your pocket suggests New Brunswick. Pray, be seated, and tell me your story."

The distraught visitor sank gratefully into a chair opposite Holmes, while the master sat, fingertips touching, his eyes seeming to drill into the very soul of the wretched creature facing him.

"You must know," Mr Holmes, that I am the premier of a small but attractive province in Canada, and one that has produced great wealth. for some."

Holmes waved a hand. "Do not waste time on what I can learn from simple observation. Why are you here?."

"The leading businessman of my province has publicly humiliated me."

"Hear that, Watson," said Holmes. "That is encouraging," he added, turning back to the premier. "If you were a dishonest premier, he would have rewarded you with an ambassadorship to the US or perhaps a senior position in a bank. Obviously, he  has found it necessary to discipline you. For your behaviour alone, I am happy to be at your dissposal.

" But do not tell me of just one incident. That is a dreadful habit the press has, making each story meaningless by reporting it in isolation from the events that surround it. To understand any story, we need to see a whole picture, not just a fleck of paint."

"In the case of Haiti, for example, we had the story of a brutal dictatorship sponsored by the US government. Then the story was of the dictato's overthrow. Then of how Haiti was able to establish a democracy, and elect a president. The president announced an intention to build public schools and to improve health care. The US government made it clear is disliked him. A well-armed group of men who had worked for the dictator Invaded the defenceless country.. The US intervened (in the name of the UN and humanitarianism). The intervening UN forces did nothing to the rebels, but toppled and exiled the president. There is now a new prresident (elected while the country is still controlled by various armies). The new president turns out to be an old buddy of the former dictator's family; and the son of the dictator was invited to attend the inauguration of  the new president."

This was presented to us by our news media as isolated incidents, rather like a scatering of dots that are meaningless unless someone connects them. Just tell me your dots. Then, we shall  attempt to connect them."

The visitor paused, looked down for moment, then sat up manfully. "Very well. I shall begin with an organization  called The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies....."

Holmes raised a hand. "Watson, be so good as to fetch our file on the Moriarty web of subversive organizations....pray, continue, Mr. Alward."

(Here, the visitor who was, indeed, Mr. Alward, looked up in astonishment.)

Holmes smiled. "It is no great deduction. Your name and hotel are pasted on the back of your jacket. I saw it as you passed me to sit down.   Obviously, you have a history of getting lost and confused. So someone who cares for you has made sure you can always be retrieved and returned."

Mr. Alward smiled, then changed to a puzzled frown. "Now, where was I?"

To be completed May 10.

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