We all know what war's good for. To whit: Absolutely nothing.
But what about it's polar opposite, democracy?
According to a newspaper run by the Burmese military junta (who know a thing or two about what deomcracy isn't), democracy is:
Democracy is like the flame in a lantern, and wisdom is like glass sides that surrounds the flame. Fire is useful to man because it gives light. However it turns dangerous if is used without glass sides. It is because a fire can cause death and destruction. In other words, democracy is like the water in a dam, and wisdom is like the embankment of the dam. Water is useful to man. However it turns dangerous if the dam is in flood while it is without an embankment. If so, it can cause casualties and destroy property
If you'd permit me a little bit of political editorialising: What a load of bollocks.
According to my pal and comrade in arms No Good Boyo: Democracy is like the honey-filled mouth of a Thai go-go dancer, wrapping itself around your manly protuberance. Pleasant, but only until your wife finds out. And your wife, Burma, is a brutal and sclerotic junta.
That's a bit more like it. Democracy, we have discovered down the years, is a number of things. And, to this end, I have compiled a short list:
like a rabid, half-starved leap of leopards* set loose in a branch of TK Maxx on "Half price for Pensioners and the Immobile" day, fending off the flesh-rending vultures of indifference
like a buy-one-get-one-free offer on Garibaldi biscuits at your local supermarket, only to find one's joyful expectations crushed by the revelation that "squashed fly biscuits" means exactly that
like falling autumnal leaves, covering the rotting corpse of the electorate's hopes and dreams
like meeting some sexy nuns in a nightclub, chatting them up, plying them with various high qualityfortified wines, going back to their place for a bit of red hot communion and a kebab, only to find out that they're real nuns
like winning the British Grand Prix, only to find the Champagne bottle is filled with stale horse's urine, which you are forced to drink - DRINK - to the bottom
Democracy, people. Have at that, Plato, you rubbish dead Greek bloke.
* That's the actual collective noun, fans of pedantry and FACTs will note