Fables have been associated with Christmas celebrations and pageantry from time immemorial, lightening and brightening this festive occasion for countless millions of people across the generations. The development of a modern day fable therefore is big news and can be expected to resonate across the globe.

The origins of this fable can be traced back to a convivial dinner shared by two public identities in a little Island State in the Southern Hemisphere, around Christmas time early in the new millennium.

They were there to discuss, among other things, a subject near and dear to their hearts: how to exploit business opportunities and achieve greater fame and fortune (particularly the latter).

History will record their names simply as Big Red and Little John. Although unintended, their dinner discourse was later to establish the foundations of a modern-era fable that will be told and retold down the ages. Some of their dinner conversation is recalled here under:

BIG RED(BR) The fracking TV and radio, instead of covering important stuff, are full of fracking crap about a bloke in a red cape riding across the sky in a sleigh, pulled by fracking reindeer of all things. Who believes in this sort of fracking stuff anyway?

LITTLE JOHN (LJ) Christmas is big business: films, video clips, records, toys, plays, cards etc. Worth billions annually.

(BR) Here we are trying to squeeze a bit more wealth out of our industries and the citizenry are wasting their hard-earned on this fracking stuff. No wonder the economy is stuffed and we are all struggling!

(LJ) If you can’t beat them – maybe we should join them? The economy here is totally buggered anyway so we need to come up with something new that will wow the market and generate some serious wealth. For the State of course.

(BR) Waddaya getting at – how the fracking hell could we get in on the Christmas rackets?

(LJ) Rolf Harris has given us a clue: six white boomers to replace those Norwegian (or whatever) reindeer. What if we came up with something Taswegian that was so startling, so outrageous, that is would have universal appeal – capture the imagination of people everywhere.?

(BR) What are thinking?

(LJ) I’m thinking …..along the lines of ….. a white elephant that flies.

(BR) A white elephant that flies? Everyone knows what ‘white elephant’ means and it aint one that flies! It’s outrageous alright; but what’s the Taswegian connection?.”

(LJ) We could say she was liberated from the misery of zoo life and while in captivity in our State wonderland, miraculously grew wings to fly to freedom. A legend would be born right there!

(BR) SHE? SHE? Why a fracking female?

(LJ) “Because our market competition is male. Think a white-bearded gent called Santa; white boomers and Rudolph the reindeer. We have to differentiate our product. We could call her “Elle the flying elephant”. The name Elle conjures up images of form and beauty and grace. The Female Lobby would love it. Mothers everywhere would talk to their kids about the beautiful Elle. And it would be an opportunity for cartoonists, film-makers and writers to adopt more contemporary themes – like showing Elle dropping the kiddies’ presents down chimneys out of her trunk. And with elephants now an endangered species, we could raise their profile by focusing on their plight. The possibilities are endless! And the world is crying out for a new super-heroine.

(BR) You and white elephants – boggles my mind. But I’m warming to the idea. We could develop a theme park bigger than Disneyland: film studios, toy-making factories, entertainment, golf-courses, and 5 star hotels – the whole shebang. And we of course would control all the licenses. Everything! The only danger for us would be drowning in a sea of cash!! What would we call the place?”

(LJ) “Elle-land”: Catchy. Quirky and consonant. And I’m thinking Elle should have a devoted rider cum handler – female of course!

(BR) You’re right – and I know the perfect name: Lady La La. Can’t you see it – a flashing smile lighting up the night sky as she guides Elle to the next destination, using GPS of course. How contemporary is that! And the name would be recognisable everywhere.

(LJ) All good – but I think to complete the picture, Elle on her delivery missions should always be escorted by squadrons of flying pigs. Most people would be familiar with the term” and pigs would fly”: well, this is the Taswegian reality.

Think of the imagery. The kids would be awe-struck: films, videos, cartoons and computer games could feature these clever pigs raising their snouts out of troughs, racing to their small jet planes and soaring into the air to provide a security screen for Elle and Lady La La. Keeping any terrorists at bay. Again, very contemporary and full of action. Calculated to put the competition right out of business.

(BR) Hey – this could be big! Move over Walt Disney. But where the fracking hell could we locate it?

(LJ) I know the perfect location: a beautiful valley up North, just crying out for a development of this sort. It’s famous for producing world-class wine, fruit, vegetables, nuts, lamb, beef, cheese and the like .A gourmet’s paradise.

(BR) Wait on : isn’t that the place where some business group is proposing to build a giant smoke-stack industry and the locals are all up in arms ? You have to wonder what cave some of these business types recently emerged from.Morons ! I reckon all those involved will soon be out of a job if they pursue a venture of that type in a place like that. Time they were dragged into the 21stC.

(LJ) Yes – well – – the locals, and hundreds of small businesses there will welcome us with open arms: they will be able to show-case, and flog their fabulous products to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who would flock to Elle-Land each year. Everyone a winner. Our Taswegian brand would penetrate the whole globe.

And another plus: we managed to :”acquire” a terrific parcel of land in the valley some time back that another organisation had, unbelievably, set aside as a “peoples reserve” or something ridiculous. What awaste! It also happens to be close to our Head Office.

It’s strange how these things work out sometimes ……..”

(BR) Strange? Just a happy coincidence, I guess.

(LJ) Now, you’re going to have to throw a lot of public resources at this to get the project up quickly – developing the concept, themes, infrastructure and so on. Can do?

(BR) I could get most of our army of fracking spin-doctors, and business development types onto it right away. They have nothing more useful to do anyway.

(LJ) And what about things like planning approvals, permits and the like? Any problem?

(BR) Just get your lawyers to draft the authorisations you need and they will be fast tracked. Anyone putting obstacles in the way can expect to be smashed by a fracking great government bus.!

(LJ) Speaking of government: no problem there either? Nobody likely to ask awkward questions about economic viability, social and environmental impacts and the like? Independents’ perhaps in the upper House?

(BR) You’re fracking joking surely! Most of those useless time-servers wouldn’t know their fracking arse from their elbow. And they know the consequences of being obstructive:no future promotions, or junkets, or party financial support. They’re finished!

(LJ) Good: I’ll leave all that in your capable hands then ; which leaves us with one other important issue: finance. I’m thinking that every day that goes by without this enterprise in full swing, we are forfeiting about a million dollars. Of course I’m talking about economic benefits to the State (chuckle). So we need to get this flying elephant airborne, quick smart. And that means iron-clad government guarantees of financial support. Unqualified!

(BR) Look, the Feds will fall over themselves to be involved in a world class venture of this kind. I’ve got mates there who can deliver – take it as read that fed govt financial backing will be available! We simply sell our new venture on the basis of economic stimulus and jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s our mantra: works every time! And when you develop your economic benefit statement, make sureit’s based on a best-case scenario. Ignore costs. And don’t be backward in inflating the figures: nobody would dare question them: I would have their fracking guts for garters if they did. I’ve always founda bit of intimidation doesn’t go astray in these situations. Anyone steps out of line knows they will never get meaningful work in this place again. Ever!

(LJ) Our corporation will demand a controlling interest in Elle-Land so I’ll organise a couple of hundred mill to handle the set-upcosts ; and I’ll kick-in a couple of mill of my own money. My mates in the business fraternity will quickly follow suit – they like to be on a winner.

(BR) Media?

(LJ) Saturation coverage guaranteed. Our PR people have developed a close relationship with the local media particularly – they like to support us. And something this big will stimulate media interest across the world. That in turn will excite the big financial institutions: they will be knocking our doors down from day one. Everyone’s a winner!

So, are we go?

(BR):We go – Elle for leather : joined at the hips. Nothing can stop us barring a world-wide economic meltdown and there’s no chance of that happening! Agree?

(LJ) Agree – no chance at all! Guaranteed!

(And thus was born a modern day fable of a white elephant and pigs that indeed fly. Defying gravity. That could only happen in an Island wonderland).

Authors Note: Other matters discussed at the now legendary dinner, such as future fracking in the Tasmanian wilderness, Board appointments, political donations – even home renovations – were not considered germane to this subject.

See you in Elle-Land sometime!