BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Ten years ago today, I was given a field. A field in Venezuela. Not much of a field – more of a dusty plot of land with a small copse in the middle, which comprises a few fruit trees. The field is in the Venezuelan countryside in Monagas state.
I do not believe the field to be worth anything at present, as Maduro and his socialist boors have rendered worthless even the valuable inside Venezuela, as hyperinflation has so corroded value, and values, that any transaction now requires either wheelbarrows of notes, or an exchange in kind or a dollar transaction which only a few can engage in, whilst armed to the hilt. Yes, there is oil under this field – many barrels of it – but accessing it is currently impossible and reaching it would require some geological kung-fu and a security presence neither I nor my wife are contemplating at present.
On one visit to Venezuela, I packed a metal detector, which I had carefully researched, then acquired from a metal detectorist shop in Birmingham. For I knew that, hidden amidst the trees in the copse, there was the burial place of a Spanish family who had died in or close by to my field. Their burial place was marked by a simple metal cross. I joked with my family-in-law that perhaps there might be a golden treasure buried with them, or some mesmerising historical relics that a detector might locate.
Let me be clear from the outset that I had no intention of ever disrupting this family’s final resting place. I was more interested in what I could find in the area around them. Perhaps a sword or pistol, a crucifix or chain, or some other item lying near the surface that might help identify the family.
After successfully getting the detector past customs at Maiquetia (Caracas’ International Airport, increasingly run by jackals) I travelled eight hours by car to the house where I stay near the field. After recharging the detector’s batteries via a solar panel and a lorry battery, and recharging mine with a decent kip, the next morning I slipped on my cowboy boots (not a fashion statement, mere snakebite preventer) and trudged over to the copse in my field.
I was asked by a neighbour, Paco, who came to see what I was up to, if it was wise to scan a grave, as he had seen strange sights in the field – glowing lights at night and the ghost of a small boy running between the trees. Perhaps I should just let the dead lie in peace. Maybe they died of the plague? If they were buried with treasure, it was their intention to be buried with treasure, for whatever reason.
I listened to Paco and I heard him well. It was difficult to not think of him swigging rum and seeing these extraordinary sights. Still, I told him that I had no intention of disrupting this family’s final resting place. So, he stood there relaxed, and puffing on a cigar, while I scanned away.
It was not long before there was a very loud beep. The beep startled us. We smiled at each other – images of gold ingots and treasure practically visible in our eyes.
Paco immediately changed his tune and was first down on the ground, cigar discarded, and clearing the long grass away from the spot where the loud beep occurred. Soon we were both excavating handfuls of earth until we felt something hard and metallic. In our excitement, in our adrenaline rush, it did not occur to us that this might be a coffin.
It wasn’t a coffin.
It was a metal plate depicting two children and a guardian angel. It looked like gold, but it wasn’t gold. (I know gold). It was the kind of ornate, metal image you’d find in a Spanish church in the area – some kind of poor quality, brass amalgam.
As we cleared away the ground some more, we found a goblet and a plate. Again, these items were not gold, nor that ornate, but the excitement inured us to yet more digging.
It was just then that my wife appeared with a glass of juice for me and she immediately forced us to stop digging. She was very cross. She chided us at length for grave digging. So, we sat there with our muddy hands and our newfound treasures feeling very guilty and ashamed. I also felt rather parched, as my wife had left us with my glass of juice still in her hand.
I am still the owner of this field. And in this field are buried a Spanish family, an ornate metal image of a guardian angel and two children, as well as a metal goblet and plate. The metal detector is with a brother-in-law on his ranch in a neighbouring state, who I understand uses it to relocate beer bottle tops, which get stuck in the hooves of his cattle. It has been put – perhaps unsurprisingly – to good use, at least.
This last week I have been pondering the Spanish family in my field. How I may well have continued digging. When treasure piles in your lap, it is hard not to be avaricious.
So, what has provoked my memories of my field?
Thoughts of Watson.
In the Auschwitz complex alone (including Birkenau, Monowitz, and subcamps) approximately one million Jews were killed during World War Two as a consequence of an interpretation of fascist ideology by Nazis. The same fascist ideology echoed by Max Mosley’s father and the leaflet in Max’s name for the Union Movement candidate Walter Hesketh in the 1961 Moss Side by-election, exposed last week. The same Max Mosley who paid Tom Watson hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding. The same Tom Watson who defended Mosley to the hilt in the Commons last week.
Mosley’s funds must have seemed like treasure to Tom Watson.
Still there comes a point in time where greed and adrenaline at the thought of riches becomes trumped by moral decency and respect for one’s fellow human beings, whether alive or dead.
Stop digging, Tom.
Give all that money – not a penny less – to those that Mosley’s leaflet oppressed.
You’ll feel a lot better inside yourself, should your flickering soul still be recoverable.
Greed has taken the whole universe, and nobody is worried about their soul.