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Beware the 9th of March

In fact, it’s three years since I was last in Rome, once again visiting the eternal city’s favourite sites, the Vatican, the Coliseum and of course, the remains of the Forum.

As a teenager, I took an A level in Ancient History, in fact, I almost pursued a career in archaeology and not IT but I’m reminded that Roman history is largely a political history, Caesar, Sulla, the Gracchii, Cicero and a great number of different laws, which in many ways parallels our own history but without Cromwell, Alistair Campbell and the violence of the Forum and the revenge of Clare Short.

The Romans also respected the innovative energy of small business and both this and military power built an Empire for Rome and for Britain, except that the former took four hundred years to collapse but we managed it in a mere forty.

Today however, in our own very special compensation and tax-driven culture the privateering spirit that once made Britain a world leader is being driven rapidly to the wall by a grimly unimaginative character named Gordon Brown. There is no longer any real attraction in starting a new business because taxation, risk and red-tape stack the odds firmly against the interests of the entrepreneur.

“Once upon a time”, a friend told me, “One would at least get the benefit of a company car for working all hours of the day and with the responsibilities that go with being an employer. Today”, he concluded, “The only reward is a higher tax bill and the constant fear that one of my people will sue me for nothing in particular”.

Still, one thing hasn’t changed. You can still throw Christians to the Lions on the BBC but other religions are exempt. I wonder what Nero would have thought of that?


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