Jack Them In

Jack Them In

Those Brexit talks. Anyone who thought that the EU would play its midnight hour card and stand tough until the 25th hour and then come to a sensible compromise, forget it.

WE offer £20bn, clarify please, Germans and  French say no deal, we  offer £40bn, clarify please, Ireland says no deal. Ireland sees  the border as  a Trojan horse for unity,oops  corruption once again rears its usual head in Dublin and Ireland cant speak for a bit .

Nor can Germany, the great leader, Mrs Mutti Merkel is    not in power  as she cant form a government. Its those nasty nationalists, oh dear, not them again. Mighty Mouse Macron sees his honeymoon period  cut short as opposition mounts. Spain will, no doubt with Catalonia on its mind , play Gib stays in the EU(with us) as hard as it can. Poland with its one million citizens living in the UK will have its own agenda. The Russian vassal states of Cyprus and Malta have yet to speak. Can’t wait. 27 sovereign states, each no doubt with an opinion, for some mice a chance to roar.

. So whatever we   say ,clarification will be called for,  unless we grovel and make our relations with the rest of the world untenable there is no deal with the EU.  That is get the worst of both worlds-reduced EU trade and reduced world deals.

History shows that the EU rather than  demonstrate flexibility and reason  would rather obey the letter of the law and a doctrinaire attitude(which many EU members  disobey) ,that is the name of their  game. The fact that so many of the good and the great  at home  feel   that its the UK that  is being unreasonable and not the other side,is of course just an echo of so many still not getting or accepting the result of the referendum.  Selling their country short ,despising its ordinary people, is of course the hall mark of the British intellectual. Actually  intellectuals  are like that in every country.

They open all their remarks on the subject, this was a shock to me, I don’t recognise my own country. As Robert Peston (top  journo honcho was  BBC and now ITV) says  in the Guardian“ I have a self image that I was not in some sort of privately educated privileged bubble and I was more connected to the people in this country. But among the pretty extensive circle of friends and family, no  single person I could identify  with voted for Brexit….. the only people I mixed  with were broadly,sort of, metrosexual and liberal, for whom admitting you were going to vote for Brexit was the equivalent of farting in public.”

At my 50 strong birthday party on the day of the referendum , 48 including me voted to Remain. I voted to Remain for the good of my wallet, I now support Brexit for the good of my country. But then I am not an intellectual. I am neither good or great, thank goodness.

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Ding Dong The Bells

 

Ding Dong The Bells.

“ Meghan is more white-passing than African in appearance, and her good looks and accumulated wealth exclude her from many of the hardships that women of colour face in the UK today. But her proximity to the palace is helping to spark dialogue around the often-overlooked complexities of mixed-race identities in Britain. So for the first time ever, I’ll be keeping an eye out for a royal wedding. “

So wrote mixed race, Brooklyn born , Georgina Lawton in the Guardian.

With more than half the royal weddings (Margaret,Charles, Andrew, Anne) going a normal way, what hope have dashing Prince Harry and his dusky soon to be Princess, of a lasting union?

She has been married before. A two year (work related?) stint with a tv producer ended four years ago. OK not much of a deal, we aint the Catholic church, in fact thats our point, but it may be an indicator. He’s had long standing girl friends, so lets get real, this is now, virgins are for suicide bombers. Mrs Simpson had been married a few times but she stood by her Prince till the very pathetic end.

Meghan is also an actress, but on a much grander scale ,so was Grace Kelly and she stayed the course ,gave birth to some of the wackiest royals of all time and died tragically. Actresses do have form for multiple marriages, getting bored with long running parts and flouncing off the set. As do rich girls and boys generally. As both are.

Many make the obvious point that she may find it difficult living in the royal gold fish bowl. Being a successful TV actress makes that the easiest bit.

Meghan comes from the other side of the tracks in Los Angeles. A graduate ,in work actress,whose done her UN bit,she is a tough cookie, and probably a lot smarter than Harry. She loves being outspoken, now even more media will listen, so watch this space.There are many men who like a stronger woman, just as there are many women who like a stronger man. Having two equal adults in the same marriage bed is rare.

The age gap must be mentioned. She 36 and he 33. Could mean nothing, could mean a lot. Harry is popular not least for his boyish charm. One could get all Sigmund about the death of his mum and him marrying an older, stronger woman. But it works for Macron and Madame M is twenty years older, maybe Meghan isn’t old enough.

My own experience is that in my family coming from divorced parents, two out of the three of us learnt the lesson and have stayed,while in Vivien’s case her parents were text book married and both her siblings have remarried. The moral being? That those who were brought up in a divorced family learn a lesson that others may not experience. If this is true ,then it works in favour for Harry and Meghan-both sets of parents were divorced.

So we have cultural,racial,age,personality and form obstacles to a long term union. But life teaches that the most unlikely couples survive and others who you would bank on, go the way of the also rans. Enjoy the wedding. Cynic? Moi? ‘fraid so. Which is why I am a royalist till I die.

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White Lives Matter

White Lives Matter

Black justices in Southern Africa have struck a blow for the White Lives Matter, the yet to be launched movement.

The man responsible over thirty years for the death of tens of thousands of blacks, the displacement of many more , the impoverishment of his largely  black country and the exile of thousands more, this man has been congratulated  for “his massive contribution”. He has also been rewarded with immunity from prosecution, a generous pension, safe passage for his wife and children and protection of what he claims is his “frugal life style.”  He will receive  a $10m payoff and his salary of $150k guaranteed for life. His “business” interests will not be touched.

Meanwhile   at the same time ,nearby, a  white man,without legs but with resources, who got mad one night and totalled his blond girlfriend  while she was in the loo has had  his sentence more than doubled. Originally given five years, on the basis that shooting your girlfriend, especially when you have no legs, are extremely spoilt, have a terrible temper and like guns is something that could happen to anyone. Now responding to pressure from WLM the appeal court has decided that  fifteen years for outright murder is more appropriate. The girls family said “Justice prevails.”

So one law for a white girl in the loo and none for  tens of thousands of blacks who were murdered, brutalised and their livelihoods destroyed. Crudely the black justices of Southern Africa seem to have decided that one white life is worth fifteen years and  tens of thousands of black lives worth zero. Or is this  a case as(like Mugabe) Jesuit educated Stalin pointed out ,one life is a tragedy, a million is a statistic?

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To Top or Not to Top

To Top or Not to Top

Ceausescu  put up a struggle and was shot, Honeker went relatively quietly and escaped a trial through ill health which killed him  five years later, Jerzelski compromised, held talks  went into retirement, eventually was put up for trial, claimed ill health, wife caught him in bed with nurse,died a few months later. Tales of how three dictators met their ends.

All this comes to mind when we think of whether Mugabe will die in bed or on the executioners floor. Idi Amin died in exile, Charles Taylor is serving 50 years, the man he deposed  Doe was executed. Gaddafy was shot. With the failure of the  Arab spring Mubarak  claimed ill health and then on appeal got off and Assad lived to wipe out half his people.

Rule of thumb seems to suggest, if there is a peaceful takeover and the dictator doesn’t go down fighting  he has a chance,despite his crimes, of survival,and  as for a full blown trial  everyone is a bit embarrassed  and anyway most have been in power for so long that they can always claim ill health to escape detention.

Mugabe at 93 is in  strong position for this way out if he needs it. But Mugabe  and his Marie Antoinette of a missus do seem to be  dumb, as only rulers who are sure of their army can be,that is, they might start plotting. I am sure that Mugabe got  a shock when he saw  the people celebrating his downfall. Typically he might not believe what he saw. He and she may be stupid to think that there is a massive popular rising  to be engineered. And they start to plot.

Which was Lady Jane Grey,Charles 1 and Monmouth’s big mistakes. Sure there was some support but it was easily put down, as were their heads. If he is sensible and lucky Mugabe will die in some nursing home soon, he has spent a lot of time in Singapore hospitals recently. Maybe like the  deposed Shah he will spend his last months/years being shuffled from one embarrassed country to another. Its the missus I look forward to, she will cry all the way to the Harrods perfume counter, but still the smell of  failure and possible trial will follow her.

As for the people of Zimbabwe, more of the same I am afraid. No army gives up its privileged and well paid position unless the people take them on. So far the people(as in Egypt) are patting the army on its back. It called the rule of the rifle,the rule of law ,however fancy the judges’ wigs, is something else.

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Everyday Story

Everyday Story

We were at university together, he was  an outstanding rugby player, I was in the team.  He  came from a large and successful family ,went to a prestigious school, well connected.He   he married his university sweetheart, went into finance. He had several kids, we lived close and occasionally bumped into each other, a drink, a hand shake, an unkept promise and a few years later we would bump into each other again. He along with others who married their university dates got divorced, we cynics always thought they would.

Then through the grape vine  I heard that he had come out the closet. My age, early seventies,he decides to  tell the world that there is no more wrestling with the python of desire, he is gay. Not a great week to be gay ,what with a queer couple murdering a  baby a few days after adopting it and Kevin Spacey admitting to being the predatory poof which the gay lobby had so successfully dismissed from the public consciousness.

I don’t know why he has come out of the closet at this late stage. Its not unknown for either sex  having brought up a family , to say, from now on its ME,Me ,me. And in this day and age why not? Personal happiness is what counts. It may upset the ex,it may traumatise the children, mean that the grand children have to get real a bit earlier, give endless amusement to your friends, but hey, there are gays in the Archers(I think).

But when is the right time to come out the closet? I  “messed about” at school and I realised it  wasn’t for me. The brave and confident come out early.Today there isn’t really much of  an excuse. But suppose you havent really thought about it, or think its a phase, and you are on the border line. Maybe you think when it comes to the wife,its just that you are a bit undersexed. Any way its your destiny to have a family. It happens. But the years roll on and you realise its a bit more than that. You hang around the changing rooms  a bit too long, you admire classical statues, for a laugh you go to the odd club.

One thing leads to another. Maybe you meet someone. Could it be that its like underground religion, at a certain point you would rather die happy than put up with the half lies and complications. It is quite likely that those near you have guessed anyway. You confess to a close friend. He says he always knew. You announce it to the world. Its the biggest thing you have ever done. They yawn. An everyday story.

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Have You Heard?

Have you heard?

The one about the black, the jew. the old man and the intellectual? Well neither had I until I rolled along to Monday’s Islamophobia Debate at the School of African and Oriental Studies.

Valeria Amos in her ethnically approved haircut told us she wrote reports 20 years ago but after Brexit she admits she doesn’t know where home is. Julia Neuberger sees some hope in tea parties between mosques and synagogues.  She also despairs of Britain after Brexit and wants a German passport.(£300 a day Baronesses both)

Old man Robin Richardson he is another of these Runnymede report writers, he spoke for too long and lost his way among his slides. Is he a bed blocker? To make sure the rainbow coalition was intact  Professor Sayyid from Leeds showed how clever he was by discussing whether the word islamophobia helped or hindered. He is Professor of Decolonial Thought. For those  worried about a place at uni I hear there are  still a few places left on the course. We can also expect in another twenty years another report on how imperfect the world is/is becoming/will be.

Of course Britain has let down these good and great folk. Not only the poor misguided people in voting for Brexit but the  legal, political and social institutions. These reports on islamophobia have not been top priority. While these good folk are writing reports, what is any one else doing. Exactly. Other things. They have  given the best years of their life to create a society fit for report writers and things have got worse. No wonder they want to give up on Britain. Britain has failed them. We are not worthy to eat the crumbs from their table yet we treat them with disdain. This is too bad.

As a well known German dictator once cried , his people had failed, they were not up to the task, they deserved their fate. We have not listened to the Amos ‘n Julia show, we too deserve our fate. When the good and the great write reports we must listen, learn and obey.

In questions, I mentioned how depressing it was to hear no one  mention the  rapid increase in Muslims in the UK, their different values  and the jihadist terror bombings and how they may have affected Islamophobia. The chair told me that was a comment and not a question and did not need a response.  I also mentioned George Orwell’s remarks on self hating Intellectuals-who apparently were on show the other night at SOAS.

“In the last twenty years civilisation has given the intellectual security without responsibility, and in England in particular, it has educated him/her in scepticism while anchoring him/her immovably in the privileged class. He /She has been in the position of a young man living on an allowance from a father he hates. The result is a deep feeling of guilt and resentment, not combined with any genuine desire to escape. But some psychological escape there must be, and one of the most satisfactory is transference of nationalism…..creeds that have the advantage that they aim at the impossible and demand very little.” Horizon 1943.

OMG. How bright was Orwell? How dumb are… Amos ‘n Julia left before questions, busy people, reports to write.

And the joke? Well you’re paying, so its on you. Ha ha.

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Gordon Brown and Me

Gordon Brown and Me

In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king. But of course the one eyed man don’t see too well, he can’t see if anyone is peeping.

2007 was when the one eyed Gordon Brown became PM. At first very popular, serious ,concerned and all the other worthy virtues, it soon became clear that he was one of those  Prime Ministers who fail to get out in time. Which is most of them. But the spilt breakfast came early for this oh so bright, oh so dim son of a preacher man. His  rages, his indecision, his conceit, his basic lack of emotional intelligence soon became obvious. He had to go, So I joined the Tory party. For two years I even paid my subs, I then discovered that  most of the activists were deformed and or mad but out of habit I still deliver the leaflets.

But between early retirement and the grave PMs have first to write the book. I  will not be   reading- Gord’s “My Life,Modern Times”-I didn’t read Majors,Thathchers or Blairs  self serving excuses for failure-who does? But like a good little cat I have lapped up the reviews.

But the one eyed brooding heavyweight from Kirkaldy has fascinated me.  He still broods,no doubt waiting for a call from  God himself for another stab at saving the world. No, the fascination comes from a question I cannot answer.(Very rare!)

Politics is a people business. Getting on with people, learning how to mobilise and energise  a team . Keep that team loyal and efficient, inspire people on all levels. People skills. Those  than know how to network, have drive and ambition, obvious intelligence, take responsibility, communicate, keep their cool, show leadership under fire-these you would expect to go through the ranks of councillor, MP, committee person, party person. cabinet until the  top of the greasy pole is reached.

Brown didn’t get on with people, he found communicating on anything but a Phd level difficult, he even spoke funny,he raged, he blamed others , like every other memoir writer he sees the car crashes he was involved with , whether driving or map reading , as everyone else’s fault, I could go on. Like Major and May totally unsuited to be PM. Completely lacking in the X factor which both Blair and Cameron enjoyed.

So the fascination is this, how come these obviously unsuited beasts became the orangatangs in the cage,  where they are so desperately sad and unsuited, how come politics the ultimate people business is so often led by people without people skills. Is it so mediocre that there is little choice, is it that these people have some of the skills but not all, is it the lack of competition(both May and Brown were anointed but unelected by Party)? But then, again if you think our lot are bad, look across the  Channel.

PS Brown’s famous remark in the 2010 election when a long time Labour supporter 65 year old Gillian Duffy asked him about the economy and  immigration, he smiles,shakes her hand moves away and  still on camera  says “what a disaster, what a bigoted woman”. Later he grovels and personally apologises. But the damage is done and if anyone wants a sign about the gap between the Metropolitan elite and the rest, that was it.  Six years later ,Brexit followed.

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