From the Notebook: Thoughts on a Possibly Improving Year

Well hi there, and how’s tricks? My apologies, and they are reasonably sincere, for having been absent from these (web) pages for two months. Since summarizing 2017 as the year that was I’ve taken a well-needed break from iPhone journalism to do some generally tedious yet altogether better paying work. Besides that, writing twice weekly about Donald J. Trump aka The Ingrate pumpkin, or the great march of the lemmings that is Brexit had become an infinitely depressing exercise, akin to hitching a leash to a dead dog and hauling it along for a long walk; less a habit of exercise than a morbid ritual.

However. That’s all behind us now and, dare I say, I think there is, yes,  a bit of hope for this old world to be found. The times are still perilous – when last I checked Trump was still in power and Theresa ‘poisoned chalice’ May at least still pretended she was too – yet there are trends and signs that give us hope. As David Tennant’s version of Doctor Who would say, ‘Allons-y!’

Boris Loses His Memory: Today, as I write this on February 14th, the Foreign Secretary and The Man Who Would Be Heseltine, Boris Johnson gave a speech in which he claimed with his usual mix of faux Wodehouse images mixed with farts of illogic, that Remainers should embrace Brexit with the fondness of old school chums or drowning sailors to an inflatable raft because – wait for it – Brexit represented a great opportunity for liberalism. Such is the equivalent of a very fat cat encouraging a very skinny mouse to come out, come out from behind the chair for there is warmth from the winter to be found between the taloned paws. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, quite a bit actually and the sign of optimism here is that the Bore-us belch was greeted with a general snigger bordering on the guffaw. A Tory endorsing liberalism hasn’t been met with serious consideration since the days of the Corn Laws and besides that, does the Foreign Secretary really think we (or he) is quite so thick that he did not notice that he beeped along in his Leave bus with a horn that sounded suspiciously like the klaxon of Nigel Farage? That Boris Johnson has exposed his copious guts to ridicule gives us hope that Brexit itself has revealed itself as a false promise wrapped in a veil of lies.

Trump pwns All the Sins: Donald Trump of course is Boris Johnson less all the suave sophistry. I heard a quite remarkably apt description of him said by Richard Painter, who served in George W. Bush’s administration. Slightly paraphrased, Painter said, Trump encompassed all the sins of all past Presidents in one body. Yes! The naughtiness bordering on outright whoring of Warren G. Harding or Jack Kennedy, check. The utter nonsense of Ronald Reagan’s brain-dead economics, absolutely. The lies of Richard Nixon, trumped. Trump is what evil looks like when evil puts on lipstick and pearls.

I don’t expect his to go easily, just as no kidney stone passes without some piss in the blood, but I do expect him to go. Precisely which of his financial, treasonous or generally oafish scandals shall prove the dagger of Caesar; that I am not sure. But the Pumpkin is doomed, oh yes. How 40% of Americans still support him is beyond me, but to be honest with you, if I understood the mind-set of the bottom 40% of that population I’d take a chain saw to my wrists and do the world a favour.

Labour’s Cunning Stunt: I sent this thought to Stephen Bush of The New Statesman the other day and lucky for me I’m writing it before Stephen grabs it. Back to Brexit, I don’t know if it was a plan or an accident, but Labour is brilliantly/stumblingly heading towards a brilliant solution to the mathematical conundrum of squaring Labour’s Leavers with its majority Remainers.

I suspect the NEC will (and bloody well should) endorse a polling of the members regarding the Customs Union. It will be endorsed, likely by 80% or more, and thus a Norwegian solution can become party policy. This saves face for Corbyn, and in effect becomes a pseudo-second referendum without all the cost and (forgive me) bullshit of an actual second referendum. If someone in the Leader’s office thought of this, s/he is a genius. If no one thought of it and it just happened this way because of the pressure of the Umunna/Cooper/Alexander forces, well then Labour is damn lucky. Either way, as a nation, we’ll take it gladly.

Be seeing you.


The Greatest Political Writer Ever

Butterflies of a Bad Summer

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