Monday, 11 June 2018


This Rolling Stones song of 1965 came to me as I ended a difficult week. First of all my computer system crashed as I spent hours trying to get my IP configuration to register…no me neither. It was worse than irritating as my IT guy surfing in Cornwall said on the phone  to the background sound of waves breaking “yeah you’ve got a big router problem…sorry”. Meanwhile my hero of a son-in-law solved the problem…so here’s a blog in praise of him. And then a shopping disaster when I reached the checkout in Waitrose with a huge trolley to discover I’d left my wallet at home.

I felt victimised by a sullen and unremitting fate. “Suffer sucker” it hissed.

But it could be worse – I could have been at the G8 or at Boris’ recent speech. But the behaviour of the gruesome twosome, Donald and Boris, would have been avoidable simply by good manners and a bit of charm.

How can it be that two men wielding theoretically such power can be so churlish, boorish and clumsy? Boris went to Balliol, an Oxford College proud of its alumni. They even thought Howard Marks, the late drug baron, had his good points but of Boris they speak little and then sorrowfully.

The Brits and Americans seem widely ashamed of their two corpulent spokesmen. What Harvey Weinstein was to Hollywood they are to the corridors of power. And my main problem with both and it’s a bigger problem than profoundly disagreeing with their politics, is the terrible example they set our young people. Role models (except in the sense of their resembling bacon rolls) is what they are not.

But the week ended better with sunshine and laughter.

We had two grandchildren staying and their attitude and behaviour could teach their elders a lesson. All our young people, two great nieces and three grandchildren have brilliant manners, are affectionate and will turn out well. Why can they do what politicians can’t? Possibly because the politicians had such strange childhoods – imagine being a small Donald or an infant Boris.

The problem is we take the porcine pair too seriously. Boris has a consistent track record of being a reckless philanderer and unreliable friend. He’s overtly out for himself. Donald – well what can we say – philanderer, dodgy investor, TV star of sorts, a man with a ridiculous superiority complex. How glad I am not to be American right now.

In his book Utopia for realists Rutger Bregman a Dutch Historian traces the luck most of us have in this improving world. Compare ours with the lives of even the wealthy in Tudor England. 16th century America would have been even more primitive. We have the benefits of technology , an increasing understanding of nature and a sophisticated debate about values and priorities. In my better moments I hug myself in joy at all this.

Just so long as Boris and Donald get off of my cloud.

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