Two and a bit years in to his presidency and, following more biographies, exposes, subpoenas, testimonies and affidavits than I care to recall, here’s what we definitively know about the current President of the United States of America (POTUS) and his time in office.
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With the countdown to Brexit Britain now being measured in hours (600 for the record) and a potentially cataclysmic cliff-edge becoming increasingly more likely, it’s perhaps opportune to take a leisurely stroll down memory lane to those gentle bygone days of 2016 when we were told everything, and anything, was possible. Oh, how I miss those sweet nothings being whispered in my innocent ear.
Notwithstanding climate change, insect armageddon and the inevitable extinction of the human race, the real downside to the UK’s warmest February temperatures on record is that the lanes at West London’s finest swimming pool fill-up with local revellers keen on exercising for the first time since before winter set in. Not for these dippers are wetsuits or special waterproof booties and the draw of tessellating, shimmering patterns bouncing off the bottom of the pool takes on a hypnotic ‘look into my eyes, not around the eyes’ quality.
But no-one mentioned fighting in the mines. When asked last week for a one-word answer as to whether Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a hero or villain, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, answered the latter, citing the wartime Prime Minister’s sinister role in dealing with striking miners in 1910. Admittedly, it was neither Mr McDonnell’s wisest nor finest hour but a more honest and unbiased view of the ‘greatest Briton’ (2002 BBC2 poll) sheds some light on where he was perhaps coming from.
With marginal OCD, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to either of us that every time something is done to the house it pricks my conscience to tidy-up, clear the decks and declutter with gay abandon. Last week, as the decorating drew to a close, the impulse kicked in with a vengeance and it turns out I’m not alone. YouTube and Netflix sensation, Marie Kondo, is busily packing it into her pension by telling us to, essentially, ‘clean-up your room, you mucky pup’.
A couple of posts ago I commented on how we, Homo sapiens, need attention to survive: it is the very air we breathe was a term I used. I noted how our sense of belonging is determined by the positive attention we receive from those we respect and befriend, and how, if we don’t receive it, we can become isolated and angry. Sadly, for some this perceived ostracism forces a railing against society, specifically against those they feel ignored by. In the extreme, these individuals commit crimes of attention.
T’other week a young Dutch historian, Rutger Bregman, caused a bit of a stink at Davos’s World Economic Forum by going a little off-piste and telling the assembled billionaires that if they wanted to help save the world they should stop avoiding paying tax: “Taxes, taxes, taxes and all the rest is bullsh*t.” After pointing out that over 1500 private jets had flown in to hear David Attenborough explain how we’re wrecking the planet he commented they “Looked at me as if I was from another planet.”
Late Thursday evenings have always been sacrosanct as I’m usually on a promise, a promise of fine ‘cut & thrust’ political debate via the Beeb’s Question Time. Who can forget the infamous ‘lynch mob’ edition featuring the odious Nick Griffin, the intentionally provocative pro-Palestinian supporter George Galloway during filming in Finchley and the clash of left-wing firebrand, Russell Brand with right-wing rabble rouser, Nigel Farage.
“How can you tell if someone gave up the demon drink for January? Don’t worry you won’t need to, they’ll telling you soon enough!” Boom, boom. Yep, I’m sad to confess that this is indeed the case and I’ve found myself confessing to anyone and everyone about my first Dry January. Having just completed it, I thought it might be of interest to describe how it was for me, a fully-paid-up member of the dipsomaniac discotheque, and what impact it may potentially have on my relationship to alcohol thereafter.
Certain things in life shock you to the core: natural disasters, redundancy, Anne Robinson, to name a few. Others are so obvious that you know they’re true even before they make headlines in tmrw’s chip paper: ‘England lose cricket match’, ‘Profligate banker caught with hand in the till’ and ‘Dale Winton not quite straight’ shockers.