Friday, 7 April 2017
In the theatre of the absurd which is the disintegrating left, a protest group has been demanding of the New Statesman that they give 30 pages of favourable coverage over to the subject of Jeremy Corbyn. No, seriously... Now, thirty pages of coverage we can easily envisage, but thirty pages of GOOD coverage? Maybe if it was written in headline-sized font and dubiously included the Diane Abbott dalliance it could be eked out to a page or two, but beyond that... are they suggesting The Staggers lies about the man? He’s got three kids; maybe he likes them?
Oh but, maybe not. Labour’s latest wacky foray back to communism of its roots is to suggest funding school meals for state pupils by charging Value Added Tax on private school fees. Right, so, that means the people who pay all the tax and then further assist state education by not using the services they already paid for should pay even more so that other people’s offspring can be fed? Is the plan to get votes by helping poor students’ parents to buy more fags? Perhaps the Labour Party could get back to us when they have a policy, any policy, based not on coercion or threat or force, but on common sense?
Fortuitously, events have been overtaken by the USA’s bombing of Syria. Phew, lucky stroke there Labour! But once again the world goes mad. The whole of the Middle East has been a source of concern for all the years I can recall. Maybe we should close the doors on the whole region, contain it, then come back in fifty years and see if anybody is ready to talk sensibly about it all? But we just can’t help ourselves, can we? Like progressively lowering a table by sawing chunks out of each leg in turn, trying to level out that annoying wobble, everything we do seems to make things worse.
I find Middle East events tedious in the extreme. While millions were live-tweeting events, the ‘Arab Spring’ largely passed me by. If the whole of North Africa were rendered an unlivable nuclear wasteland for centuries I’d probably greet it with a disinterested shrug. I had similar reactions to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the death of John Lennon. I figured they had nothing to do with me, so, meh... some things just don’t move me at all.
On the other hand, human frailty fascinates me; I like watching how you mere mortals deal with the perceived threat of things you can do nothing about. Like your irrational reactions to far-away war, rich people, celebrity and the weather. As storms brew in the near east, we approach the summer thunderstorm season...
One summer’s evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her young son into bed. She was about to leave when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mummy, will you sleep with me tonight?” She smiled and asked “But why, dear?” The boy replied “I’m frightened about what’s happening in the world; Syria, Jeremy Corbyn and all this thunder and lightning.” His mother said, gently, “I can't dear. I have to sleep in Daddy's room.” And with that she kissed him goodnight, then slowly rose and tiptoed to the door. As she turned off the light she heard, from the darkened silence “The big sissy.”