17 November 2019
I don’t finish the weekend papers till Monday so it wasn’t until then that, to my chagrin, I found in Sunday’s paper the same crack about paying somebody not to do something that I used last week. Yes of course I get ideas from other places but, when I can, I credit the actual source and I’d never re-use a joke like that without first giving it time to cool, even one as old as that.
On Tuesday, as I came back from London down the slow line that is single-track for the last 50 miles or so, hiding in sidings, waiting for delayed up trains to pass, I read the headline on an Evening Standard leader: “HS2 is crucial to our future”. Not mine, mate.
Then the week got even more surreal.
Margaret Court, a tennis player from the last century who holds the record of 24 major tournaments, is peeved that the court in the Melbourne Park sports venue named after Rod Laver is better than hers. I wonder what hers is called? Please say it isn’t the Court Court?
More than a third of income tax collected by the UK government now comes from just 1% of the people. This means that if the top 1% paid twice as much tax, the government’s annual takings would increase by a third, which the next Chancellor might need.
Donald Trump Junior has written a book claiming the left is over-sensitive but, at a book signing last weekend, he demonstrated what shrinks might call ‘projection’ and scarpered when he was heckled by his own father’s supporters. Actually, perhaps he’s not over-sensitive, he just suddenly wanted a pee.
Then Daddy Trump had an unscheduled medical. At his last one, in February, his BMI of 30.4 officially qualified him as obese. Do you think his therapist gets danger money?
Our erstwhile prime minister said in Birmingham how proud he was to be “where the industrial revolution started”. The Lancastrian Jenny is now spinning in her grave, but I suppose it’s all north of Watford, which is close enough for Johnson.
Some of us sadists also enjoyed his being completely fazed by a question from Naga Munchetty in an interview on BBC Breakfast. Most politicians are trained how to deal with ‘whoops questions’ but Johnson twitched and bumbled around for a frighteningly long time before finding something irrelevant to say. Still, according to the Huffington Post, at least Tommy Robinson is now supporting him.
Remember Johnson is the man who, as Foreign Secretary, went to Iran and his only achievement was to betray Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with an unresearched remark that led to Iran’s extending her prison sentence. He subsequently apologised to parliament for “the distress and anguish”, which was no comfort to anyone.
Now the Independent Office for Police Conduct has been asked to consider whether he should be investigated for misconduct in public office over his failure to declare his relationship with Jennifer Arcuri while he was mayor of London. Sadly, they’re not going to do this until after he might have become our prime minister for another 5 years.
(Wouldn’t it be tragic if Uxbridge and South Ruislip chose a different MP at the election.)
Prince Andrew was also interviewed. In a couple of extracts I saw, he shut his eyes in an extended blink a couple of times – fascinating body language. In the interview, he categorically denied having sex with a 17-year old, saying he was having a pizza at the time. It takes all sorts.
Lots of places north (and west) of Watford flooded when rivers overflowed – why do they say “burst their banks” when nothing actually burst? Imagine having a cocktail of muddy water and sewage covering the ground floor of your house. Ugh!
All this while California and Eastern Australia are burning to the ground. What a pity we can’t export our surplus water to America and Australia?
An Observer journalist in her late 30s, Eva Wiseman, wrote a couple of weeks ago about discovering that the vision loss connected with her migraines was the result of a series of mini-strokes. She wrote movingly about the difficulty of processing such a discovery so, as a regular reader of her column, I wrote her a brief email saying how sorry I was to hear this and wishing her well. I received a short but kind thank-you note and, in her following week’s column, she wrote “Thank you to everyone who got in touch about last week’s column … I had hundreds of messages, each one more warm and lovely than the last. I’m relaxing into the sympathy as if a hot bath.”
Surely a good example of how to start building the pyramids of kindness I mentioned a few weeks ago.