Our poor old Queen, Trump v Iran, glossy black-cockatoos, how to apologise and more kindness

12 January 2020

I’ve been feeling sorry for the Queen this week, not something I normally spend much time doing, since Harry and Meghan announced they will be stepping back from their “senior roles” as royals before discussions with The Queen and Prince Charles had been completed.  Breach of protocol?  Of course, but who cares about that.  Rude and insensitive to others’ feelings?  Yes, and that’s why I think they were wrong not to wait a bit, though I’d love to have been there when Prince Philip heard the news.

So, in a couple of short months, Andrew’s peccadilloes have finally been exposed and Harry has resigned.  Poor woman – she’s been trying to hold the firm together for decades and has now had to call an emergency meeting of the main board.

The only thing that keeps me mildly supportive of the monarchy is the horrors I imagine electing a president would introduce.  I know that every other country in the world has always and without exception chosen exactly the right person as president but there’s a good chance we’d lead the way by appointing an idiot.

Which reminds me – I can’t think why – that more than a quarter of a million people (including me) have now signed the petition to stop Iain Duncan Smith getting a knighthood.

Also this week, Donald Trump decided to murder an Iranian VIP in cold blood.

You can imagine how it happened:  Trump has just kicked his ball out of the rough and onto the fairway when somebody approaches and says they’ve got an opportunity to assassinate Iran’s top general, Qassem Suleimani.

“Can’t you see I’m playing golf?” asks Trump.

“Yessir.  Can we take him out, sir?”

“Yeah, why not, now go away, I’m playing golf really really good.”

“Do you want to tell the Pentagon, or the Brits, or NATO or anybody else, sir?”

“No.  You’re interrupting the best golfer in the world, I’ve got a handicap of 2½.  Go away.”

So, on the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, they murdered Suleimani without even telling anybody else until afterwards.

In any event, Bonzo was on the beach in Mustique and wouldn’t have wanted to know because it’s difficult to stand to attention on hot sunlit sand after half a bottle of vodka;  and Trump knew that, as Brexit erects tariff barriers that are going to make it harder for us to trade with the EU,  Bonzo will have to sell his soul, or what’s left of it, to get a good deal with America if the UK economy is to survive.

So, when somebody did finally get round to telling Bonzo, his immediate reaction was as ear-shattering as a pin being dropped in a vacuum, despite widespread condemnation of the attack from other countries.  Well, we wouldn’t want to upset the Americans would we?

Luckily, after the event, Trump was obviously advised by people whose own IQs exceed the total of those of the entire Trump family (which isn’t terribly difficult to achieve) and Trump has backed down in the hopes of averting World War III.

Iran has also helped cool things by shooting down a commercial flight and killing all 176 people on board then, belatedly, saying “Whoops! Sorry”, which allowed the UK to add its voice to those condemning its actions.

While mainland Australia continues to burn, there’s been another potentially catastrophic fire on Kangaroo Island, a short flight from Adelaide in a small plane.  It’s thought to have been caused by lightning strikes and the fires have affected about a third of the island, hitherto a haven for chlamydia-free koalas and endangered species like the Kangaroo Island dunnart, and the glossy black-cockatoo.

Kaylen Ward, a model in Los Angeles, was so moved the devastation in Australia that she offered to send a nude photograph of herself to everyone who donated at least $10 to charities helping with the aftermath of the fires.  She has so far raised $1m and her success has inspired other models to do the same.

Another example this week of – well, integrity and humility perhaps rather than kindness – was shown by Dr Frances Arnold, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, joint winner of the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2018, who retracted a scientific paper she’d published last year.  She tweeted all her followers saying “I am totally bummed … It is painful to admit … I apologize to all … [I] did not do my job well”.

No attempt to defend or excuse herself, just an immediate, simple culpa mea and an apology.

Isn’t it sad that something so open, honest and admirable is so rare it immediately gets reported in the world’s press.

My own attempt to be kind this week is to offer not to send a nude photograph of me to anyone who donates £10 to charity or does something kind for somebody else.

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