TAKING THE NIETZSCHE

When the dawn is delayed to the point whereby doubts begin to circulate that it will ever actually arrive, the tendency to turn to quotations from those who lived through – and commented upon – the unique traumas of their own respective eras often proves irresistible as a means of seeking solace. In an age that is currently facilitating the repetition of history’s worst mistakes by wilfully erasing evidence of them, to disregard the wise words of those whose reflections can shine a new (and simultaneously old) light on where we are now is as foolhardy as it is sinister. Take Friedrich Nietzsche, unfairly tarnished with a posthumous Nazi lionisation that would have appalled him. He may have greeted the New Year with the pessimistic – if prescient – observation, ‘Yesterday, the first day of the year, I looked into the future and trembled. Life is dreadful and hazardous’, but he also issued statements that retain the power to speak to modern ears battered by the cynical newspeak of collectivist propaganda: ‘State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: “I, the state, am the people”.’

As an assault on a long-corrupted symbol of democracy provoked a level of outrage in contrast with the hypocritical dismissal of the damage done to Washington by Antifa and other assorted anarchists on Inauguration Day four years ago, the latest victor’s wheels are set in motion for vengeance as a rich man’s feud feeds the poor man’s ignorance. The increasingly unhinged Nancy Pelosi failed to eject Trump from the White House with the first impeachment farce, so she has now helped initiate – in the best Nicola Sturgeon/Remoaner tradition – ‘Impeachment 2: This Time it’s Even More Personal’. Sharing a somewhat overcrowded bed with big business and big tech, the Democrats have also applauded the decision by their unelected paymasters to bar the (soon-to-be) ex-President from social media, and the frenzied campaign to eradicate all traces of the loser now even echoes the way in which past pop cultural figures to undergo revisionist demonisation have been edited out of history; apparently, plans are afoot to remove a brief cameo by the Donald in one of the ‘Home Alone’ movies. Personally, I couldn’t care less if the whole film was junked, but that’s just the opinion of a cinema-lover.

Anyway, amidst the undignified grave-dancing, further wise words of Nietzsche spring to mind: ‘He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.’ The attempt to quash an alternative to Twitter in the shape of Parler – which has unsurprisingly seen a migration by the more fanatical Trump supporters to its libertarian platform – shows how pushing something underground just creates ghettos that ferment disaffection which can then be cited as justification for another bout of cancel culture. Yesterday, Twitter even demonstrated its Harry & Meghan-like absence of self-awareness by criticising the Ugandan Government for issuing an order to its citizens to desist from using social media and messaging apps in the approach to the country’s imminent election. ‘We strongly condemn internet shutdowns,’ declared the statement. ‘They are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights, and the principles of the #OpenInternet’ – unless you offer an alternative to Twitter or happen to be the democratically-elected President of the most powerful nation on Earth, of course; then internet shutdowns are fine.

With Joe Biden already announcing his Identity Politics agenda to prioritise small business-owners on the colour of their skin – what a healing, unifying force this administration will be – a Facebook ‘friend’ of mine (whose pronouncements I keep in my newsfeed solely for the unintentional entertainment value) upheld the persecuted victim narrative so beloved of the lunatic fringe that now dominates the Left with a fresh statement. Or perhaps she was simply responding to another strand of the Project Fear narrative, one propagated by those whose one-time authority has been so damaged by their own arrogance, avarice and hubris that this is what they now resort to in order to reclaim some of the power they once wielded over the people. They can no longer command our respect, so they have to terrify us into obedience – whether equating the Right with fascism led by ‘Literally Hitler’ or generating the belief that the coronavirus is ‘Literally Bubonic Plague’. Anyway, my FB acquaintance expressed solidarity with our American cousins and was ‘scared for my friends, for POC and LGBTQ folks’ – seemingly only scared for those POC & LGBTQ folks who are beholden to an ideology that controls Congress, the Presidency, the mainstream media, social media, academia, Hollywood, publishing, the Arts, sport, and every imaginable institution. Trust me, my dear – the view’s not great from whichever bridge you’re on; but you’ve got some quite considerable clout on your side.

Things could be worse, mind, like back in the UK. With 12 official reasons for now stepping outdoors – a socially-distanced countryside walk with a cuppa and a friend apparently not one of them – the nation’s favourite soothsayer Chris Whitty is here to bring us comfort and joy. He may look like a 1950s ‘Eagle’ comic prediction of how human beings will evolve in the future, but the No.1 medical Mekon has assured us we can all get back to normal…in a few years. Look forward to it. Meanwhile, as Boris cycles beyond the five-mile limit, his Government has sneaked-in a loophole to its eviction armistice when it hoped nobody was looking. The ban on bailiffs turfing tenants out of their homes that was introduced last March may have been moderately extended, but little attention was given to the caveat that entitles landlords to press ahead with evictions of those whose rent hasn’t been paid courtesy of pandemic unemployment.

As a renter who has often had peace and quiet routinely disturbed by inconsiderate arseholes, I was sympathetic to the reasonable rule that enabled landlords to evict tenants in ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as antisocial behaviour; but the rent arrears of a maximum nine months that also made eviction legit regardless of the renters’ behaviour had been modified during the first lockdown to protect tenants who, through no fault of their own, had been made redundant thanks to the Government closing down their place of employment. However, that modification has suddenly been altered so that the protection for tenants whose arrears since last March had not previously been added to the standard nine months has vanished. If a tenant hasn’t been able to pay rent for more than six months, they are now entitled to be added to the expanding roll-call of Britain’s homeless.

With the latest stats showing 127,240 children are trapped in temporary lodgings and 1,440 households with children are marooned in bed & breakfast accommodation, there have been calls for councils to requisition the country’s considerable vacant housing stock via Compulsory Purchase Orders. I suspect the majority of those children aren’t receiving much in the way of online home schooling at the moment; but it’s not as though they’ll grow up to become Prime Minister, is it? The housing crisis was a boil that desperately needed lancing long before anyone had heard of Covid-19, but the economic and social ramifications of a pandemic are not the responsibility of those whose safety net has been abruptly whipped away by a Government that cannot keep a promise.

‘There are no facts,’ said Nietzsche, ‘only interpretations.’ Interpretations of facts are all around us today, and if facts aren’t available, so be it; we’ll just print opinion and pass it off as fact. It’s so difficult to know who to believe and who to trust that it’s inevitable people opt for whichever account fits their existing belief system. And the disseminators of fact know this only too well.

© The Editor

A DISORDERLY TRANSITION

It seems America owes a debt to the ‘patriots’ who gate-crashed Congress on Wednesday after all; the universal condemnation of their actions finally provoked the Donald into belatedly acknowledging his lingering grip on the Presidency has indeed slipped from his tiny hands. 24 hours after the dramatic events at the Capitol Building, Trump grudgingly conceded he was committed to an orderly transition of power in a fortnight’s time, even if his announcement exuded all the sincerity of a chastised child being forced to apologise to the neighbour whose window he broke. To be fair, he had nowhere left to run; short of barricading himself in the Oval Office and turning it into his own panic room-cum-fallout shelter, perhaps one last defiant gesture his disciples could undertake by proxy was his way of bowing out disgracefully. Once the shock-horror MSM and social media reaction to the incident subsided, however, it seems evident that there are many beneficiaries – from Beijing to Moscow, and not forgetting Washington itself.

Trump’s most unhinged supporters served up precisely what the President and his enemies goaded them into and gifted the incoming administration with confirmation that the deplorables are indeed deplorable; four years they’ve been craving just such a moment and they finally got it. This presents them with the ideal excuse to press ahead with greater policing and censoring of opinions that the incursion of a certain virus had already laid the ground for; and a bunch of hicks in fancy dress costume handed it to them on a plate. Just as the actions of extremists on both Leave and Remain sides tarred moderates of either with the same damning brush, any American resistant to Identity Politics can now be bracketed along with every Confederate flag-waving yahoo that stormed the Capitol, every blinkered redneck that highlighted just how strangely inadequate security at one of Washington’s most politically sacred citadels is. A sceptic might even come to believe security was deliberately lax in order to allow such a stunt to happen, thus justifying the inevitable clampdown to come. That four people apparently died in the melee is, I guess, the price you pay for playing the pawns in someone else’s cynical chess game.

The Democrats devoted all their energies before last November’s Election to overturning a result they didn’t like, four whole years spent trying to oust Trump by foul means, desperate to find a way to remove a man from office they never once considered would contribute towards his own downfall in the end without any help from the opposition; four years which the Democrats could have spent weeding out the Woke cancer from their own party and presenting a non-divisive alternative to Trump. Anyone watching the chaos taking place on Wednesday would have been shocked, but it does stick in the throat a little that those who have voiced their outrage over the anarchy and the desecration of a government building weren’t so vocal when Antifa and BLM mobs were burning down Portland or taking over an entire district of Seattle, destroying ordinary people’s homes, livelihoods and neighbourhoods in the undemocratic process – y’know, those ‘mostly peaceful protests’.

Democracy wasn’t viewed as so precious then, nor when the Democrats scrabbled around for proof that Trump’s 2016 victory could be negated. Indeed, when the likes of Caroline Lucas, who did everything within her pitiful powerful to prevent the enactment of one particular democratic process, gets on her moral high horse yet again and condemns America’s ‘attack on democracy’, you know you’re in hypocrite heaven. That the mob intervened as Congress was going through the lumbering motions of verifying the result of the Presidential Election gave their protest additional potency; it appeared they, in their own clumsy way, were attempting in a couple of hours exactly what Remoaners here and Democrats there have exhausted their energies on for four years, and that is the real reason why their actions are worthy of condemnation. Lest we forget, what they disrupted was the last act of a democratic process that their man claimed was corrupted to guarantee his defeat. For all the Democratic Party’s hard work of ensuring this state of affairs would eventually come about, Trump himself has to take a great deal of credit for events; not only did he criticise his Vice President for refusing to countenance the President’s delusions, but his increasingly ridiculous conviction he was cheated out of a second term when the evidence simply isn’t there was destined to provoke civil disorder sooner rather than later. He effectively issued a call to arms, inviting his most diehard devotees to descend on the capital and disrupt confirmation of a result he’ll probably never accept. He no doubt had an inkling of what would happen, but so did anyone with the half-a-brain absent from the Presidential cranium.

Whereas the invasion of the Capitol Building occurred in the blink of an eye when compared to the sustained assault on Portland, the symbolism of the location undoubtedly elevates its significance. However, what struck me when the initial images unfolded was the way in which the gate-crashers appeared almost as amazed at the ease with which they’d managed it as the viewer; posing for selfies and wandering around like giddy, unsupervised kids on a school trip to a stately home, they seemed too gobsmacked to indulge in any overt vandalism; I suspect had Antifa got inside they’d have slashed the paintings, toppled the sculptures and started fires. Then again, whereas one side claims to love America, the other claims to hate it. The USA’s problem with condemning any physical manifestation of ‘revolutionary’ ideas is that it was forged from the flames of just such a move, so the Trump extremists fond of referring to themselves as ‘patriots’ can cite 1776 as a tradition they’re merely following in. Indeed, what could be more traditionally American than insurrection?

With the Democrats now controlling Congress as well as the Presidency, it is the Republicans’ turn to be enveloped in the kind of existential crisis that the Democrats were confronted by whilst Republicans took their eye off the ball during the distracting Trump circus. Having let the Donald in, they now can’t get rid of him; he has hinted more than once he intends to run again in 2024; and how do the Republicans reinvent themselves as a credible political party with him still representing them? On the surface, it may seem the Democrats have no such dilemma, though they’re just as rotten to the corrupt core as the opposition. Joe Biden in the White House is seen by many as a resumption of where we were before November 2016, as though the last four years can be erased from the record books and therefore never happened. However, they did happen, and the Democrats turning back the clock in their own ‘great reset’ feels a bit like the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in the wake of Napoleon’s abdication. They’re just papering over the cracks.

Of course, had the Donald won the Election anywhere other than in his head, it would have been Antifa and BLM storming the Capitol; but what’s the bloody difference, anyway – bar the reaction on media both mainstream and social? ‘Just think of the carnage had they not been white’ was an archetypal Twitter comment at the height of events on Wednesday, underlining the Identitarian thought processes behind giving the moral thumbs-up to one form of protest and the moral thumbs-down to another. The problem is if leniency is shown to one side, the gains they make serve as a gauntlet thrown down to the other; on and on the pissing contest goes and where it stops everyone knows. Mob rule by one begets mob rule by the other, and it’s never a good thing, whether in Portland, Seattle, Washington…or Bristol. A little love wouldn’t go amiss right now.

© The Editor

A SITE FOR SORE EYES

An incumbent US President loses office and goes down in history as a one-termer. No, I don’t mean Donald Trump; I mean Jimmy Carter. The same fate that has just befallen the Donald befell the Georgian peanut farmer exactly 40 years ago; and though, on the surface, the two Presidents have little in common, both swept to power as populist outsiders challenging a Washington orthodoxy in which the American electorate had lost faith – Carter in the wake of Watergate and Ford’s pardoning of Nixon, Trump appealing to the ‘deplorables’ left behind by the metropolitan political class and its queen regnant, Hillary Clinton. November 1980 came too soon for the personable Carter; the botched, aborted rescue of the US hostages in Tehran had damaged his popularity and reputation just a few months before and Ronald Reagan exploited it on a wave of patriotic, God-fearing fervour. Had Carter received an additional year’s breathing space, he may well have recovered; but unpredictable events can unsettle a political career right at the very moment when sailing appears plain; just ask Boris Johnson.

In November 1980, Americans and the rest of the West may have found the contest between the man in the White House and his born-again, movie star opponent intriguing, but many were more fixated on what was happening in the US city of Dallas rather than Washington. Wealthy oil magnate JR Ewing had just been gunned down by an unknown wannabe assassin and the world asked the question ‘Who Shot JR?’ Weirdly enough, the shots turned out to have been fired by Bing Crosby’s daughter, and that’s the point when we remember we’re talking about an entirely fictitious crime that nevertheless proved to be an early example of global water-cooler television. Less than 20 years earlier, a far more successful assassin had changed the course of American history in Dallas, but the imaginary shots fired in the city that November ricocheted around the world with a speed that suggested an appetite for violence was fine as long as nobody got hurt.

Just a matter of weeks later, a pop cultural giant who had emerged from self-imposed exile was on the receiving end of real gun crime; but there was precious little hint of the tragedy around the corner for John Lennon in November 1980 as he released and began to promote his first new recordings in five years. A decade less than twelve months old was still at that fascinating stage new decades stand at when their character has yet to form and there remain several optional routes to choose from; if the world of 1980 belonged anywhere, it was the late 1970s, with a hangover of stories from that era retaining their relevance. A murderous spree that had served to cast the North of England in a chillingly dark light, one which undoubtedly feels characteristically ‘1970s’, had spilled over into the 80s as the odious spectre of the Yorkshire Ripper continued to haunt women of that sprawling county – and 1980 saw a barbaric last hurrah for this hideous reign of terror.

The man behind the insidious myth seemed to taunt the police in the same way his Victorian namesake had a century earlier simply by evading capture and carrying on killing. His twelfth known victim, 47-year-old Marguerite Walls, was killed on 20 August; he then tried – and failed – to kill three other women: Uphadya Bandara in Leeds on 24 September, Maureen Lea in Leeds on 25 October, and Theresa Sykes in Huddersfield on 5 November. Peter Sutcliffe’s final grisly addition to a roll-call of 13 known murders came on 17 November when he killed Leeds University student Jacqueline Hill, leaving her body on waste ground behind a shopping parade in Headingley. The initial narrative perpetuated by West Yorkshire Police that this grotesque urban bogeyman primarily targeted prostitutes had already been contradicted by the 1977 murder of 16-year-old Jayne MacDonald in Chapeltown, Leeds – a girl who was a shop-worker rather than a sex-worker; the fact that what turned out to be his final victim was the second student he had attacked within the space of a month confirmed every woman in the region was a potential victim – though every woman in the region already knew it.

It took just over a month after the murder of Jacqueline Hill before Sutcliffe was finally caught. Arrested in January 1981 when the car he was driving was found to be bearing false number plates, he was taken to Dewsbury Police Station and was questioned – not for the first time, it turned out – about the Ripper murders simply because he fitted the profile. The discovery of murder weapons discarded at the scene of the arrest when Sutcliffe had been allowed to go for a pee by the arresting officers implied this was more than just another cruising punter; two days later, he confessed he was indeed the Yorkshire Ripper and he was charged within 24 hours. An appalling catalogue of killings spanning five years had been extended into the new decade not only by the blinkered ineptitude and prejudice of the police, but by the inadequate systems for storing and collating information as well as the undeniably damaging red herring of the ‘Wearside Jack’ tape.

It seems hard to believe now that Sutcliffe could have killed as many as he did and got away with it for so long; but one could say the same of Harold Shipman, Fred West or Dennis Nilsen, his contemporaneous serial killers. Along with their equally awful predecessors Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, all are now deceased, with Peter Sutcliffe joining them in that rather hot location reserved for the worst mankind has to offer as of – perhaps fittingly – Friday 13th. We have Covid-19 to thank for the killer blow, by all accounts. His death also comes just four days short of the 40th anniversary of Jacqueline Hill’s murder. Sutcliffe lived the 40 years he robbed her of, 40 years in which she could have enjoyed a dozen wonderful life experiences whilst he was shuttled from prison to prison and a gory industry sprouted around him. To be fair, though, the media generated that industry when he was busy killing by giving him such a salacious nickname; it was no great surprise it thrived during his lengthy incarceration, but the region he terrorised for five years didn’t buy into it. His name remains one spat out rather than spoken and he is just as loathed there now as he was when finally nicked for his crimes. The sense of disgust and hatred towards him there is no less vociferous than in January 1981. Time doesn’t heal everything.

I pass the site of Jacqueline Hill’s grim resting place most days; without knowledge of what happened there, few would give this undistinguished plot of land a second glance. Up until around a decade ago, it still looked the same as it did on the day Jacqueline Hill’s body was discovered, no different from the film footage that turns up in the endless documentaries, the overgrown and untendered spot packed with police furtively looking for clues. Then it was eventually converted into a private car-park for employees of the various businesses lining the shopping parade it stands behind; as befits lockdown, there are no vehicles parked on it today, and I fully expect someone to anonymously leave a bouquet of flowers at the gates next Tuesday; they often do periodically, though next Tuesday has a particular poignancy. That Peter Sutcliffe should exit a mere four days beforehand perhaps gives it an additional emotional punch. But if doesn’t really need one. The accompanying photograph I took this morning on the surface says nothing, but knowing a gruesome chapter in the history of the region drew to a bloody close there says something. After all, the fields where some of the nation’s most brutal battles took place centuries ago are similarly placid places today, giving no hint of the terrible tales they could tell. But there remains something in the air there, for sure.

© The Editor

NORMAL SERVICE IS RESUMED

Donald Trump has never courted the favour of those beyond his most enthusiastic hardcore fan-base (for whom he can do no wrong), so his unedifying behaviour in the face of imminent electoral oblivion was never going to win him any support outside of that fan-base; nor should his response have come as much of a surprise. Whether rooted in genuine fact or not, the President’s conviction that he has been robbed of a second term by the easily-corruptible archaic process of the US electoral system isn’t even receiving the backing of Fox News, which tells you everything you need to know. At the time of writing, Joe Biden has been declared the winner but the Donald hasn’t conceded defeat. And, of course, we wouldn’t expect Trump to bow out gracefully; such an act simply isn’t in his nature. Indeed, one could say it is that very nature which has served to squander a golden opportunity to wrestle control from the global elites that are now in a stronger position than ever; Trump’s four years in power can be written off as a temporary blip, a people’s revolt that was successfully suppressed due to the people’s champion being the wrong man from day one.

Trump was destined to blow it by virtue of his personality; a coarse, pig-ignorant, narcissistic egotist, schooled in a business jungle that prizes such attributes, was never going to appreciate or understand the exceedingly precious gift that fell into his lap when he’d successfully capitalised on the dissatisfaction of a disenfranchised populace left behind by the Davos/Bilderberg globalism clique – all the rustbelt peasants long since discarded by Washington and Wall Street and in desperate need of a spokesman to invest their hopes in. What do they do now? The Democrats can overlook the fact that their diversity narrative was contradicted by a greater proportion of ethnic minority votes going to the Republicans; they have their victims back where they want them and can continue pedalling the Identity Politics agenda that they cannot see will alienate them even further from the majority who do not view the world in terms of oppressed and oppressor. Now the project can proceed uninterrupted, especially when grandpa’s dementia quickly causes him to step down so a Woman of Colour can step up and take over without the trouble of being elected.

Ultimate power therefore remains with the dominant tech and corporate overlords, a cartel Trump would certainly have broken had he been handed a second term; their complacency was shaken in 2016, first by Brexit and then by Trump, and they vowed they wouldn’t get fooled again; and they haven’t been because they were up against a man too stupid to realise his good fortune. His paranoid and combative attitude towards his opponents gave them the green light to echo that attitude; what was the impeachment farce or the ‘Russian interference’ saga if not the mirror image of Trump’s own disdain for fair-play? Trump has consistently proven to be his own worst enemy throughout his presidency, so that even if his claims of electoral fraud in various states were indeed proven to be a bona-fide conspiracy on the part of the left-leaning, illiberal ‘liberals’ controlling every institution in the west, he’s cried wolf too many times to win a sympathetic audience other than the one that thinks the sun shines out of his orange ass.

The inescapable truth is that all of the Anglosphere – UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand – has now been fully absorbed into the pseudo-Marxist dogma whereby those claiming victimhood with the loudest voices are appeased, courted and pampered and the rest are cultural cannon-fodder; it’s not exactly a coincidence that these are the nations that have taken the most severe authoritarian approach to the coronavirus and have relished stripping away civil liberties in the process. Here in Blighty, mental health and disability charities are attempting to overcome the mask-wearing public’s hostility to those lucky souls spared the mask on medical grounds by suggesting the wearing of a badge; the ‘sunflower lanyard’ of the Hidden Disabilities charity has been proposed to identify the legitimate exemptions; why not just settle for the Star of David and have done with it?

As the brave new world of anti-racism advocates racial segregation that effectively revives the same Jim Crow laws that sprang from the figures immortalised in bronze which were hauled from their plinths by Antifa mobs, it’s funny how the further along the progressive road the far-left travels, the closer it edges to the fringes of the far-right. They meet in the middle and the beneficiaries are few while the losers are many. Not that this is evident to those too busy dancing on the Donald’s freshly-dug grave, deluded in their belief things can only get better simply because the wicked witch is dead. There is no such thing as a Biden-ite or Biden-ism; the old theory in football that one team didn’t win the league so much as their closest rivals lost it has never rung truer in a political arena in which one man becomes President not because anyone believes in him but because they despise his opponent.

Anyway, the pattern of this US Presidential Election is merely the latest symptom of a toxic trend that has its roots much further back in time than is generally recognised. The foundations for the vicious polarisation as exemplified by Democrat/Republican or Labour/Tory or Remainer/Brexiteer or pro-Scottish independence/pro-Union or pro-lockdown/anti-lockdown, in which an opposing opinion is not simply an ideological opponent but THE ENEMY (as the Germans or the French once were to Brits), were laid during a witch-hunt that began almost ten years ago. The great Paedo Panic that came in the wake of the Jimmy Savile ‘revelations’ effectively kick-started ‘cancel culture’, as anyone daring to question the accepted narrative then had the finger of suspicion aimed at them; it established a consensus built on fear that few were prepared to speak out against – and virtually none in the mainstream media were – because people were scared of the consequences. Only when a respected veteran broadcaster still in his prime such as Paul Gambaccini was targeted, and had the nerve to speak out, was the world prepared to listen.

Prior to Gambo’s platform enabling the wider public to be exposed to the truth of the witch-hunt, numerous online folk – most of them of my acquaintance at one time or another – had been bravely highlighting the flaws in the argument and had suffered the appalling brickbats of the trolls for their sins. Ageing celebrities may have hogged the headlines when seized upon by the pitchfork-wielding mob, but hundreds of unknown, innocent individuals and their families had their lives turned upside down too; and while the false allegations were pretty serious to begin with, the entrenchment of this approach as a means of destroying lives and livelihoods has descended into the realm of the ridiculous after a decade. It seems it was only a small step from losing one’s job and being publicly vilified following unproven allegations of sexual assault to losing one’s job and being publicly vilified for tweeting that men in drag can’t menstruate.

The introduction of DBS checks worked on the assumption those seeking to work with children were subconscious paedos just as Unconscious Bias Training now works on the assumption that anyone white working in the corporate world is a subconscious racist. The past was already being discredited and edited a decade ago, only nobody noticed when the genesis of the great revisionist exercise was focused on old editions of ‘Top of the Pops’. And my, how far the project has progressed since then. Post-BLM, in a world where the whole of western history and all of its achievements has now been declared evil, racist and deplorable, the decks have been cleared for a wholesale rewrite; prepare for social media to be awash with gloating Woke separatists, emboldened by Biden’s victory and seeing it as a means to implement even further an agenda that will continue to detach the minority from the majority and make a mockery of ‘healing a divided nation’; Identity Politics thrives on division. Just muse on what a wasted opportunity to give the majority a true voice the last four years have been.

© The Editor

SNIFF ‘N’ THE TIERS

Perhaps it’s no great surprise that a couple of days ago I misread a statement outlining new lockdown plans north of the border. What actually said ‘Scotland will move to a five-tier level of restrictions at 6am on Monday’ I initially read as ‘Scotland will move to a five-YEAR level of restrictions at 6am on Monday’. An understandable mistake to make…or is it? A question James Burke might have posed – well, he did when lampooned on a memorable ‘Not the Nine O’Clock News’ sketch, exaggerating his habit of asking such questions on his wonderful science documentaries at the time. Another sketch from the series came back to me today – a statement from a prominent Minister on the latest unemployment figures. Rowan Atkinson flicks through said stats and wearily responds with ‘Oh, God’ over and over again. I sort-of feel a bit like that with every headline that emerges at the moment, perhaps because they’re all so bloody awful. But, hey, it could be worse – we could have to choose between Sleepy Joe and the Donald (and why does that sound like the title of a Mark Twain story?).

US Presidential Elections rarely tend to be built-up as being no big deal; they’re always sold as ‘one of the most crucial in American history’, the outcome always advertised as being something upon which the future wellbeing of the western world depends. The escalation of pre-Election hype can almost feel as though the old boxing promoter Don King is hovering somewhere in the background, as if a far-from frivolous exercise in democracy is just another Ali fight at Madison Square Garden. Mind you, I guess it’s all bound-up in that unique way US politics and showbiz meet and mingle, the way that often makes it hard to see the join; maybe it began with JFK and his movie star glamour 60 years ago – or maybe with actual movie star Ronald Reagan 20 years later. Either way, having a celebrity President like Trump in the White House, that tradition was destined to ascend even greater heights (or depths) of gaudy tackiness.

It goes without saying that – to use a recurring media phrase characteristic of Presidential Elections – ‘the stakes are high’ this time round; but that’s due to external events outside of the Washington bubble rather than something generated by the two contenders. Both sides may have claimed champion and challenger as their respective personification of the culture wars, but neither can be said to embody the spirit of the moment as Obama did in 2008; one gets the impression Trump and Biden between them are simply weaponising the maelstrom of 2020 for their own personal gain – two old men probably unable to believe their luck that they happen to be fighting for the right to run such a deeply divided, f***ed-up country at their stage of life. Twelve years ago, Obama inherited a nation that had just been plunged into an economic black hole, but he tried to galvanise and unite in the same way FDR had in 1932; whether or not he succeeded is open to debate, but at least his vision stretched beyond his reflection.

For all the hype, the fact remains that, as a contest, an incumbent President taking on a man who departed the Vice Presidency in 2016 after eight years in the job doesn’t have the same frisson to it as when neither candidate has ever held the highest office before. Those kinds of US Elections are like a World Cup Final between two nations yet to carry off the trophy – always a tad more tantalising than if the Germans or Brazilians or Italians are involved again. As it is, the Vice Presidency as an office isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion for the Presidency itself; indeed, serving Vice Presidents historically have mixed results when running for President. George Bush Senior was Reagan’s deputy when he won his solitary term in 1988, but – thanks in no small part to ‘the Chads’ – Al Gore couldn’t make the leap from No.2 to No.1 against Bush Junior 20 years ago. Incumbent ‘Veep’ Hubert Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon in 1968, eight years after Tricky Dicky ceased to be second-in-command to Eisenhower, sealing one of the greatest comebacks in American politics. Even the previously-untested experience of First Lady couldn’t guarantee the White House in 2016. What this all says about Biden’s chances I’m not entirely sure; but it made for a fairly interesting paragraph.

As we all know by now, the creaky 18th century system by which the results are ultimately decided will inevitably lead to calls for reform by the losing side if the outcome is a close run thing; this year, both parties have been preparing preemptive strikes. Trump has promised to utilise the courts if the Democrats dispute his victory, whereas Sleepy Joe has been advised by Hillary Clinton not to concede at any cost. And, of course, the warring factions on either side of the barricades are stocking-up their arsenals in the event of defeat, ready to demand a recount that will simply keep on going until the result is reversed; reminds me of something that happened not so long ago on this side of the pond, though I can’t remember what at the moment. Perhaps the most worrying element in 2020 is how many of those polled have stated they reckon violence is a legitimate means of opposing an outcome they don’t agree with; the actual principles of democracy seem to have been misconstrued by an entire generation, and what will the endgame of that be, I wonder – a suspension of the clearly ineffectual democratic process and the instillation of dictatorship? Fine as long as it’s ‘the right side’, I guess.

Indeed, just as UK General Elections once took several weeks to be resolved – though we have to go back to 1945 for the most recent example of this – the results of US Presidential Elections in the 21st century have the potential to be stretched beyond the point of human endurance, like the longest penalty shoot-out in history. By now, a system should be in place to convincingly announce a winner within 24 hours of physical polling; but the Electoral College would appear to be as immovable as the House of Lords. Don’t hold your breath. Not that you’d know it from social media, but non-Americans don’t actually have a say in any of this, lest we forget; I can’t help but recall the hilariously patronising ‘letter’ the Grauniad published in 2004 informing Americans why it wouldn’t be a good idea to vote for Bush. The blind eyes turned to Biden’s failings is a joyous excursion into hypocrisy of the highest order for the detached observer, the most entertaining symptom of Trump Derangement Syndrome yet seen; but the blatant online censure of revelations regarding Biden’s son is a far less funny development. Anyway, the doddery old hair-sniffer will probably hand the reins of power to his Woman of Colour Vice President in a matter of months even if he wins – and what a wonderful Woke future we in the west have to look forward to if that happens.

Hell, we don’t have to look to the States for further confirmation of Hell being the destination of the proverbial handcart; recent events in France and in Vienna last night appear to have demonstrated yet again that Radical Islam is far from down and out in 2020. Each faction of this miserable century’s tribes can boast its own dedicated fanatics, and Islam has a remarkably successful recruitment scheme that keeps attracting new generations of devotees. Just as the IRA had the gall to launch mortar shells at Downing Street in the middle of the Gulf War, ISIS and its numerous affiliates have no qualms about striking when the west is already weighed down by a pandemic panic dependent upon carefully selected stats to justify governments scaring and demoralising their people into accepting the removal of their civil liberties. SWJs to the left of me, Jihadists to the right – here I am, stuck in the middle with you…and a killer plague with a frighteningly low death rate.

2020: Review of the Non-Year from Johnny Monroe on Vimeo.

© The Editor

IN THROUGH THE BACK DOOR

I suspect as soon as Kamala Harris was unveiled as Sleepy Joe’s running mate she was referred to as ‘African-American’; if one was to take that ubiquitous phrase literally – i.e. indicating a US citizen descended from slaves – it doesn’t apply to the prospective Vice President. Her scientist mother was from India and her economics professor father was from Jamaica. But, as we all know by now, Identity is everything on what passes for the Left these days, and I guess the Californian Senator can identify as whatever she wants as long as it fits the required model. Because Harris is an American ‘woman of colour’, she’s therefore automatically ‘African-American’. And, of course, being female means she ticks two boxes. The foregone conclusion that Biden’s choice would be a woman of colour meant her selection was no great surprise; the worrying mental decline of the patsy shoved forward as the Democratic nominee implies his potential tenancy of the White House may well be brief, thus opening the back door for Kamala Harris to become the first female US President.

There was no evident display of kinship between Biden and Harris during the battle for nomination; then again, there wasn’t between Obama and Hillary in 2008 and that didn’t prevent Obama handing Clinton a prestigious post once elected. Despite giving the impression he struggles to remember his own name most days, the old hair-sniffer has done his duty in choosing a woman of colour as his running mate; he declared that mate would be female as long ago as March, and post-Floyd America decreed that mate would also need the correct skin tone to pass muster. The Democrats are so Woke-infested that an elderly white man with a string of inappropriate allegations hanging around him only had one way of appeasing the critics within his own party, and he’s done his best.

Ironically, Kamala Harris is not that beloved by the regressive Left; her tough approach to crime when Attorney General for California certainly didn’t win her any Woke points, but she has made token concessions to the Cause in order to get where she is now – and, of course, her personal politics were ultimately not that great an impediment on account of other factors weighing heavier in her favour. Whereas the Democrat-sponsored lobby groups demanded the hanging, drawing and quartering of Brett Kavanaugh, they have chosen to opt for ‘innocent till proven guilty’ where Biden is concerned; and it would appear they’re prepared to overlook any policies that would ordinarily be regarded as ‘problematic’ in the case of Harris due to the two winning cards she has in her hand. Having to rely on her sex and colour as sufficient evidence she’s the right person for the job is a potent comment on the ideology that got her the gig.

Even so, it’s a tricky path to traverse, aiming to please the fanatical Woke wing of the party as well as appealing to the wider, less fanatical electorate. The fact that Biden and Harris are the most palatable Democrats to that electorate highlights just how unelectable the other options were, even if those Democrats obsessed with first-world minority causes fail to appreciate this. It’s a situation not dissimilar to the Labour Party over here. A charisma-free android was elected leader simply because the other contenders were oblivious as to how symptomatic they were of everything that has alienated Labour from floating voters and traditional diehards. Before 2020 panned out the unexpected way it has, the predictable failure of the impeachment farce and an ailing ex-Vice President being presented as the best of an exceedingly bad bunch to take on Trump looked like a second term for the Donald was a no-brainer. Now, who knows?

Biden is currently ahead in the polls, and though we’ve all learnt not to trust them, his lead has undoubtedly been aided by a factor unique to this oh-so strange year. The usual rallies associated with the campaign trail have been conspicuous by their absence so, much like the low profile afforded our own beloved leader during last December’s General Election, Sleepy Joe has had fewer opportunities to put his foot in it and jeopardise his chances. For Biden’s opponent, however, the restrictions imposed on public gatherings have been disastrous. As with Jeremy Corbyn, Trump is in his element when preaching to the enthusiastic converted; denied the grandstand events that characterised his run for office in 2016, Trump has struggled to make much of an impression so far; his suggestion that the potential corruptibility of postal voting could lead to the postponement of the Election just looked like a desperate move by a man who was contemplating losing.

The structure of America’s political map, whereby individual States operate almost like self-governing principalities of the Holy Roman Empire theoretically loyal – albeit not necessarily answerable – to the seat of power, means Washington often has very little say over policy; never has this been more evident than during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, those cities where anarchist collectives have seized control of neighbourhoods and reduced them to lawless ghettoes undeniably make the President look incredibly weak. If great swathes of the nation appear to be up shit creek, it’s more likely the man in the White House will carry the can rather than the State Governors whose actions (or inaction) are more responsible. And whereas Trump’s regularly bizarre statements and Tweets could be tolerated as an amusing irrelevance when the US economy was on the up, they don’t seem quite so funny when so many face losing their jobs and their homes. People don’t really want to hear Trump going on about changing the definition of a showerhead to allow increased water flow and thus improving his own personal hair routine.

The one real hope Mr President has of regaining control of the race will come with the first TV debates against Biden. Last time round, these produced some of the most gruesomely compelling and brutally uncomfortable television ever aired – the kind that made you feel like having a shower after watching, with or without a personal hair routine. In 2020, the prospect of a cornered Trump at his nastiest being let loose on doddery old Joe will probably make the viewer feel like a shameful spectator at a public execution. If the Donald plays it right, it could kill Biden’s chances overnight and expose his mental frailties in the cruellest fashion imaginable. And Trump wouldn’t care if he came across as a bully because it upholds his image as a ‘strong’ leader. Yet it’s an indication of how advanced Trump Derangement Syndrome is in Democrat ranks that they’re prepared to put Biden through it.

I suppose the strategy could be to hope Trump’s unpopularity and perceived failure to deal with Covid-19 will help turn a blind eye to Sleepy Joe’s shortcomings and push the former Vice President over the finishing line; by selling such a familiar brand to the US electorate, the Democrats know they can then swiftly install the first female President without the need for another Election to put her in the White House. Kamala Harris probably wouldn’t win if she were standing alone against Trump; but if Biden proves incapable after a few months in the job – which many think will be the case – he can quickly handover to his Vice President with the minimum of effort. It’s not exactly a dignified swansong to a long political career like Biden’s, but the Democrats have tried everything else.

© The Editor

A POLAR EXPEDITION

Perhaps one reason why the national outbreak of weekly clapping caught on was that it helped generate a sense of community – however superficial – at a moment when many suddenly felt extremely isolated and detached from wider society. However, it’s arguable that in many cases the lockdown merely lifted a lid on pre-existing isolation and detachment rather than manufacturing them from scratch. Along with the pre-Cummings ‘were all in this together’ mantra (which a majority desperately wanted to believe, if only to give credence to the sacrifices being made), there was a hope that the polarisation exacerbated by Brexit might just be put into perspective. If we were all in this together, we could stop hurling poison darts at each other from either side of the tribal barricades; we could cease hostilities and, even if we couldn’t shake hands due to social distancing guidelines, we could at least stop screaming at one another.

There was a very brief moment early on when it looked as if all the fatuous issues that had dominated discourse on social media for the past couple of years had mercifully been put to bed; there was a new, far more dramatic issue to capture the imagination. The extreme decision to bring everything to a grinding halt should, in theory, have united the warring factions; this was far more serious than gender pronouns or whatever else had provoked such inexplicable anger online and, unlike trivial first-world obsessions, it affected everybody. But it was naively optimistic to expect those who have an investment in division to abruptly abandon it. It feels now like the polarisation runs so deep that not even an event as life-changing (or threatening) as a global pandemic can overcome enmities that seem set in stone.

It wasn’t long before the familiar racial and gender factors began to surface in the coronavirus narrative, almost as if it wasn’t enough that we were all in it together; some of us had to be in it more than others as the Oppression Olympics proceeded regardless and the scramble to grab the gold medal of victimhood reasserted itself. Those who see everything through such distorted prisms simply couldn’t help themselves from applying their usual worldview to the picture once the momentarily unifying shock of the lockdown subsided. Even when faced with the greatest leveller of all, there has to be an Identity Politics angle to hone in on; it appears to have become the default setting, whatever the circumstances.

And then it took the Dominic Cummings revelation, hot on the heels of Neil Ferguson’s exposure, to bring the full polarising fury that characterised the Brexit saga back onto the front pages. Remoaners never forget, and the prospect of hanging out to dry the detested Svengali regarded as an architect of the peasants’ revolt of 2016 was too good an opportunity to resist. The staggeringly disproportionate coverage by, and behaviour of, the mainstream media over this issue has demonstrated that what divides us will continue to do so even when attention should really be focused elsewhere. It was the final nail in the coffin of a promising pause that had suggested a major event like lockdown would lead to a temporary ceasefire that, in time, would become permanent as people gradually grew-up and moved on. No such luck, alas. Twitter today is just as packed with vicious, vociferous fanatics on both sides as it was before Covid-19 winged its merry way from east to west.

Following representatives of the two extremes on Twitter, I observe this toxic tennis match between left and right with increasing despair; it’s a grand-slam final that seems set to play on with little prospect of ever reaching match-point; both opponents are refusing to concede an inch. The loss of a middle ground not only in politics, but in society as a whole, has helped generate a scenario in which one has to take an extreme position on every burning issue. If one attempts to be balanced and see the good and bad in everyone, that’s not acceptable; the enemy must be utterly condemned. If one says anything remotely positive about a policy decision made by Boris or Trump – not easy, I admit, but not impossible – one is immediately shot down and branded a ‘Nazi sympathiser’ or whatever chosen insult is trending this week. It’s like a kid in the playground who intervenes when another kid is being picked on, and then those doing the picking instantly accuse the kid who intervened of harbouring unrequited love for the kid being picked on. It’s that infantile.

Mind you, it doesn’t help when Mr President so often exhibits the same childish combative approach to any crisis. He could have phrased his intention to curb the rioting in Minneapolis better, of course, but few expect dignified gravitas from a man who lacks the eloquence of tact. It’s a given that the National Guard are going to be called in when civil disturbance grows so serious that the situation necessitates their intervention; but there are ways and means of calming chaos. What provoked the anger that inspired the rioting in the first place was undoubtedly horrible if sadly unsurprising where the attitude of some US police forces are concerned; the sadistic idiot responsible for the death of George Floyd is one more contaminated product of America’s ongoing problem with race, a problem that stretches from inbred racial prejudice on one side to the assumption that every non-white has to vote Democrat as part of their duty as oppressed minorities on the other.

And as so often happens in the aftermath of such a gruesome incident as the killing of George Floyd, professional agitators move in to exploit and enflame the anger. The likes of Antifa and Black Lives Matter give every impression of being partners in anarchy whose ultimate aims may differ, but whose means of achieving those aims are similar; if they share anything beyond capitalising on discontent, it is to enhance and widen even further the divisions that would only render their respective organisations null and void if – God forbid – they should ever be healed. The former seek to destabilise the system whenever they sniff a powder-keg bubbling and sod the consequences for those caught in the crossfire; the latter have an investment in the continuation of racial tensions that justify their own existence. Neither group is concerned with the genuine grievances that they hitch a ride on; like a nihilistic travelling circus, they arrive in town, stoke unrest and then depart when the town is in ruins.

The message is drilled into the masses via generous MSM coverage which preaches the narrative that skin colour or sexual preference utterly define an individual above all else and will naturally divide us because we’re not all the same. Mankind will never progress beyond the barrier of colour if it is constantly being reinforced by those who require its perpetual presence in order to survive and prosper. Social media is currently awash with race-baiting propaganda appealing to the guilty consciences of the self-flagellating white Woke folk who carry the crimes of their forefathers on their backs. You are a racist and 2+2=5. To dispute this logic is to place you in sympathy with the cop who killed George Floyd; and Donald Trump; and Boris Johnson; and Nigel Farage; and Vote Leave; and so on and so on. What timing, mind – a frustrated people driven half-crazed by lockdown measures were primed for parasites preying on their grievances, and the plan is working. We are divided and we are falling. At least it’s not that long a way down, though.

© The Editor

PATRIOT GAMES

Events in Michigan a few days ago confirmed my long-held opinion that the lunatic fringes of both the far left and the far right have far more in common with each other than they do with the rest of us. Extreme beliefs expressed via extreme behaviour are pretty much the same, whatever the ideology – whether a mob in Iran calling for death to America or western Woke students besieging a campus, demanding the removal of someone or something that triggered them. Intimidation in numbers and the promise of violence when the perpetrators lack both the vocabulary and ability to debate are universal tactics. The far left’s anarchists tend to come from the privileged middle class whereas the far right’s are largely blue-collar; but both manifest their grievances in a remarkably similar manner when mobilised. The difference between, say, Antifa and the protestors who surrounded and then entered the state capitol building in Lansing was weaponry; the latter included an armed ‘militia’, taking the demonstration to another level.

In case you missed it, a group of right-wing demonstrators calling themselves ‘patriots’ (a hardly-coincidental echo of the label adopted by the rebels kick-starting the American War of Independence) had gathered for the latest protest against Michigan’s response to Covid-19 on Thursday. Once inside the capitol building, their intentions to gatecrash the House Chamber were only prevented by an impenetrable wall of state police, much to the relief of the elected representatives on the other side of the door. The main target of the protestors’ ire appears to have been Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer – who happens to be a Democrat; and the decision of a court a month ago that Whitmer’s directives do not infringe on the constitutional rights of Michigan citizens lit the fuse for the state’s most gung-ho, huntin’/shootin’/fishin’ sons and daughters to take to the streets. Like their far left opposites, they tend to be defined by whatever they’re against, and need little in the way of prompting; the lockdown was the gift they were waiting for.

The fragile relationship between Washington and several US states – a situation exacerbated by a President not renowned for his diplomacy – has been stretched to breaking point ever since lockdown measures were imposed. Michigan currently seems to be home to the most vociferous opposition to pandemic policies in the hands of individual state governors, and it’s notable that the majority of those participating in Thursday’s ‘American Patriot Rally’ had been galvanised by what they perceived as enthusiastic support from the President. Mind you, when the Donald exceeded his customary irresponsibility by tweeting ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN’, it’s no wonder they reckoned they had legitimate grounds to act as though engaged in their own little revolution.

The UK’s lockdown has had its opponents, but a few isolated piss-ups behind closed doors hardly rank with some of the protests seen across the Atlantic these past few weeks. Closer to home, perhaps only certain segments of the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland can compete with some Americans’ fanatical adherence to centuries-old designs for life, such as 1791’s Second Amendment – the right to bear arms. Beyond such circles, gun-toting is hardly guaranteed to gain sympathy for any grievances, reinforcing as it does specific stereotypes of inbred hicks and rednecks. But those with the mindset that sees no wrong in carrying firearms regard any impositions on their freedoms as an excuse to reach for the rifle, reacting in a way that implies theirs is the sole community on the planet to have a lockdown imposed upon it – as though it has been singled out for especially punitive treatment because of its beliefs rather than a global health crisis affecting everybody.

The ringleaders of Thursday’s events call themselves Michigan United for Liberty; their manifesto declares it has ‘the right to work to support our families, to travel freely, to gather for religious worship and other purposes, to gather in protest of our government…’ Yes, all reasonable expectations for the citizens of a democratic society, and ones we can all agree with – BUT – as we are all aware, we are not currently living in normal circumstances; the freedoms expressed as a given have been suspended for a reason. Not that the close-knit crowd spreading their germs amongst each other in Lansing appeared to have recognised this, despite residing in a state that has seen Covid-19 claim the lives of more Michigan folk than the 3,000+ that spurned social distancing to congregate on Thursday.

Lest we forget, amidst the unprecedented mood of the moment, America is still focused on a certain upcoming Presidential Election, and Michigan happens to be a so-called ‘swing state’, which has resulted in many Republicans effectively endorsing lockdown-breaking protests in Michigan and other states where votes are required. It might seem anachronistic that a state such as California staged similar protests on Friday; after all, think of California and most think of San Francisco or Hollywood, which are hardly renowned as hotbeds of right-wing radicalism. But perhaps the sheer size of so many American states is easy to forget, and the small pockets of lefty liberalism that dominate discourse are able to do so because they have the largest platform to get their message across. As with the cultural and media elite here, the over-abundance of like-minded voices in control of such institutions can give a lopsided impression that they are the majority when they’re very much not.

Some US states, such as Georgia and Maryland, have seen the people take matters into their own hands without any discernible opposition from local authorities; small businesses confronted by the economic abyss, like barber’s and family-owned cafés, have reopened whilst still observing basic guidelines. This doesn’t seem irresponsible; the lockdown was never going to kill the virus, anyway, but merely minimise its initial impact and therefore prevent it from overwhelming hospitals and medical centres in one fell swoop. A gradual lifting of the most severe restrictions for those whose livelihoods could otherwise be lost should the lockdown continue much longer feels like the sensible approach to take, and those whose businesses have tentatively resumed are a long way from gun-toting, MAGA cap-wearing shit-stirrers looking for a fight.

Population density has a large part to play in this crisis, and as lockdown measures are eased, such factors need to be taken into account. Over here, for example, a blanket approach for the whole country has its limits; yes, London being the overpopulated metropolis it is obviously needs restrictions in place longer than, say, Cornwall does; this also applies to the vastly varied US states. And as the left lionise their latest pin-up in the saintly shape of New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, it should remember how small the population of New Zealand is compared to the majority of the world’s great cities; maybe it should also remember how Aung San Suu Kyi was similarly worshipped until relatively recently and might consider reining in its tendency towards deification. In short, it’s easier to proudly unfurl a low body-count when one presides over more scattered communities than teeming urban cauldrons. And it’s easier to digest a valid point without having to do so at gunpoint. Yee-hah, y’all.

© The Editor

STANDARDS AT THE DOUBLE

‘We are all in this together’. Hmmm, okay. The resurrection of that fatuous phrase in a coronavirus context, whilst clearly intended to foster a sense of national community as the country struggles against a common enemy, cannot help but evoke its previous airing via George Osborne during his stint as the Austerity Chancellor. It didn’t ring true then, nor does it now. After all, according to the Guardian – which, of course, has no agenda whatsoever – non-white folk are more susceptible to Covid-19. Lest we forget, however, the great levellers of penury and poverty play a far bigger part in one’s vulnerability to infection than skin colour or cherry-picked ‘ethnicity’; but as top Fleet Street journos tend not to reside in cramped rented properties with shared kitchens and bathrooms or one-bedroom council flats without gardens, maybe that truism doesn’t fit the theory.

Anyway, the enforcement of the lockdown is evidently in safe hands as long as the government guidelines remain so flexible and open to interpretation by the police. Lucky enough to live near a park where you can mind your own business? You may be moved on by vigilant officers. Lucky enough to have a garden where you can mind your own business? You may be moved indoors by vigilant officers. It’s all about social distancing, innit. Although…fancy gathering in a close-knit crowd to clap for the NHS in front of TV cameras? Come on down to Westminster Bridge and signal your virtue alongside the men from the Met! It could be worse, though; whereas the public have been videoing and tweeting the worst police misdemeanours, the boys and girls in blue themselves prefer to post hilarious clips of officers engaging in choreographed dance routines, just like ordinary people do – what with us all being in this together.

Double standards aren’t the exclusive property of British police forces, mind. Over in the US, it should be remembered that Mr President’s dependably bonkers grandstanding is only partly his own unique response to the pandemic; he’s also electioneering and hoping his combating of Covid-19 will stand him in good stead come November – though probably not in New York. Anyway, if most of the country has sufficiently recovered from the worst of it, Trump will be more than happy to take the credit and use that as a stick with which to beat his Democratic opponent. And he must be delighted that it appears more and more likely that opponent will be the former Vice-President Joe Biden. Perhaps the most interesting and telling factor in the expected nomination of Sleepy Joe, however, is the manner in which it has laid bare the double standards and blatant hypocrisy of the American left.

The arrogant, narcissistic tunnel-vision of Identity Politics dogma blinds those it infects to the truth of its polling station poison; judging by the appointments to Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet – David Lammy?! FFS – the Labour Party over here has still yet to realise this, and the alienating Woke nature of most Democratic candidates under the age of 50 has perhaps led to the promotion of the pensioners. The withdrawal of another ancient monument in the decrepit shape of Bernie Sanders has seen Democrat hopes of defeating the bad orange man transferred to a character who, were he a Republican, would be regarded as extremely ‘problematic’. Eight separate allegations of ‘intimate misconduct’ on the part of the former Vice-President over the past twelve months – including his undeniably creepy habit of hair-sniffing – should surely have set MeToo bells ringing, no?

Just as the coronavirus has already been politicised and weaponised by the Woke brigade as the latest means of making the British feel rotten and racist – share the shame by clapping for immigrants – America’s radical feminist tub-thumpers are rarely slow to seize upon an allegation of sexual harassment by a powerful white man and declare him instantly guilty in the kangaroo court of public opinion as a means of furthering their cause. Remember all that business with Brett Kavanaugh a couple of years ago? Remember how an allegation of sexual assault from over 30 years before, one with no supporting evidence or corroboration, was sold as a foregone conclusion to block the nomination of a Republican to the US Supreme Court because MeToo and its affiliated protest groups insisted all women pointing the finger should be believed without question? But what if the accused happens to be a Democrat? Washington, we have a problem.

Unlike celebrated victim Christine Blasey Ford – the prime accuser of Kavanaugh – whose hysterical, Oscar-winning appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee was promoted by MeToo as proof of the truth, Tara Reade – the woman to have made the most serious allegation against Joe Biden – has been summarily swept under the under-reported carpet by the likes of the ultra-Woke New York Times; her allegations have also been greeted surprisingly sceptically by the usually vociferously vocal instigator and leader of MeToo, Alyssa Milano. If evidence were ever needed as to how much such high profile movements are not necessarily acting in the interests of those they profess to be promoting, look no further. I mean, if sisters aren’t doing it for themselves, who are they doing it for?

Tara Reade is a former staff member of Joe Biden’s Senate office and has previous when it comes to allegations against her former employer. But it’s interesting how deaf the ears of the usual crowd who normally respond so promptly to such accusations have been in her case. Initially, she was dismissed by them as being in cahoots with the Russians – rapidly becoming the default dismissal of the left, it seems; and when Ms Reade approached Time’s Up, a MeToo splinter group allegedly established as a platform for women to air their long-buried tales of sexual harassment by powerful predators, she was similarly fobbed-off.

The aforementioned New York Times, which wasn’t exactly slow in reporting the allegations against Kavanaugh in 2018, eventually – not to say grudgingly – reported the Tara Reade story by pointing to holes in her account, despite them being no more gaping than those it chose not to point to in Christine Blasey Ford’s tearful tale. The NYT has subsequently reacted to accusations of double standards by claiming they gave handsome coverage to Ford’s sob story because, compared to Biden, Brett Kavanaugh was ‘already in the public eye’ – what, unlike a former Vice-President set to run for the top job against Trump, then? The likes of the New York Times made Brett Kavanaugh front-page news in tandem with MeToo because it perfectly fitted their blatant agenda; the allegations against Biden don’t.

Overnight, MeToo guru Alyssa Milano has miraculously been converted to the novel notion of ‘due process’ when a woman now makes an allegation against a powerful white man – sorry, I should have said powerful Democrat. In the wake of her candidate Biden being accused, she’s posted a series of tweets contradicting everything she has supposedly stood for since she grabbed the spotlight with her opportunistic hashtag. ‘There is something to the idea that people are going to weaponise #metoo for political gain’ she tweeted recently; just as well the thought never crossed her mind when she was gunning for Kavanaugh, I guess. But the left’s goalpost-shifting when it comes to the Biden allegations not only underlines its fanatical obsession with ousting Trump at the expense of any principles – see the impeachment trial – but also penetrates the smokescreen of Good Causes and reveals a bunch of people that simply want power. Fancy that.

© The Editor

DESPERATELY SEEKING NOMINATION

No doubt Nancy Pelosi tearing up the State of the Union speech whilst stood behind Mr President after he’d just delivered it was regarded by the Speaker of the House of Representatives as an act of rebellious defiance. Yeah! Go, girl! However, this rather petty and pathetic gesture could equally be taken as symbolic of something else, perhaps the shredding of the Democrat hopes of recapturing the White House in November. To use a phrase that has never really crossed the Atlantic, right now it appears as though the Democratic Party couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.

The farce that the Iowa caucuses descended into – suggesting much-trumpeted advancements in technology haven’t exactly improved upon the notorious ‘hanging chads’ of 2000 – almost felt preordained; to expect a slick and professional operation from a party that has left it until the last minute to turn its attention to finding a credible contender was a tall order. Okay, I’ll admit the lumbering American political system can be confusing enough for an American, let alone an outsider; but whereas Brits find even a month’s campaigning for a General Election tiring, the US electorate has to endure everything being stretched out over an entire year – and, lest we forget, the Democrats have had four to prepare for this.

Whilst 2020’s early front-runners are the doddery double act of ex-Vice President Joe Biden and veteran socialist Bernie Sanders, the other two to have hogged the headlines are token woman Elizabeth Warren and token gay Pete Buttigieg. As the tedium progresses, a dozen candidates seeking the nomination are whittled down via caucuses, primaries, fund-raising events and endless television debates. The campaign trail is a twelve-month marathon that comprises every cliché associated with US politics as the hopefuls kiss babies, pose for selfies, stand beside their spouses, and try to adopt an everyman/everywoman persona that will appeal to the widest possible demographic. But it’s increasingly difficult for the individual Democratic hopefuls to broaden their personal appeal beyond their own fan-base within the party, never mind attract the country’s floating voters, when the party still hasn’t recovered from 2016. It remains in denial, staggering around with political PTSD and resorting to many of the tactics that so alienated the electorate four years ago because it still can’t accept that 2016 happened.

The caucuses are the beauty contests of the protracted process, the platform upon which the candidates emerge as household personalities for the first time; how they fare here can determine whether or not they then go on to the next level, the ‘Super Tuesday’ circus, when a dozen heavyweight States hold their primaries and separate the wheat from the chaff. California and Texas are the traditional targets for the candidates; capturing them enables the ambitious to pull away from the no-hopers and establish a nationwide foothold as a realistic challenger. But the man or woman who is nominated as the Democrats’ great hope won’t be named until July. In the meantime, some Democrats are a little too preoccupied with a suicidal mission to defeat the incumbent President by foul rather than fair means.

The almost-fanatical obsession of certain leading Democrats with ousting Donald Trump from office has so far failed to be manifested in a way that has the best guarantee of achieving its aim. Finding the right man or woman to take on the President and defeat him at the polls would seem to be the logical step, something the Democrats have had four years to devote their energies to. Instead, all their energies have been exhausted on the superficial charade of an impeachment trial, one destined to end with the same outcome as the two previous attempts to eject a President by invoking an eighteenth century irrelevance. The Republican numbers, upon which success or failure will be determined, have been against the Democrats from the beginning, and the whole pointless exercise smacks of the kind of desperation that has characterised the Democrat response to Trump from the moment in 2016 that the awful realisation of his victory set in.

Accepting that Hillary Clinton lost the race to the White House has been as hard for Democrats as accepting losing that same year’s EU Referendum has been to Remoaners; both events overturned complacent expectations and have remained existential crises for the losers ever since. The hilarious howl of the anonymous crowd member during Trump’s inauguration ceremony summed up this dilemma better than any soul-searching treatise on the subject. Like children who have never been made aware of the word ‘no’, the collective inability of the opponents of both Brexit and Trump to overcome their disappointment and let it go reflects an emotional and intellectual immaturity that is politically counterproductive and doomed to distance them even further from the great unwashed voters who saw through their righteous arrogance. This childish refusal to acknowledge they lost and their willingness to surrender all reason to the conspiracy theory mindset is a sad indictment of their infantile philosophy.

This has been proven by the left’s reaction to the inexplicable triumph of Trump in 2016; barely had the shock result been officially announced before Hillary Clinton’s own shortcomings were rejected as a key factor and a fantastical blame game began; indeed, if her self-pitying memoirs are anything to go by, Clinton herself still can’t accept she has to carry the majority of the responsibility for the defeat – and that says a great deal about where we are now. Running with a thread that had initially surfaced during the campaign itself, the Democrats quickly put forward the theory that Russian interference played a pivotal role in the result. This unproven allegation was the first indication that the Democrats and their supporters were embarking on a nihilistic dirt-digging operation, employing the kind of below-the-belt tactics the President himself is routinely accused of.

As with Labour in the UK, I suspect it will take another pounding at the polls before the Democrats belatedly address precisely where it is they’re going wrong. Hillary Clinton’s clout in calling up a parade of shameless showbiz cheerleaders eager to earn a few Woke points in the culture wars may have thrilled the media, but as has been demonstrated in Blighty over the past three years, the media and its cultural allies represent a tiny minority of those eligible to cast their vote. No matter how loud their voices might be, their numbers are too small to swing it. Donald Trump may have represented a branch of that mysterious entity known as ‘the establishment’ by virtue of his fame and fortune, but it was easy for him to pitch himself as an outsider four years ago because he genuinely was outside those controlling the print and online consensus; it’s harder for a Democrat to do likewise and therefore appeal to the same disenfranchised American voter who also identifies as an outsider because the Democratic Party is part of the problem.

© The Editor