THE BEAR FACTS

Russian BearIt may have opted out of the Eurovision Song Contest, but the USSR nevertheless competed in competitions of a more sporting bent during the Cold War, mining the athletic riches available in the countries that had been involuntarily absorbed into the sprawling Soviet Union. The national football team of the USSR had a vast geographical pool of talent to draw from in this period and made use of it. Imagine if the England national team had chosen to call upon players from across the British Empire in the pre-War era and label all of them Englishmen; chances are the World Cup might have fallen into English hands a good deal earlier than 1966. The Soviets essentially did just that and were eventually rewarded with the inaugural European Championships in 1960, as well as ending runners-up on three other occasions; in the World Cup, the team’s best finish was the semi-final loss to West Germany in ’66. On the domestic front, Iron Curtain countries competed in the club competitions of the European Cup, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup throughout the tournaments’ formative years. Whenever a team such as Dynamo Kiev played an English side, they were referred to as a ‘Russian club’, just as the likes of Belarus gymnast Olga Korbut was referred to as a ‘Russian athlete’ when scooping multiple gold medals at the 1972 Olympics.

The existential crisis many Russians experienced as former Soviet states declared independence from their ex-masters in the 1990s was exacerbated by the symbolic blow of the expansive landmass that had been known as home shrinking back to merely Russian soil. Not unlike the demoralising loss of international prestige felt by Brits as one overseas colony after another lowered the Union Jack during the 1950s and 60s, Russians took the reduction of territory personally; the chaotic drop in the standard of living at home as Yeltsin sought to transform the Russian economy to a free-market Western model overnight and facilitated the sudden rise of the multi-millionaire Oligarch in the process hardly helped matters. Therefore, when the old soak was succeeded by a former KGB colonel who’d earned his spurs in East Germany, a man determined to ‘make Russia great again’, it was no great surprise that the Russian people responded favourably to the reincarnation of the Strong Leader so admired in cultures beyond the West.

Putin flexing his macho muscles has cleverly tapped into the grievance of many Russians over the independence of the old Soviet republics; when Ukraine first tentatively sought to join NATO in 2008, Vlad made it clear he didn’t approve, and following Ukraine’s so-called ‘Revolution of Dignity’ in 2014, Putin effectively annexed Crimea from Ukraine as a means of expressing his disapproval. The annexation was internationally condemned, though other than the token sanctions imposed by the UN and the EU, little else was done by those who condemned it. Putin has repeatedly emphasised he has no interest in further incursions into Ukrainian territory, yet with an estimated 100,000 Russian troops camped out on the border and threatening talk emanating from Moscow whenever Ukraine expresses its desire to be welcomed into the NATO family, it’s no wonder the Ukrainian Government has been more than happy to accept military assistance from Western nations, just to be on the safe side. Putin’s response is to regard any Western presence anywhere near Crimea as a sign of ‘NATO expansion’.

The ‘NATO expansion’ into Eastern Europe basically translates as nations with a history of being subjugated by Russia understandably seeking protection from history repeating itself; the likes of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland know that being members of NATO means any aggressive actions on the part of their volatile neighbour will result in their newfound military partners running to their aid – in theory, anyway. Whichever way Russian eyes view the move, this is the reality of it; Ukraine still wants to join the club, something that Mr Putin sees as ‘NATO expansion’. Some of the language that has been aired in recent months is straight out of some dusty old Cold War manual; Dmitry Kiselyov, the media personality-cum-propagandist known as ‘Putin’s mouthpiece’, issued a threat against the US sticking its nose into Ukrainian affairs, promising that Russian warheads could reduce America to ‘radioactive ash’. At the moment, however, Russia is certainly in a strong position to issue such melodramatic threats, sensing the weakness of the West when led by such an ineffective patsy as Joe Biden.

Sleepy Joe held a press conference this week in which he stated Russia would pay ‘a serious and dear price’ for invading Ukraine, yet underlined the toothless response of the West towards Putin’s regime by adding the caveat that ‘a minor incursion’ might be treated differently to a full-on invasion. One wonders how far Russian troops have to encroach onto Ukrainian soil before a minor incursion is rebranded an invasion, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn’t impressed by Biden’s comments about minor incursions, tweeting ‘There are no minor incursions, just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones.’ Tellingly, the US President’s characteristically incoherent statement was later altered by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki once Joe had been put back to bed, declaring any Russian military forces moving across the Ukrainian border would be instantly interpreted as a renewed invasion, met with a ‘swift, severe and united response from the United States and our Allies’.

The US claims that Russian Intelligence has been engaged in recruiting current and former members of the Ukrainian Government to take over as a puppet administration in the event of an invasion, though with so much rumour and propaganda circling this story, it’s hard to differentiate between truth and speculation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has this week met with foreign ministers from France, Germany and the UK in Berlin to co-ordinate strategy should Russia do what the West seemingly expects it to, though if that amounts to a ‘minor incursion’ the Western strategy probably won’t have much of an impact. Even before the meeting with Blinken, the British Government had announced it was providing Ukraine with extra troops for training purposes, whilst both Denmark and Spain are sending warships to the Black Sea. This willy-waving was a response to the unveiling of plans for Russian naval drills featuring over 60 aircraft and more than 140 warships, as though Putin was intending to stage some sort of Mayday Parade throwback on the Ukraine border. Any sign of a peaceful resolution via talks between Blinken and his Russian counterpart in Geneva today has so far been drenched in the ambiguous diplomatic description of ‘open and useful’.

As with China’s stealthy economic and cultural infiltration of Western governments and institutions, Vladimir Putin is smart enough to exploit the West’s current crisis of confidence and comparative weakness as it allows itself to be torn apart by a combination of self-loathing and ideological polarity; he’s seeing how far he can push the West before provoking a more serious response which he evidently doubts will come, though to be fair, he’s been doing that for most of his reign and has got away with it time and time again. Even if his tactics continue to find favour with a large section of the Russian public, the unlimited powers that come with his persona as a Strong Leader also allow him to crush opposition and silence his critics – often with a nice cup of tea. Biden is little more than the saccharin to Putin’s polonium. From the perspective of a man raised in a Soviet Empire that spanned a landmass of 22,402,200 square km and housed 293 million people in eleven time zones, the West has no business in the East; to him, Eurasia is Russian and always will be. And, to paraphrase the title of this post, those are the bare facts.

© The Editor

Website: https://www.johnnymonroe.co.uk/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?fan_landing=true&u=56665294

PAWN STARS

I don’t subscribe to Netflix, but I do have a friend who can ‘access’ it (if you know what I mean), and she kindly stuck some of its more celebrated output onto a memory stick for me recently. I appreciate I’m receiving a miniscule sample, but what I’ve seen has pissed on most home-grown TV drama output I’ve encountered in the past five years. The first two seasons of ‘The Crown’ easily surpassed my low expectations, and ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ – the one about the orphaned girl who rises to become world chess champion in the 60s – is, I have to admit, utterly gripping viewing. Sometimes the hype is justified. In the make-believe landscape, this is permissible, especially at times like these. Quite frankly, if I wasn’t watching ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ in my online downtime, then it’d be back to all the vintage television and cinematic produce I routinely review on here. Perish the thought I’d be tuning into ‘Newsnight’ instead. Not that the dear old BBC is operating in a vacuum, mind.

If you believe the balanced impartiality of CNN, for example, America has gone from Pearl Harbour to JFK’s Camelot in barely two weeks. Yes, just in case you blinked and missed it, the West has pulled back from the kind of earth-shattering precipice to rank alongside 9/11 and the Wall Street Crash and has strolled into a glorious sunrise in which Critical Race Theory is reintroduced to the curriculum and male athletes can smash women’s sports by identifying as female. And, let us not forget, US tanks are rolling back into Syria now that the nasty ‘Literally Hitler’ era of non-interference in foreign affairs is mercifully over; Team America is restored to its rightful place as the World Police Force. Moreover, the sick bucket that has been empty ever since Obama exited the White House four years ago has been retrieved from the Oval Office broom cupboard, now swilling to the brim with a fresh intake of puke courtesy of both Kamala Harris’s cosy TV chinwag with her old man and the response to a cute little Girl of Colour reciting a poem preaching unity in a nation poised to heal the great divide by impeaching the Bad Orange Man in order to satisfy Nancy Pelosi’s deranged appetite.

It was interesting that the heavy military presence in Washington on Inauguration Day passed by without the MSM outrage that would’ve accompanied a similar show of strength had Trump been sworn-in again, but equally poignant was the fact that Antifa were burning flags and vandalising Democrat premises in Portland, Seattle and Denver whilst Sleepy Joe was taking the oath before his afternoon nap; the party is quietly disassociating itself from the Brownshirts it was eager to egg on last year. Having served their purpose, anarchist collectives are suddenly finding they’re surplus to requirements; more fool them for thinking the new administration would still need them now they’ve seized power. A flurry of Antifa-related accounts vanished from Twitter as soon as Biden took office, underlining their usefulness has now expired as well as highlighting how deeply engrained big tech is in this New Woke Order. The nauseating euphoria bleeding into social media is the sound of a million silly sods receiving an antidote to the self-inflicted mental illness they were struck by in 2016; Trump’s exit is their vaccine. But if they want to believe things can only get better, let them; after all, only a mean killjoy would tell a child Santa Claus doesn’t actually exist.

Anyway, Biden’s not my President anymore than George Washington was; not that you’d know it if your sole newsfeed was that of the mainstream variety. When was the last time the UK’s most-watched terrestrial TV channels devoted live airtime to the swearing-in of a French President or a German Chancellor – or even the man heading the Government of one of the USA’s neighbours like Canada or Mexico? Good luck with finding an answer to that question if it happens to be anything other than ‘never’. Sorry, I momentarily forgot about the Special Relationship. Immediate post-war Governments in the UK were torn between the choice of maintaining that and forging alliances with former enemies on the Continent; half-hearted unions with mainland Europe from 1973 onwards never really supplanted our ongoing love affair with America, so it’s no great surprise a majority of the electorate rejected the EU in 2016. Perhaps if a fast-food chain specialising in bratwurst or frog’s legs had seduced the Great British palette in the 80s, things might have turned out differently.

Not that it really matters; the showbiz circus of US politics is a mere distracting sideshow from domestic concerns, anyhow. Now that half of the country is living in the new workplace, the SNP’s aims of criminalising private opinions in the private space has acquired a greater relevance, for home is no longer where the heart is but has instead become both classroom and office for those whose escape from either is restricted to bedtime, an environment in which every move is being observed and monitored by outside forces. I have friends in relationships whereby one half is permanently engaged in Zoom conferences that the other half has inadvertently gatecrashed with a bollock-naked stroll-by as the mystique of work colleagues’ home life has been exposed to a nation of nosy parkers. One of the many memorably chilling sequences in the John Hurt version of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is the interactive TV set nailed to the living room wall whereby the proto-Joe Wicks fitness instructor transmitting the daily regime to the proles is able to see the viewer’s performance. As far as I can remember, she doesn’t go by the name of Alexa, but who knows?

Oh, well – let the plebs deliver to the door and the rest can continue to self-isolate in unison with the corporate world at the kitchen table. True, curtail the furlough scheme tomorrow and see how long the pro-lockdown class support the policy – yet throw £500 at infected lepers and watch the cases rise in line with the dubious stats as the rush to identify as a victim soars. Yeah, less than a month in, and 2021 is proving to be one hell of a new dawn. Bar the mandatory mask parade, the novelty of Lockdown Mk I is nowhere to be seen now as traffic flows along roads that were temporarily emptied last April and a weary populace sinks into shoulder-shrugging amnesia; no, on the surface, it doesn’t feel quite the same. But twelve months of Project Fear has undoubtedly imbued the sufficient level of compliance with undemocratic Government edicts, so the people being frozen in the kind of paranoid stasis that suits nobody but the professional fear-mongers and those who are having a ‘good lockdown’ appears to be a satisfactory compromise.

Yes, I’m rambling because no singular story has prompted a post, and like most, I’m invariably still reflecting on how the New Normal is impacting on me personally. I couldn’t attend my friend Barbara Hewson’s funeral in Ireland last weekend because of it all, but I did manage to dispatch a wreath over the phone, which was the best I could do. I went to the trouble of sourcing some appropriate lines by Yeats for the accompanying card and hoped they’d suffice. The service wasn’t streamed, but having the anticlimactic experience of ‘attending’ an online funeral described by a friend who’d been through it, I concluded those denied being there in person were perhaps better off setting private thoughts aside for the dearly departed on the day. The likes of ‘Songs of Praise’ is staged by expert TV technicians well-versed in overcoming the variable acoustics of old churches and bringing the best virtual recreation to the audience; expecting such venues to suddenly acquire these skills and please potential attendees forced to watch events on their PCs is a tall order indeed. Maybe PC monitors should be reserved for ‘bootleg’ copies of ‘The Queen’s Gambit’, even if a chessboard and its pieces are racist. They must be by now, surely?

© 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

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

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