I feel as though I am swimming through soup; one of my specialities full of roasted vegetables, pulses and lentils – full-bodied as opposed to insipid! Still talking about soup … In a week of Boris Johnson and incessant rain, feeling the pain!
Eight days to go before the summer solstice and the nights start to draw in. Is it any wonder pharmaceutical companies are booming?! I have the best pair of sunglasses ever which I bought in a little vintage shop in Monti, Rome – visited only last year by SJP of Sex & The City fame – and I have to admit I all but wear them in the dark now (mind you, that’s daytime in this country) having buried the belief that, once upon a time, one could expect sunshine in June! What has happened to this world? It would seem that it is destined to be forever November …
As, more and more, I begin to picture myself as a future protagonist in an episode of Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild, the more evidence I am afforded daily to support such an escape in a quest for sanity. It seems extremely likely that Boris will be our next Prime Minister reflecting the sad demise of a nation which, only last week, celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Heroism, courage, pride, selflessness, humility – we will remember them. This world, however, operates on a different playing field now and one which is by no means level. A world which pays little heed to morals or values, the currency is ego – at any cost. Enter Boris, stage right.
The subject of many newspaper columns, obviously, let me list just a few of the descriptive terms associated with this would-be Prime Minister: lazy, untrustworthy, habitual liar, cheat – and those are, supposedly, from the mouths of his fellow Tories; those who have propelled him into pole position! Why? Married for twenty-five years to his second wife with whom he has four children, his serial philandering was infamous resulting in abortion, miscarriage and a daughter whom he attempted to deny. His bumbling, dishevelled appearance is a façade belying an ambition borne of steel and harnessed to no-one. Seemingly devoid of a heart, in the words of Suzanne Moore, writing in The Guardian (7/9/18): ‘He may leave a trail of collateral damage but as it’s only women and children who really cares?’ A man worthy of office? Once upon a time, no. Then again, once upon a time, they all lived happily ever after!
The point is, nobody cares anymore. Boris is a character in a field of also-rans intent on outpourings of previous demeanours. His strong position is a reaction to the bland – but, by contrast, honest and dedicated – leadership of Theresa May. The country is desperate; desperate to escape this relentless inertia and rightly fearful of the staunch socialist who is Jeremy Corbyn. The alternative? As I said, New Lives in the Wild here I come – could I grow my own grapes?!
Before I leave Boris in the broom cupboard – apparently he’s quite partial to those … How weird! Is it something in the name? Think tennis. No, I just wanted to have my tuppence worth with regard to the argument that the behaviour of the man in his personal life is entirely separate from that in his job. My answer to that myth begins with the second letter in the alphabet and ends in ‘s’! One adheres to one moral compass in life. For some, honesty is expendable. In placing no value in the truth, however, it becomes all too easy to deceive and the downhill slope is a slippery one devoid of trust and respect. Boris Johnson commands neither but, in all likelihood, will secure the position he has so long coveted. The exaggerated pantomime character masks a man who is anything but benign but, ironically, his complete disregard for the values which once made this country great has ensured a name and, seemingly, that’s all that matters.
It is a topsy turvy world we live in. How many times have I said that before? The problem is there is no one rule for all and, in this egocentric climate, those with an agenda can move the goal posts. So it is that, whilst on the one hand Boris is unhindered by – rather, appears to be benefitting from his questionable past, there are ludicrous news items daily attributable to what is known as the growing ‘snowflake’ society.
Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain (12/6/19) saw Piers Morgan enraged by the story of a certain exam board being forced to defend itself with regard to one of the questions set for a GCSE Maths paper. Involving a calculation apropos the number of calories consumed in a breakfast of a banana and yoghurt, apparently pupils protested that said question was distressing for anybody who has or is suffering from an eating disorder. One candidate, a recovering anorexic, is purported to have left the exam room in a panic after reading the scenario. Really? However, following a review of the question, Pearson – owner of the exam board EdExcel – believe it to be valid. Thank goodness for that! Meanwhile, Piers was attacked on twitter by a Minister of State who insisted that he was guilty of a lack of compassion and understanding. One couldn’t make it up. I am totally with Piers here although Susanna was, typically, aligning herself with ‘the people’! To be honest, I find the choice of name for the girl in the Maths question more significant – ‘Priti’. Regular British name guaranteed to cause no offence among the hyper-sensitive so ready to attack. The likes of ‘Clementine’ or ‘Eloise’ may, on the other hand, have triggered the button!
I wrote down a quote from Piers apropos this item on Wednesday morning. In light of the upset caused to some by the question and the suggested insensitivity, he retorted: ‘ It doesn’t mean we have to change everything else for everybody else because somebody somewhere may get ‘triggered’’. In a nutshell.
What of the uproar surrounding Jo Brand and her comment alluding to the replacing of a milkshake with battery acid when throwing liquid over a disliked politician? Totally unacceptable. She was taking part in the Radio 4 panel show, Heresy, which was aired on Tuesday night. My friend, Piers, is calling for the BBC to sack the comedian claiming her remark is an incitement to throw the deadly substance over politicians and questioning any pardon in the light of Danny Boyle’s sacking some weeks ago following an offensive royal baby tweet. Once again, inconsistency rears its ugly head; the goal posts are on wheels. There are arguments that Jo Brand is a comedian and comedians are expected to push the boundaries under the guise of humour. Enough. I challenge anyone to find anything remotely humorous about maiming another human being for life … Funnily enough, I never liked her.
Jeremy Clarkson, on the other hand … Renowned for foot-in-mouth disease, he is devoid of a filter but in possession of a brain and a divisive sense of humour of which, I admit, I am a fan. Famous for a string of gaffs, he once sold golliwogs for his parents’ firm and narrowly escaped being sacked in 2014 when he mouthed the ‘N’ word while reciting the words to the nursery rhyme ‘Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe’. The point being that he was repeatedly hauled over the coals for his unique brand of humour whilst lacking the protection of the job title, ‘Comedian’. It would seem said title comes with a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.
I leave you with a typical Jeremy quote:
‘I don’t understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?’
Made me laugh.
This is Trish, signing off.