‘Next week, I shall begin my operations on my hat on which, you know, my principal hopes of happiness depend.’
Jane Austen, Personal Correspondence.
Random, I’ll admit, but just me clinging to ‘that little spark of madness’ – and ‘maintaining my genius’ at the same time. An in-joke, perhaps better not to ask … So, Jane Austen. Becca gave me a little five-year diary at Christmas which has one of the inimitable author’s superb quotes at the top of each page. Perfect escapism from an increasingly scary world, her forthright comments, laced with sarcasm, are second to none. Oh, how much simpler life would be if one’s ‘principal hopes of happiness’ were dependent on a hat!
Gosh, I have missed this. It has taken so much will power to silence my voice for a whole week as the daily events in this sorry world lunge from bad to worse but I have to get on with my future bestseller, the rights of which will, obvs, be bought over for the inevitable film – or, perhaps, just a mini-series. What? Requiring of an exclamation mark? None taken! No, I haven’t finally lost the plot. Then, again, perhaps, I have. Who could blame me? Actually, I did happen to hear this week that talking to oneself is good for one’s mental health …
Back to my book … It has been difficult trying to focus when my mind is amass with so much else. I remember, growing up, never being able to understand Pop’s fixation with the news. Whether gleaned from radio, television or his Daily Telegraph, it was a fascination I believed unique to him. The naivety of youth. Over the past two years, in particular, I have become positively obsessed – who could tell? – breeding a compulsion to write about it constantly. All-consuming, I walk around drafting sentences in my head or jotting down notes with an urgency borne of the fanciful belief that my opinion will make a difference! Whatever, I cannot remain silent. I could never remain silent for to do so is merely relying on the courage of others; expecting someone else to speak up. Apathy, I suppose. That said, my compulsion to write about the intricacies of this sorry world is an addiction which continues to be detrimental to the completion of my book – so not helpful. Desperate to add to my ‘Seriously?!’ page, daily, I have so far resisted, instead, writing a further 500 words of my tome. I think I need one of these lovely old mahogany desks with the green leather top. Yes, that would definitely help – and somewhere to put it other than a container. Again, don’t ask. Failing that, what about a nice turquoise Wrangler?!
While the above 500 word ‘introduction’ may afford me, at least, some amusement, it is nothing more than an attempt to refrain from addressing the elephant in the room. In truth, there is a whole herd in the room including the one representing the need to address the inexplicable demise of an increasing number of young males following a ‘sudden illness’. That ‘sudden illness’ is code for heart attack. I know it’s not just me who is joining the dots! The reality doesn’t bear thinking about.
Meantime, no prizes for the matriarch of that herd: the megalomaniac that is Putin, unleashed and uncurtailed. Firstly, can I just mention the unsettling co-incidence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine taking place on the same day that all COVID restrictions were ended in England? 24th February, 2022. Just a co-incidence? As COVID retreats, leaving a country and its people battered and bruised following two years of controlled onslaught at the hands of the mainstream media, we are, now, threatened by the very real possibility of WWIII. In the world of comedy gold, Dad’s Army, is it a case of ‘Don’t panic!’ or, more realistically, ‘We’re all doomed!’?
Like most, I am completely disbelieving of the unfolding situation in Ukraine. Pardon my French but what the hell?!! It’s not as though this hasn’t been brewing for a while; that we were given no warning. I mean, this guy is the one who bears a grudge and takes no prisoners! Look at the Salisbury poisoning in March 2018 of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the British intelligence, and his daughter, Yulia. Then, in August. 2020, there was the poisoning of Alexei Navalny – Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist – with a Novichok nerve agent which was designed to kill. Recovering in Germany and determined to return to Russia, he was arrested and imprisoned on landing in Moscow in January 2021. Then, silence. What of his fate? What did we do? The US? Well, of course, sanctions were imposed on seven Russian nationals linked to his poisoning; Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said, ‘We urge Russian to declare its full stock of Novichok nerve agents.’ – be your best friend?! Then, on the anniversary of Navalny’s poisoning – as he continued to languish in prison – the UK and US issued a joint statement in which they ‘re-affirmed their condemnation of the.”assassination attempt” on Mr Navalny. Well, that’ll do it!
So, not as though this monster had not already proven himself a threat to the free world … I don’t quite know how to transcribe my disbelief – nay, contempt – at the pitiful support we and the rest of the world have shown for Ukraine and its innocent people. It is, at once, embarrassing and dangerously weak and, perhaps, aptly demeaned by my spirited friend, Janet, on Instagram two days ago: ‘This WAR happened as Biden slept … Boris partied and Trudeau. played with trucks!’. The element of humour is missing from the story she has just sent me today – now, Saturday: footage of a Russian tank veering across a motorway with intent, deliberately driving over a civilian car innocently heading in the opposite direction. The screams and cries in background of those witnessing such ruthless brutality cut deep.
In marked contrast to the pitiful ‘support’ of the West, the people of Ukraine stand firm in their bravery and resolution to fight for their country and its freedom. The footage of an elderly lady on the streets of Kyiv, alone, confronting an armed Russian soldier, asking him why? The image of the little girl in a shelter, terrified and close to tears, saying she doesn’t want to die! On the radio, a daughter begging her elderly father not to join the queue for arms in order to fight. He says he is ‘coming back to defend Ukraine’. ‘But, Daddy, you can hardly walk’, she pleads. His reply reduces her to tears, ‘Yes, but I can crawl’ …
As for President Volodymir Zelensky? Forty-four years old and President of Ukraine for less than three years, he is made of strong stuff, displaying the same bravery which enabled our freedom from the tyranny of another megalomaniac seventy-seven years ago. That bravery, it seems, is a rarity now. I can only envisage the prospect of our men being called to arms with dread. Would they be prepared to relinquish their phones?!
I read, this morning, an article in The Telegraph, courtesy of Nick Allen, entitled ‘Is the world about to pay the price for Joe Biden being in power?’. Within is his remark of January 19th in the White House, now referred to in the US capital as a “Washington Gaffe” (when a politician inadvertently tells the truth):
‘”It depends on what it (Russia) does,” Biden stumbled. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion (…) and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera.”‘
Conclusive evidence for Putin – should he require any more – that Biden lacked both the courage and the inclination to take on Russia; that he would prove little opposition to any invasion, rather leaving Ukraine to pay the price for his weakness. As it is former senior national security official, Brett Bruen, likens the sanctions he has imposed, so far, to ‘issuing a parking ticket in the middle of a riot’. In his words, Biden must ‘step up in a bigger way to rally the world, rather than finding the lowest common denominator among our allies’.
‘Peace Through Strength’ was the mantra of Reagan, later to be espoused by Trump. How different things would have been had either of them been in power now. Yes, Trump! Unpredictable, granted, but Putin would have thought twice about challenging him. Only last week, Trump, in his own words, said he ‘got along great’ with him – and he knew the Russian leader wanted Ukraine. Trump just told him ‘You can’t do it. You’re not gonna do it.’ So it was that the aggressor waited.
I have failed, thus far – and it is far – to mention Boris and his sanctions. Dragging himself away from Abba and the caseloads of wine, sadly, the word which comes to mind was a favourite of Pop’s: buffoon! While I have some sympathy for his stance in that he is doing his utmost to avoid WWIII, there is little respect to be apportioned to a leader who is all but deaf to the repeated pleads of the Ukranian president, quite literally, screwing his courage to the sticking place! History will ensure he stands head and shoulders above those who let him down; in truth, let us all down.
Here endeth my proposed post on my recent encounter with Trinny! Next time …
‘While previous presidents have been brought down by going to war, the final nail in Biden’s presidency will probably be that he failed to stop one.’
Nikki Haley, former US ambassador to the UN.
This is Trish, signing off.