Not a great deal to report I’m afraid. We’re now at Mum and Dad’s having left Doris at Mary’s basking in this remarkable weather. Of course, when I say there’s not a lot to report, I could just expose my views on the huge number of major news stories that are out there in this extraordinary time.
A day doesn’t seem to go by at the moment without some monumental event shaking our world. I love the Melania Trump plagiarism story. It seems English teachers across the world, generationally stumped for a good example of how ‘5 consecutive words’ shows unabridged plagiarism, are now cockahoop that they have a high-profile example of what not to do. Me, I’d vote for DT just to see more of the lovely Melania. For a late middle-aged man she is perfect eye-candy which is probably why Trumpy married her. She, of course, married him for his wit, kindness and sincerity. But she needs to be careful. He’s been through a few, and careless words by her (OK, her speechwriter) might cost her. And, she mustn’t forget that she’s not getting any younger. Seriously though, I think I can just about tolerate divorce -once – and later remarriage. But three times, as Oscar Wilde might pen, is a little careless. So, leaving aside everything that comes out of his mouth, would you trust a man with the nuclear codes who has given up twice on marriage? Mmmm, not sure.
And, just to finish on Trump. I’ve not picked over every word of the current Republican convention, but it appears to me that – and isn’t this just typical of today’s politics, Brexit a case in point – nearly all the speakers are slinging mud at Bill’s wife rather than talking up Trump and his policies. Apparently, yesterday, the key-note speaker, an erstwhile judge, played out a mock trial on Hilary to which, have a guess what, the verdict was guilty. I’m not sure what of? (Maybe being married to a man who sullied the Oval Office, literally, in such a way that you can’t look at a picture of the room now without thinking ‘so Monica did that to him where?’). Anyhow the convention hall reverberated with screams of ‘lock her up!’ Whatever next.
Back on track… If using a major convention speech to try, convict and then hang an opponent isn’t popularist politics at its basest level, then I’m not sure there’s much further down the road toward Hell we can go.
Istanbul? I’m sad for the Turks that we met whilst we were there last month. I’d say that 50% of the men and 98% of the women in Turkey now fear for their future. The beacon for Islamic countries, insofar as how to balance the needs for some people to be fervently religious and yet run a fair and balanced society, has just gone down the pan. It is heartbreakingly sad. Erdogan now has a free hand, in the view of his supporters, to lock up who he wants. The latest purge of 1000s teachers (can you imagine?) leaves room for – well, until they train some more, and we know how difficult that is, empty classrooms – more militant ‘instructors’. I may be wrong, and it might all end up swimmingly, but I really fear for Turkey. And do you know what? This isn’t about security and it’s certainly not about upholding democracy. It’s about one man’s passion to further his own future and legacy. It’s about that man using Religion to underpin his own ambitions. It’s cynical abuse and manipulation of the fears and anxieties of millions to generate a powerbase to allow him to climb a pedestal and then stay there. (Goodness, I’ve just made the connection to DT and the previous paragraph!). Devious and insecure men use religion to further their own desires, not to be seen as ‘good and respectful’ in the eyes of their God. It has always been the case and always will.
Finally, and I could go on and on dissecting this crazy world we currently live in, don’t underestimate the impact on Putin’s Russia and the Olympic drug scandal. The moderates over there are, I believe, necessarily quiet at moment. On the other hand the ‘nationalistas’ are up for a fight. Whilst they couldn’t blame the West for their team’s performance in Euro 2016 – I wish we had an excuse – they certainly can perversely blame us for undermining their participation at Rio. ‘One man’s word’ is how Putin has described their whistleblower’s claims that the Russian team at Sochi had their urine samples cleaned by a process that is so arcane that I’m going to include it in the third Sam Green book. Putin, other than invading the odd satellite country, loves sport more than anything else. Unlike Erdogan he doesn’t have religion as a power base to generate fervour among his poverty stricken masses. He generates support by being what Russians all see themselves as (men and women): survivors, fighters against the odds. No flab here. A sportsman battling the elite, overpaid, overfunded West with determination, hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Calling the strong men (and women) ‘cheats’ is akin to drawing a irreverent cartoon of Mohammed and then blowing a raspberry. So stand by…
You’ll be pleased to hear that that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.