I gather that some readers of this blog have been posting comments about it on Facebook. But I don’t look at Facebook, partly because it is foreign, recent and popular (a combination pretty much guaranteed to secure my disdain), partly because it made people much younger than me enormously rich (ditto), but also because it began as a tool of campus sexual harassment for the entertainment of grinning geeks whose idea of a good time consisted of an illicit pitcher of Bud Lite, and has got steadily more juvenile since then, whether as a vehicle for personal trivia or for unedited ranting. If your old college friends can’t be bothered even to send you an email, drop them and move on. And if you want to comment on this blog, please do it here. We might even get a discussion going that doesn’t involve photographs of your lunch.
And so to today’s news, which has been dominated by Michael Gove landing, along with a chap from Das Bild, an exclusive interview with Donald Trump. When I saw it this morning I thought “Wow! Michael’s back with a bang!”, and then immediately thought of Frost/Nixon. True, the Gove wilderness consisted of only a few months during which he did nothing more than represent his parliamentary constituency and write a weekly column in the Times, either of which on its own would be the high point of many a career. And Donald Trump is not a disgraced former president of the USA, but merely a president-elect who has sickened a vocal minority of his fellow-countrymen, and won the hearts of many more, by being a tactless, wise-cracking vulgarian. It’s still a hell of a come-back with a hell of a scoop.
And perhaps the best bit was Mr Trump’s stated intention of concluding a trade deal with Britain very soon and very quickly, in direct contradiction of the naked threat so courteously contributed to Project Fear by his predecessor less than a year ago.
But that was always the trouble with Project Fear – it consisted entirely of threats so extravagant that hardly anybody believed them, and most of those who affected to were dissembling, merely adding the weighty words of this economist or that American president to the arsenal. Anybody who took a sober look at Britain would know that it wasn’t going to be frozen out of global trade as punishment for opting out of a failing economic and political experiment. That’s the kind of thing you do to genocidal dictatorships when you ought to be invading them.
So why did they do it? All those pontificating Remainers, I mean, the ones who knew full well that economic projections are guess-work and that incumbent politicians with their backs to the wall will say anything to salvage their credibility. Why? Surely they must have had some belief in Britain’s EU membership, some insight too counter-productively complex to be shared with the public? Or was it all just nest-feathering and sucking up to the prefects? The historian and Sunday Times columnist Niall Ferguson recently confessed that he had only supported Remain – which he did repeatedly in print, forcefully, sneeringly and to millions – out of loyalty to his friends Dave and George. Can they really all have been like that?
Sadly, yes, they can, and they took a lot of honest, wavering folk with them, though mercifully not enough to win the day. And many of them and their converts are still at it, insulting their victorious opponents and railing against ever-mounting commonsense through the brats’ toy of social media. If I were you I’d pack it in with Facebook for good.