Just below the surface – even on the Big Issues like Korea and Brexit – the inconsistency and sprained syntax of the players involved is hilarious. It is matched only by the pompous discomfort of everyone playing the same game of Not Being Themselves: they look for all the world like Goliaths dressed by David’s tailor.
Unless you’re just back from a trip to the Moon, you’ll know that the leaders of the USA and North Korea got together for a pow-wow this morning. They smokeum heap big Pipe of Peace, and so we all hope the outcome will be an outbreak of calm smoke signals, as opposed to random missile launches, on the peninsular.
Yesterday, one press agency noted that President Trump would be meeting Kim Jong Untomorrow, which made me laugh because it sounded like spin had finally decided to take on Time itself: “This week, Tuesday will be Untomorrow if things don’t go well for The Donald, so we will resort to Yesterday and then see if we can have another shot at it”.
There may have been calm on the peninsular, but in Singapore itself things were weird. Kim arrived in a limo that at first looked as if it was being pulled by all the secret service guys running on either side of it. They were running so fast to keep up with the sadistic driver, if anyone had actually attacked the vehicle, its defenders would’ve been far too knackered to put up much resistance.
The two leaders met at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island just off Singapore, a place where (so the blurb says) “one can fuse together old and new in luxury”. This is a good clue as to why it got chosen to host the event, because Trump is an old bloke who’s new in the job, and Kim is a young bloke running a jobsworth régime. Probably also taken into account were the “courtyards using native plants to invite moments of introspection” which, very probably, both men could do with using to the full.
After five hours of talk, they signed a document. President Trump then faced a hail of bullets that turned out, on closer examination, to be the post-session Press Conference. During this, one liberal journalist after another asked constructive questions like “what will be the military consequences if Kim breaks the agreement?” (from the peace-loving New York Times) to “Why is this any better than the deal with Iran you tore up?” from the Washington Post. The President answered that this wasn’t a deal, it was a statement of intent.
After the Conference finished, there was just time for the Trump-loathing BBC to interview a liberal American commentator who asserted that Trump had “kicked the can down the road”. In making this judgement, the Beeb’s “expert” was unfortunately hampered by two disadvantages – lack of originality, and not having read much of the document on the art of can-kicking, as such.
Over on Sky (and then a little later on BBCNews again) attention suddenly turned to the shock resignation of Dr Philip Lee, a May Minister of such junior status that Wikipedia nearly crashed as 6,000 hacks tried to find out who the fuck he was. He is a non-Cabinet Justice Minister with a long history of opposition to Brexit that no known medium anywhere beyond his constituency has as yet bothered to publish: but today came his five hours of fame, as anchors, correspondents and more “experts” told us that – coming as it does so close to the crucial Withdrawal Bill debates – Downing Street was now in disarray as to what this might mean.
For what it’s worth, the fiendish Dr Lee wants to keep Britain in the customs Union, answerable to the EUCHR and lots of other harmless piranha bites that would, sooner rather than later, lead to a second referendum on the final deal. In other words, he would sell his children to stay in the EU.
Was an avalanche of Remainer resignations now imminent, they asked. How would the Whips cope? But before anyone could blink in disbelief let alone think, Sky went back to the Studio where, among others, an “expert” called Oliver Letwin (himself a firm Remainer under strict instruction from Rothschild) dismissed today’s forthcoming proceedings in Parliament as “mere technicalities upon which everyone agrees”. He also mentioned that the cheque was in the post, and he wouldn’t come in anyone’s mouth. A junior Tory sort of Leaver said the Lords were out of line for kicking the electorate gently in the teeth, and a Labour Remainer scored points by saying the Towrees “only moan about the Lords now because they’re in the way of this insane Leave bonkers madness” etc etc etc.
It was a balanced forum. Last time I met and spoke to Mr Letwin (in 2010) he told me point blank “the idea that the British People would ever get over-excited about the EU and vote to leave it is beyond silly”. I’m therefore sitting here now expecting a crowd of heavily armed Brexiteer vigilantes to break into the cellars beneath the Palace of Westminster later this afternoon, and start loading it with barrels of gunpowder.
Over on the other side of the House, Jeremy Corbyn is in turn facing the shrill demands of a critical mass in his Party predicting mass starvation, mass unemployment, mass murder and a Satanist black mass unless he pushes harder against a hard Brexit.
Jeremy of Judea is more likely to push softly against a soft Brexit. His past career suggests very strongly that he would like a Hard Left Brexit, but as part of his ethically-guided bid for power some time soon, the Messiah dare not reveal the true colour and durability of his hatred for Brussels.
I speak to the French about Brexit at times. They smile indulgently as I explain that one Party is led by a woman who voted Remain and still wants to Remain, but must pretend she’d like to Leave; while the other one is led by a chap who voted Remain, wants to Leave, but must pretend he wants to Remain. He wants to look less Left than he is, and she wants to look less Right than she is.
“Ah,” said one to me at the weekend, “so neither Party knows what to think”.
“Correct,” I replied.
“Our Parties have the same trouble when it comes to Macron” he observed, nodding.