Thursday, 8 December 2016

People you meet at parties

At a drinks party in Germany, I met 70-year-old TS, who, still excited by Trump’s ambition and fighting spirit, explained that Hillary Clinton was a liar and a corrupt establishment figure and that she fully supported Trump. Nothing in Trump’s behaviour, business record, campaign style and content or lack of any experience in government would change TS’s mind. Not even the fact that Trump was just as much establishment as Clinton.

TS added how important it was to stand up against the politics of “our communist”. The communist that she was referring to was Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, and Communist to TS seemed to be the ultimate term of abuse. My suggestion that Mrs. Merkel was the one thing that Germany could truly be proud of, did not get me anywhere. Not only did Merkel help Greece but she also allowed two million unregistered foreigners enter Germany, TS explained. If they were unregistered, how did she know how many of them had entered was not something TS cared to get into.

Years ago, an old German told me – in defence of his decision to vote for Hitler –  that what had really frightened him in those days, was not the Nazis but the communists. Just thinking.

May vs. Merkel

Theresa May, the woman now running the UK, gave the role of Britain’s Foreign Secretary to Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, a man with a track record of lying and one of the most irresponsible, rude and loudmouthed men in British politics.

So here is what happens, when Boris Johnson refreshingly said something true: He spoke about the situation in the Middle East and spoke of the countries abusing their own religion to further their political objectives: “the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in and puppeteering and playing proxy wars.” Prime Minister Theresa May immediately rebutted him with: “the foreign secretary's views are not the government's position on, for example, Saudi Arabia and its role in the region." Of course not, we want to do business with them and who cares about the rest.

What a difference between no-values Theresa May and Germany’s values-led Angela Merkel.  

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A visit to the in-laws

I don’t know what it is like with the upper class and the rich, but in our lower classes, there comes a point, when a dating couple that is seriously thinking about getting married, arranges for the parents to meet. The etiquette is that for that important first meeting, say at the boy’s parents’ house, the girl’s family will bring a box of fancy chocolates, the famous “bonnboniere”. Both families will mentally prepare safe subjects for conversation, such as holiday and trip destinations or the joys of barbecuing and the women might want to show off their macramé skills.

With Trump’s election, we are also learning about his family and it turns out that his daughter has married an orthodox Jew, whose father had received a two-year jail sentence for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. The witness tampering, he pleaded guilty to, was hiring a prostitute for ¢10,000 to seduce his sister’s husband. A hidden camera recorded the activity, and the lurid tape was sent to his sister, to arrive on the day of a family party.

So the Trumps and the Kushners are what in yiddish they call “machatunim”, that is in-laws.  And I am wondering about that first meeting, when the Trumps first came to the Kushners or was it the other way round. What the women will have spoken about I have no idea -  Melania (or was it Ivana?) Trump is somehow not the macramé type. But I can well imagine, the conversation between the p***y grabber and the pr*******te hirer.

River of Blood again?

In 1968, Enoch Powell, a senior British politician, on the very right wing of the Conservative Party, quoted from Sybil’s prophecy in Virgil’s Aeneid, "wars, terrible wars, / and the Tiber foaming with much blood", in his anti-immigration speech, the infamous “River of Blood” speech, in which Powell warned: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.”

Whether Powell did or did not want blood to flow is almost beside the point. He was not stupid and he will have known that his supporters would act, when their leader suggests blood.

I was reminded of that vile man, after hearing Nigel Farage’s reaction to the ruling, a couple of weeks ago, of the British High Court that the prime minister was required to get Parliament’s approval before it triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, notifying the EU that Britain is getting out.

Farage, a leader of the UKIP party, according to the Daily Telegraph, intends to lead a 100,000 strong march to the Supreme Court on the day it will be hearing the appeal on the High Court’s ruling.  Farage said “I worry that a betrayal may be near at hand… I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50. If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke.”

Is this incitement that I am hearing?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


On the tube from London City airport, I saw the light: Whatever the large loud woman had to say to her family was heard by the whole carriage. The family: this woman and her partner who seemed rather young to be the father of her four children aged seven to seventeen. On her lap, she held a small suitcase, out of which a regular flow of junk food was fed to those of her brood who demanded it. Just in case, the drip fed children did not get it, they were told “luv you” from time to time. It was mesmerising and it gave me the solution: It is not about nationality or religion; it is all about class. It is probably difficult to find the politically correct language and sadly undoable but this division would make most of us more comfortable.

And talking of class rather than any preconceived ideas about race:

So, How about a separate continent for the world's foreigner-hating right-wingers ? Preferably a far-far-far-away one.

Proud to be American?

Here’s a story about the Jew who managed to leave Germany in 1933, having gotten a visa permitting him to stay in Britain. It’s a story, my mother told me many, many years ago and I expect that many younger readers won’t even understand the joke.

So, after 5 years in Britain, Jacob Rosenzweig decides to apply for British citizenship. He is called to the Home Office and informed that his application has been turned down. Disappointed he goes home but he is allowed to reapply after three years and he does so, and gets turned down again. This repeats itself a few times, until 1949, when he gets a letter from the Home Office inviting him for an interview, at which the now smiling official greets him and hands him a British passport. Jacob looks at the passport, opens it and then returns to the Home Office official. No, he is no longer interested. The surprised official asks "Why? You have been trying for 11 years and now that you can have it, you don’t want it anymore?" No, Jacob explains “not, mit out de colonies”.

I thought of that anecdote, apropos my friend G. who, having lived in NY for more than 25 years, has applied to become naturalised and just a few months ago, became a proud American citizen. Proud?

That Country Needs New Slogans

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

God Bless America

Let America be Great Again

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Already, in the UK, we have millions of pro-Brexit voters, who have suddenly seen the light and admit that their vote was a mistake.

As I write this, it is not yet clear whether we can forget the man or whether this trump will become Mr. President. What is clear, is that more than 60 million Americans are going to vote trump. What is also clear, going by turnout statistics from previous US presidential elections, in which only between 50 and 55 per cent of those entitled to vote, bothered to go out and vote, that more than 100 million may with their abstention pave trump’s road to the presidency.  

On making the right decisions

Some years ago, I spoke to an elderly German couple, who admitted to have voted for Hitler when he first came to power. They explained: “you cannot imagine how dangerous the Communists were, at the time.”

So much for making the right decisions.


It has been reported that 66% of US evangelicals are supporting trump. 

To these evangelicals, who believe in hell, and vote for a man whose behaviour is the exact opposite of whatever Christian values are meant to be, I wish just that.