Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Idler, Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A sense of

a cusp

of change

IT'S New Year's Eve. Worldwide there's a sense of being on a cusp of momentous change. Which will come first? Brexit? The Great Wall of Mexico? And if Donald Trump can abandon his Kurdish allies in Syria, what does this say of his commitment to Nato?

Brexit is problematic. The deal Theresa May has cut with the EU is clearly unacceptable to the House of Commons because it relegates the UK to being a kind of perpetual vassal state, bound by EU regulations yet having no say in formulating them. The UK is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto rights. The two just don't match.

So what do they do? Crash out next March and to hell with the consequences? Hold another referendum with Boris Johnson burbling about on his battle bus again, tousling his hair? It really doesn't bear thinking about.

A general election? That's a possibility. Jeremy Corbyn might then come to power, gleefully tell the EU capitalist lackeys to go to hell and forge a triple entente with Cuba and Venezuela. .

As I say, a cusp of change.

The Great Wall? Trump has already closed down much of the US federal government in a budgetary tussle with Congress, which refuses to vote him the funding for the Great Wall. He says if Congress continues to frustrate him, he'll close the border with Mexico entirely. So yah, boo, sucks!


The impasse comes on top of problems at the White House where the revolving door is practically whizzing as generals and other professionals depart the administration team. Who can replace them? Does the president perhaps have a few second cousins and such to come in and join Jared and Ivanka in running the country and its foreign policy?

And what of the Witch Hunt? Trump has repeatedly condemned the Mueller investigation into his election campaign's alleged collusion with Russia as a witch hunt, yet the hunt seems to continue. All kinds of people seem to be "co-operating" with the FBI. Is Mueller about to pounce?

And on top of this, the witches of America – yes, they apparently still exist in the Wiccan movement, these days thinking nothing but good thoughts and doing good deeds  – are offended by Trump's use of the term "witch hunt" as a perjorative.

The witches are not a huge constituency. But do they possess the power to cast spells if offended? It could be tricky.

Yes, we're at a cusp.


Brexit and the Great Wall of Mexico. All things considered, it just might be worth taking a double with the bookies on neither of them happening at all.

Meanwhile, we fall back on the reassuring lines of the immortal Rabbie Burns.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

Yes, the right gude-willie waught – it's an essential part of ringing out the old and ringing in the new. But don't get the gendarmes involved. They'll be on the prowl.

To all readers, a happy and prosperous New Year. As they say in Bonnie Scotland: Lang may yer lum reek!


WHAT happened to the Irishman who gave a thought to the evils of drinking in the New Year?

He gave up thinking.

Last word

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. - TS Eliot


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