When it comes to current affairs I have never, in my 78 years, been so well-informed. Quite apart from the daily and weekly printed products produced by latter-day 'Lord Coppers' which are available to me at my local newsagent, there is also this 'internet-thingie' which puts Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Timbuctoo et al before my very eyes at the click of a button. It is all quite amazing and no doubt it is also, in the words of Sellars & Yeatman, "A Good Thing" but, after ploughing through it all, do I really know what is going on?
Take for example, 'Trump Brouhaha #7,396' which has erupted everywhere following one of his pet Generals being caught out telling 'porkies' to the FBI. Yes, we all know, ad nauseum, that it has happened but what does it mean? Neither do we know, exactly and precisely, what was the nature of the 'porkies' and in what context they were told and why the hell the FBI was asking in the first place. Of course, this being a 'Trump Brouhaha', it is impossible to gain an understanding of its intricacies because the man himself is, shall we say, deeply idiosyncratic. To add to the inherent confusion, the entire Washingtonian establishment, Republicans, Democrats, media, commentariat and 'Uncle Tom Cobbley and all', appear to be suffering with St. Vitus dance syndrome!
Still 'n' all, as they say 'over there', if you look long and hard enough you will find the odd gleam of knowledgeable gold. For example, in today's Daily Mail you have the wise words of Max Hastings, a man with the skills and knowledge of an historian. In his article he deals with yet another 'Trump Brouhaha' - I forget the number, there have been so many! - which covers Trump's decision to republish with approbation on 'Twitter' some unintelligible dross issued by a British fascist organisation snarling and dribbling its usual hatred of all Muslims. Cue: entry by 'St. Margaret of May' telling him that he was "a very naughty boy"! Again, and absolutely true to form, an unrepentant 'Donald' simply doubled down on his opinions.
So the question arises, what does all this actually mean, and fortunately Mr. Hastings explains it:
What a nightmare for any prime minister! The leader of our closest ally chooses not merely to blow a kiss to a British far-Right anti-Muslim group, but then to insult Theresa May for deploring his gesture, as she was bound to do.
It is impossible not to be dismayed by President Donald Trump’s behaviour, which is unworthy of the head of state of the world’s greatest democracy.
But we should ruefully acknowledge that he treats this country no worse than any other nation on the planet, friend or foe. His own cabinet experiences the same level of manners every day.
But, as Mr. Hastings reminds us from his historical knowledge, no-one should be surprised that a POTUS treats this country with either indifference or contempt because virtually all them have done exactly that, unless of course, national interest (theirs not ours) requires a different tack. It is we Brits who refuse to acknowledge this with our daft belief in "hands across the sea" and all that guff! Obama hid his contempt and indifference because he was a professional politician but Trump is an amateur who breaks all the rules by 'telling it the way it is'. We should get real!