More stuff relevant to THE DEATH OF TRUTH. The EU is alas in any case in danger of fracturing. Poland and Hungary have what are getting on to be totalitarian regimes (the former Eastern Bloc in general hasn’t adapted tp democratic systems since the dissolution of the USSR in any case); Germany (and Austria) have high-level extreme right-wing parties; Italy is turning towards its own version of Farage; Macron is losing credibility by the day, and only Spain has (for the moment) thrown out its own dictatorial prime minister (who was acting without a full mandate, like our our Mrs May and like Mr Trump). In the meantime leaders arrogate to themselves the right to tell us what to think and how to think. Thus it is than a handful of men and women, representing an even smaller percentage of the UK population than the one they risibly claim to stand for the majority view of this country and ‘the will of the people’ (in itself a chillingly Orwellian phrase) continue to manipulate us into thinking that Brexit will work. It will work for them, but least of all will it work for their most ardent followers among the dispossessed, uninformed and increasingly unemployed members of society who are most prone to follow leaders. When I was working on recent German history, I used to be amazed at how Hitler got away with it; now I am beginning to see how at first hand.
And (not that I want to get biblical about anything) take a look at world weather systems in the 1930s!
THE DEATH OF TRUTH by Michiko Kakutani is just out and I think everyone should read it – it’s an analysis of the culture of lies in the service of government which has rushed up on us since the black year of 2016. Of course this culture is nothing new; but it’s the first time most of us have had direct experience of it, and perhaps the first time that such a culture has been seriously able to affect the entire world.
I’m pleased to see that Kakutani borrows her title from Goya, because I used THE SLEEP OF REASON as my title for my novel about the Nazis. My publisher made me change it since he didn’t think it was ‘approachable’ enough, so it became INTO DARKNESS. But at least even then I was able to nod to Hannah Arendt.
As I’m here, I must tell you that I’ve just read an article in LE CANARD about Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afwerki, in charge for the last 25 years and as brutal a dictator as Kim Jong-Un, if not actually worse. Ethiopia’s GDP has soared to double figures and hence the peace agreement with Eritrea – Ethiopia needs access to the sea in order to trade more easily and Eritrea has a wrecked economy. Afwerki has now started a charm offensive, notably in the USA, promoting Eritrea and going so far as to suggest it as a tourist resort.
Do read about him since no doubt he’s seen DOTTIE as a golden opportunity. I wonder if DOTTIE will go and visit him. If there were any money in it, of course we’d all be beating a path to his door – and the dear old UK will need all the markets it can get after 29 March. Perhaps the Three Brexiteers are already dabbling there.
Really glad to read about Kengo Kuma’s new V&A in Dundee. Really all major museums should follow V&A and Tate and liberate what’s in their storerooms to put them on show in new museums and galleries in all provincial cities – they could use old factories or schools or churches if there wasn’t enough money for new buildings – and all this could be at a fraction of the cost of, say, Brexit, or farming out already-existing facilities to private contractors, s the National Gallery seems to be doing most shamefully at the moment with its education department. The NG has a poor employment record and unless it does a u-turn on current policy I am cancelling my Friends Of subscription since I’d feel uncomfortable supporting such a cruel and stupid organisation. In the end however the fault lies with Government for not providing anything like sufficient arts funding – why can’t they see what a massive boost to the economy this would be in terms of increased tourism, quite apart from anything else? Why do we put up with such fools and knaves running things for us?
I didn’t think I’d ever agree with Nicholas Soames but he does point out that the Leave Campaign during the referendum was illegally funded and that therefore the result of the referendum is invalid, and that the thing ought to be rerun. Failing that, at least we should be able to have one on the final decision – if there ever is one. The chaos is both fun and encouraging. Who on earth can have faith in the process or the principle as this farcical procedure digs itself deeper and deeper into the mire?
Sad that the Govt won on Amendment 18 by 6 votes. Too narrow a margin to ratify decision on such an important issue.
My only real personal question is: where to escape to?
I think it’d be a very good idea to admit Albania to the EU. It has huge resources of chromium (second only to South Africa’s) and massive hydro-electric power. It also has huge stretches of totally unspoiled Mediterranean beaches ripe for exploitation, wonderful mountains (skiing and hiking), as well as terrific Greek and Roman ruins. It’d be a tourist mecca to rival Greece easily (Albanians founded Mycenae), and investment there now would reap heaps in the near future if the country were allowed to open up to us. Its economy is shaky, so it’d be a breeze to do deals with at the moment (tho of course as responsible EU members we wouldn’t take advantage). And it’d the one in the eye for Vlad the Intriguer.
Think about it, France & Germany. I can’t think even Greece, so well established, would see such a small country as Albania as a serious threat to its own tourist industry.