THE DEATH OF TRUTH 2

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!

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THE DEATH OF TRUTH

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.

 

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Museums and galleries in the provinces

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?

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Brexit

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?

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WHITE HOUSE VISIT TO UK

The arrival of the Man in the White House impends. I hear it’ll cosy UK taxpayers ¬£5 million for his security over the two days he’ll be playing golf in Scotland alone. He should pay for his own security. We don’t need or want tyrannical, irresponsible egomaniacs here anyway – we have enough of our own.

 

I am appalled at his rabble-rousing against the press in Phoenix last year – incitement to riot is what it amounted to. It seems to me that since 2016 we have been thrust into a dark right-wing satire, the appalling right-wing governments of Poland and Hungary, the weakness of France, the instability of Germany, the ludicrousness of Brexit all compounding the fact that the USA has voted in a narcissistic, infantilistic character with a huge borderline personality disorder, and that China and Russia are ruled by extremely sinister despots. But it’s all interesting, and I hope I last ten more years to see the end of the show, because the way we are going it will surely end within that time.

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NEWS

What Putin’s Russia and the Grenfell Tower debacle have in common is the polarisation of money. Putin seems to be a common dictator interested in power per se tho in charge of a crumbling economy (worth less than Italy’s) and 140 million people who are encouraged by him to unite under his protection against a common enemy – the West. Of ¬†course it’s not that simple and of course Russian has always been ruled by a central government ruthlessly using a massive secret police force to keep control – and Putin has a point about western quasi-colonial behaviour over the Ukraine (and lack of a sense either of history or reality). Cleverly P allows controlled dissent (and elections) to give the illusion of democracy but that’s nothing new – look at almost any Greek city state, c 450 BC, at one time or another. Anyway it’s disingenuous and the real point is that the neglected economy isn’t helped by the flight of the ‘oligarchs’ who’ve fleeced it and fled the country never to return because they don’t like Putin! And naturally Putin is condoned by Trump, who’s just validated Kim. How do we allow these people to rule us? How has the world swerved so suddenly and so fast into black farce?

 

As for Grenfell, the socio-econimc divide in that part ofLondon is now as wide as it was in 1850 – the plan seems to be to starve out the poor residents of the North Kensington/Latimer Road area so that the plutocrats can get their paws on the valuable land those people are currently occupying, develop it, and sell the result to the mega-rich.

 

Alcibiades has a good speech in TIMON OF ATHENS V, iv, which I’ll quote a bit of:

Till now you have gone on, and filled the time

With all licentious measure, making your wills

The scope of justice. Till now, myself and such

As slept within the shadow of your power,

Have wandered with our traversed arms and breathed

Of sufferance vainly. Now the time is flush,

When crouching marrow, in the bearer striong

Cries, of itself, ‘No more.’ Now breathless wrong

Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease,

And pursy insolence shall break his wind

With fear and horrid flight.

 

Would it could be so. Then people like Mrs May wouldn’t so easily get away with crying crocodile tears about not having actually met the victims of Grenfell a year ago.

 

Surely it’s time to put an end to the Age of Greed and everyone associated with it, and in so doing put an end to the moral and ethical nadir we are living through.

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