IF YOU could swap our Prime Minister Theresa May for any other national leader, who would it be?
I know. Not a lot of choice is there?
Trump is simply mad. Deranged. The world’s just lucky that so far he’s been all mouth and baggy trousers. You do rather hope his secret service agents have been given authority to ‘intervene’ if he starts asking for the red button codes.
Vladimir Putin? A killer, quite literally – perhaps not quite on Stalin’s scale, but he appears to share the mad ambitions of Napoleon, Mao, Hitler and friends.
Ordering the poisoning of people in Salisbury he considered traitors, and having another out-of-favour emigre strangled in London, just days ahead of the Russian election, was absolutely up his street.
This is a man who bombs hospitals in Syria, who uses Russian mercenaries to fight proxy wars, who gives rebels rockets to shoot down civilian airlines.
Don’t expect that a stern ticking-off from headmistress May is going to rein him in any time soon.
And then you read that Trump got a briefing from his National Security Adviser saying DO NOT CONGRATULATE after Putin ‘won’ his rigged election. Yup, sure enough Don was straight on the phone to his pal. “We had a very good call,” he bragged. The moron.
When you do get somewhere reasonably normal like nicey-nice Canada, you get a President in Pierre Trudeau who has yet to find a minority cause he doesn’t want to champion above ‘normal’ citizens.
He’d probably resign tomorrow if he could guarantee a gay transgender Muslim PM (he’s too stupid to understand the basic contradiction there).
Australia’s deputy PM has just resigned after being caught tampering with the staff, which at least makes a change from Aussie officials being on the take.
The glory days of Nelson Mandela’s South Africa are dim and distant history and even though the tyrants Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe have been toppled, there’s little hope that Cyril Ramaphosa and Emmerson Mnangagwa will be much better.
Assad in Syria, Kim Jung-Un in North Korea, the Chinese president Xi Jinping changing the law so he can rule for life – what’s occurring out there? Even the sainted Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma is vilified for not lifting a finger to stop the genocide of Rohingya Muslims.
I was going to praise the long-serving Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, but last month police announced he could face corruption charges. Ho hum.
Closer to home the Harvey Weinstein of Italian politics, Silvio Berlusconi, is back trying to pull the strings in Rome, despite his litany of legal woes, France has yet another effete mincer in the Elysee Palace, der mutter Angela Merkel is clinging on for dear life, and right on our doorstep you have Brit-hating wee Nicola Krankie, whose predecessor Alex Salmond works as a propagandist for Putin on the state broadcaster Russia Today.
Put it all like that, and our dithering, path-of-least-resistance Theresa May, looks like a cross between Churchill, Roosevelt and Mother Theresa. Sometimes I guess we just need to count our blessings, however small.
FROM the telephone and steam engine, to the TV and the world wide web, the list of British inventors and inventions is rather staggering.
The Industrial Revolution was every bit as responsible (or more) than our famed Royal Navy for creating the largest empire human civilisation has witnessed.
Graphene was discovered at Manchester University in 2004 and is the strongest material known to man.
It’s lighter than paper and 200 times stronger than steel. As such, and despite the fact that cement was invented as long ago as 1824 and Tarmac in 1902, I do find it rather remarkable that it is clearly beyond the wit, wisdom and combined intelligence of the British scientific and industrial complexes to develop anything that could fill a bloody pot hole and stay filled beyond the next time it rains or snows.
How difficult can it be?
You could even be forgiven for thinking it’s in the interests of council pothole-spotting staff and the filthy-rich road construction companies to persevere with expensive but ineffective make-do fixes.
NO SURPRISES from the public meeting MP Paula Sherriff staged with senior Kirklees police this week.
She got her six-pennorth of putting the boot into Tory cuts, which has some merit but is not quite the point.
Violent criminals are terrorising the streets of this district and “assurances” from Supt Steve Cotter that “reported crime is mapped and resources deployed accordingly” is whitewash worthy of a Cabinet minister.
“Keep on calling and reporting crimes because we take y’all really, really seriously, we’re feeling your pain,” might sound good in the shaving mirror Superintendent, but people like the long-suffering traders of Birstall know bullshine when they smell it. They don’t want token “high visibility community patrols” in the middle of the day, in places where most people will see a police hat and be “reassured”.
They want action. They want a plan. They want the bloke trousering the big salary to talk honestly to them, to show that he has the slightest clue what is going on, and an idea of what he’s going to do about it.
Right now, all they’re hearing is small ‘p’ political platitudes from a bloke who’s probably sweating on his next posting to somewhere that the streets haven’t been simply handed over to the villains and gangsters. Not good enough.
I WAS going to write a brief postscript on my recent domestic heating woes, whereby the clowns at Ideal Boilers respond to faults in their rubbish machines by doing their bit for the duvet and blanket industries – ie, wrap up warm and get used to being a bit smelly.
But no, it’s more than that. It’s more likely MI5 than Putin that’s trying to drive me round the bend – or worse – but someone’s definitely got it in for me.
My sense of smell is rubbish, thanks to numerous broken noses and operations over the years.
Mrs L, on the other hand, can be at the opposite end of the house and goes off like a smoke alarm if I attempt to silently break wind in the closed confines of my distant office.
I wondered the other day why I was feeling unusually woozy and the dog was even more lethargic than usual.
“I can smell gas – lots of it!” she announced from the proximity of the boiler.
She called Ideal, who did what Ideal do. “Nowt to do wi’ us!” (they’re based in Hull). “We’ll let Transco know” (it’s Northern Gas Networks actually).
“But it’s your boiler that’s leaking gas – poisoning us!”
“You don’t know it’s our boiler, could be the mains, or a Martian spaceship or summat” (bit of an exaggeration there). “Call us back if Transco say it’s t’boiler.”
“But it IS your bloody boiler that’s leaking!”
“Who suddenly made you a gas engineer then?”
Within the hour the NGN man was there. “It’s the boiler,” he said immediately. “Whoever worked on it left this fitting loose.”
Great, I thought. Another week without heat, because Ideal have two speeds, service-wise: Slow and stop.
“I can sort it, no problem,” said Mr NGN. “Only two minutes.” I’ve got a new slogan for Ideal – ‘The boiler for eskimos and people considering gassing themselves’.
But that wasn’t all – oh no! I consider BT the worst set of commercial racketeers around and have belatedly switched my home phone and broadband to John Lewis – a reliable, well thought-of retail brand, yes? They work with Plusnet.
On switching day, sure enough BT shut down promptly. By that night I’d wasted about 12 hours trying to get it working, before John Lewis said oops, there was a problem (no s*** Sherlock!),
“So fix it,” I suggested.
“I’ve raised a case number,” came the reply. “You should hear from us” – hear from us mind, not have it fixed – “within three to five working days. But if the problem’s at your end you’ll have to pay a service fee.”
Anyway, turns out the cock-up was BT’s – and nice John Lewis is “doing something to compensate for your troubles.” Good service is bad service dealt with quickly and politely.
It’s not rocket science, is it?