I always feared that there might be a finite number of anti-Bush stories, jokes and cartoons, that, once exceeded, would tip the needle on his popularity meter over onto ‘Sympathy’ - the ‘poor bastard, he hasn’t a friend in the world’ syndrome – affecting first California and spreading gradually across the country. (The NE states will probably retain their immunity.)
So my New Year – well, March 7 – resolution is not to forward any of the 47 jaded, cliché-ridden Bush jokes I received yesterday, and henceforth not to use the B word. Even Cntrl+B is out. (WORD just excelled itself – it says, rightly, that Cntrl+B is plural! Sorry WORD: Cntrl+B are out) But I am free to comment on the irony of a guy who shall be nameless riding yee-haw into a second term on a fear ticket and the continuing democratization of the Middle-East, telling a democratically elected government (elected on a genuine fear ticket) that they must try to be less aggressive – like us. Septic tanks!
Blair, on the other hand – a different B word and fair game – shows his contempt for the poor suckers who elected him and the parliament that keeps him in power by saying that he is responsible only to God. (Presumably a Christian god – nay, an RC one.)
As Big Daddy would say, ‘there’s an odour of mendacity around here’.
Meanwhile here in France, la grippe aviaire gets ever closer: a migrating duck literally drops dead over the marshes of the Rhone delta – and not from lead shot – not a dozen miles from France’s 3rd largest city. Truculent farmers (as is their habitude) say stuff you to the government – we will transport our fowl anywhere we want. But not yesterday they didn't – yesterday they were busy flooding the autoroute with zillions of gallons of wine in a protest aimed at achieving ‘a total ban on the importation of wine from overseas’. Tough if you were one of those farmers trying to move your turkeys illegally to another Département so you wouldn’t have to vaccinate them; and even tougher if you were busy trying to produce wine that was fit to complete with the foreign product instead of only for flooding autoroutes.
Over in Britain they refuse to be panicked by a few frightened Frenchies: the government’s chief scientific adviser (Professor Sir somebody) tells us that ‘even if we had H5N1 [the deadly version] among the chicken population in Britain’ our chances of catching bird flu are 1 in 100million. (Beware of Professor Sirs bearing figures - that’s less than 70% of one person!) Let's hope the ostriches don't catch it - whose going to bury their heads in the sand?
And the Côte d’Azur basks in vernal sunshine: only when I went to switch off the central heating last night did I realise that I’d forgotten to switch it on. Must go now – got to nip over the border to Italy to have a nice lunch and top up the Valpollicella and Pinot Grigio.