Mr Grumpy....16th January, 2020
By the time you read this, we could all be dead.
Actually, that’s a paradox…you might not be reading this, because you are dead, although you could be a visitor from Mars who found this in a tube hidden in my garden, like Blue Peter when they buried photos of John Noakes with Valerie Singleton and Shep in the BBC Television Centre garden, which is now a car park, so I guess their secret is safe.
I digress (already).
You know in those dystopian films, where most of the world has been wiped out by nuclear warfare, aliens, or a bad batch of Lurpak or infected chicken nuggets. It’s always small groups of villagers in remote locations who survive and have to barricade themselves in from rampaging zombies looking for fresh meat, only venturing out in old tractors that have a bit of fuel left in to get into the deserted town for Anusol from the smashed-up chemist?
Well, sat in the relative safety of my remote (but admittedly luxurious) hotel in very rural Hampshire (absolutely a Tory stronghold), I’ve just watched the funeral of Quasimodo Salami or whatever his name was in Iran. We are led to believe he was a legalised terrorist although the Iranian government would say he was a legitimate general in their state army — I didn’t know him personally, but apparently Donald Trumpypants did and decided the world would be a better place without him and blew him up.
It’s possibly the same logic that terrorists use when planting bombs, blowing up planes and generally killing people whom we would say are innocent but they would say are legitimate targets. It all depends which side of the fence (or world) you’re on.
“As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear programme and shipped out its uranium stockpile, and we have avoided another war” — President Obama.
“Iran is not getting rid of any of its nuclear plants. They aren’t getting rid of anything” — President Trump.
Going back to those images on my hotel television (big, not as big as the one I have at home) this chap must have been more popular than Ant and Dec, Terry Wogan and Jimmy Krankie combined, because there were hundreds of thousands (and I mean a lot) of people at his funeral, all of whom seemed a tad angry.
What really stuck with me was the commentary of Sky’s reporter, who said: “These images are orchestrated by a regime that is masterful in getting across the desired message”, as if they’d all been given vouchers for free McDonalds on the way home and a day off work for turning up, or perhaps just threatened with a hand being chopped off if they didn’t.
Over here in the “civilised West”, where we don’t eat dogs (but do eat cows and sheep) and proudly boast of inventing The Beatles, chips, Coronation Street, The Simpsons, and marmalade, we are led to believe that anything we see and hear on the BBC is true (except Dracula — that was made up). I often wonder if people in the Middle East might reasonably think countries that eat Marmite, idolise people who willingly go into a jungle and eat snakes’ testicles and build children’s theme parks next to alligator-invested swamps might be just a tad unbalanced.
I’m not saying this general chap was a good guy, but I’d never heard of him until he was blown up, so it does strike me as a bit of a kangaroo court, held in Trumpypants’ man-shed after one too many Budweisers.
I wonder if the same “intelligence” had been used as back in 2003 when Bush and Blair believed something they read in The Beano on 1st April, that Iraq had more weapons of mass destruction than Greggs has pasties at lunchtime.
In the end, it seemed the satellite images they’d seen of rocket-launchers were actually window-cleaners’ vans with ladders on the top and the poisonous gas vans turned out to be selling ice cream, but the mistake wasn’t admitted until some 200 coalition soldiers and around 8,000 Iraqis had been killed.
Four months before the West invaded to save us all from gassing by Windolene, the Iraq government said: “Honest, we haven’t got any, we poured it all down the sink” but, as the Chilcot report found some 13 years later, the “intelligence” reports had been “sexed up” and that Blair, when convincing Parliament to give him the green light to invade, had “blurred the lines between what he knew and what he believed”.
By then, Blair had moved on to writing books and commanding tens of thousands of pounds for speaking engagements, his only punishment being to marry a moose.
Since all this happened (I’ve now jammed a fine, antique French chair behind my hotel door), Iran has lobbed a couple of dozen missiles at US troop camp sites, but missed with every one.
Of course, had Tom Cruise even thrown half a dozen pineapples over a fence, each one would take out a baddie, and if they send in Sly Stallone, he’ll strangle anyone on the wanted list while they slept and sneak back out through the kitchen without even waking up bin Laden, the family pet dog.
I cringe when I see our own PM and ministers roundly supporting Trumpypants with scripts he may well have sent over by UPS air-mail, but none of which I hear from the likes of France or Germany.
After seeing around half a million people looking ever so slightly annoyed burning flags, Starbucks cups and photos of Trump, Homer Simpson, PM Boris and David Beckham, I think I’d keep my head down (literally) myself.
Of course, I’m not saying this guy wasn’t a nasty piece of work (I’d be writing a different column if he’d killed my kids) but I can’t help but think this will prove to be one step forward and half a million back.
We believe everything we see and hear on the telly and read in Hello because we trust our flag and everything under it.
But as we now know, not all ice-cream vans sell 99s with a poisonous Flake…