I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Mad, Mad World


If, a short while ago, I'd have believed that Donald Trump might be in the White House or that the unlikely, rather sinister triumvirate of Nigel Farage, George Galloway and Boris Johnson might be scaring us out of Europe, I'd have woken up sweating — knowing it was just one of those rancid nightmares you get from time to time. But, unfortunately, some nightmares are not nightmares — they are the living truth. God help us all. Time for me soon, I think, to retreat to a shack in Croatia or a cave in the Pyrenees. 

17 comments:

Loren said...

Save some room.

Nick said...

The shack in Croatia isn't, I have to tell you (from my shack in Croatia), by itself the solution; you'd have to turn off your computer permanently too - and that's more difficult, I think, than travelling into the wilderness.

Ruth said...

For me too.

The Solitary Walker said...

Unbelievable, isn't it? Re. Trump: well, words fail me. And they don't often do that.

Re. Europe: we have to work with Europe, not against it. At the moment we are in a cool position — not being in the euro, yet having the advantages of the EU's single market, having a place on the European negotiating table. Let's not mess it all up. Let's stay half-independent, half-conjoined — not isolationist. The days of the British Empire are long gone. Already the stock market fell to its worst position in seven years. What's it going to do if we try painfully to withdraw (and that process may take many years of negotiation, with all the consequent uncertainties and financial ups and downs)? I'm English, yes, but also British — and a very strong European (I identify with of all these). If we leave the EU, Scotland will break up the Union, that's for sure. And I would be behind Nicola Sturgeon all the way this time — despite being in the opposing camp at the last referendum.

Bouncing Bertie said...

As a Europhile Englishwoman living in Scotland, I totally agree with all of the above. Furthermore, if Scotland has to renegotiate entry into the EU at some point in the future, what are the chances the terms would be a favourable as we now have? Slim indeed, I think.
Cheers, Gail.
PS Oh how I would love it if Nicola Sturgeon chose to nationalise Donald Trump's golf course and allow it to revert to the nature reserve (and SSSI) that some of us in NE Scotland once so treasured...

The Solitary Walker said...

Nicola SHOULD nationalise the golf course!!! Oh, yes, what a beautiful idea... Having followed all this depressing golf course fiasco, I have to say that Alex Salmond made a huge mistake.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Are you having badges printed Robert? If so I want one.

George said...

For those who have wondered how someone like Hitler could have ever risen to power, we can find the answers in Trump and the mindless followers who are goose-stepping him to the Republican nomination and perhaps to the White House. Let us hope that saner minds will prevail and that Hillary will take over the presidency in 2017. Whatever the case, it's clear that the Republican Party is imploding, perishing in the flames of hate it has been fanning for decades.

dritanje said...

Put me down for a badge too please! It's a time for co-operation, keeping a calm head - and prayer.

am said...

Yep. Nightmare material. All over the world. These are the dark hours before the dawn. We've been here before, and we'll be here again. It's been heartening to re-read Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr., during these bizarre times. No easy answers ever.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Pat, George, Morelle and Amanda for your contributions.
'Dark hours before the dawn' — yes, we have to believe that.
As that line from my poem, 'Camino Fever', says:
'How dark the soul in the dead of night! But how bright the morning sun!'
With hope...

Amanda Summer said...

There are times - many times - when I cannot fathom what people in my country are thinking. I though Trump would be long gone after his multitudinous gaffes and buffoonery but there's no telling how far one can go on an platform built upon insults and bullying.

The Solitary Walker said...

I know in my heart, of course, the American people will go in spades for Hillary rather than Trump... won't they? After all, look at Obama... As George intimates, Trump has done massive damage to the Republicans, which will take years to repair...

Vagabonde said...


I think that you have it much better in Britain than here – please don’t retreat into the Pyrenees (were you thinking about the Spanish side?)

At least in your country you have superior healthcare compared to here, and what about public transportation? Where I live if you don’t own a car, you are totally isolated (no taxis even - I know as I had pneumonia over Christmas and could not get to a doctor, ever.) Your people travel overseas (most Americans don’t even own a passport.) There is no law in the US offering any paid vacation to citizens (the only such country in the Western world) – some companies don’t offer any (I worked in one of these once.) It is the only country requiring their citizens living overseas to pay income tax to the US. You don’t get in-your-face religion like we do here. For example where my son-in-law works in Tennessee nothing opens on Sunday (the Lord’s Day) – grocery stores, gas stations, cinemas, restaurants even fast-food! My daughter delivered her baby at his hospital on a Sunday – we brought sandwiches from home … Many places are “dry” and in other places one can’t buy liquor on Sundays or at night. You are known for your sense of humour – just listen to a Republican debates and try to find any … it’s just gross remarks. You can get a decent cup of tea in Britain – here in the Deep South we usually get ice-tea with loads of ice, even if you ask for little ice (I know!) You have better roads and fewer fatalities, four times less than here, and in general much less crime and killings by a large margin. Student debt is horrible here – my daughter will have to pay on hers until she retires. You have more culture and museums – in Greater Atlanta (almost 6 million people) we have 1 main art museum and a couple small ones in the suburbs. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. So don’t feel bad about Britain.

I live in Georgia where we have 156 different counties. Donald Trump won the last primary in 152 of them! I hope that if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, the Sanders voters will go for her, but I am not sure, as Bernie has so many young people who do not like Hillary. I was so excited about the US when I came here in the 1960s but have seen the country become more conservative, religious, ignorant, and racist, etc. Have you seen how protesters, even the press, are now being roughed up at Trump rallies? Just like in fascists rallies of former times. It is very sad. (Sorry about a long comment, but I don’t comment often … :)

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks so much, Vagabonde, for your long and engaging comment. Yes, Britain is great, I know it, of course — but thanks for reminding me! Wasn't totally serious about emigrating — though I don"t consider retreating into Europe really emigrating — was just making a point about the insularity and europhobia of some Brits, which occasionally makes me despair.

Your points are well made, and it's a shame that Obama wasn't able to be more radical than he wished. However, in fairness to the US, I have been constantly delighted by American openness, friendliness, directness, spontaneity and hospitality — in the small experience I have. And American literature has led the way over the last 50 years in its humanity, and broad sweep, and critical incisiveness, and expressive brilliance.

I'm afraid that bigotry, intolerance, racism and ultra-conservatism is gaining ground in Europe also — but I'm trusting in democracy and innate human goodness to pull us out of this (naively, perhaps!)

The Solitary Walker said...

PS No — I was thinking about the French side! Mainly because I speak French a thousand times better than Spanish.

The Solitary Walker said...

PPS Student debt pretty horrendous here too!