I could not feel more despondent about this ship of fools that we call planet Earth this morning. I had a pleasant chat with one of my local Conservative opponents yesterday as I walked home. I asked whether they thought Boris would hang on. They replied that they did, but only because there really is no credible alternative for the job in the party. The one serious alternative has been sunk by the same torpedo as Mr Johnson. As to the Labour alternative, we've had Keir Starmer for a couple of years and perhaps the only thing we really know about what he stands for is that he's not Jeremy Corbyn and he's a sensible sort of chap. What is his vision for leading Great Britain out of the mire? He'll sort of do things a bit better than the Tories. What are his plans for transport? I've no real idea. Solving climate change? Dunno. The housing crisis? Not sure? Inequality? I'm really not sure he even cares, I've never heard a dicky bird about the subject. I think we all know that Sir Keir disapproves of Boris, but what does he stand for?
We are a country of nearly sixty million people and we've collectively decided the most competent choice of person to lead the country is a choice between Boris Johnson or Sir Keir Starmer. There are many things you may think about such a choice, but given we've had a global pandemic and we are suffering a cost of living crisis, which will plunge many into poverty, it isn't exactly reassuring, is it?
But the UK is just a tiny percentage of the population of the beautiful and unique planet. We are geographically blessed to be spared all manner of threats. We have no external land borders with hostile powers, our reliance on foreign energy is relatively small and we could cope with only a modicum of pain if all energy imports were ceased, unlike many of our European neighbours. Our climate is temperate, we don't have the extreme's of heat and cold, wind,snow and rain that many nations have to suffer. A quick scour of the international papers, reveals all manner of crises in the world. Who is meant to lead us through these and coordinate the global response. In theory, the United Nations Security Council. This has five permanent members The UK lead by Boris Johnson, the US lead by President Biden, France, lead (for now) by President Macron, Russia led by President Putin and China lead by President Xi.
Lets start with the USA and President Biden, the so called leader of the free world. I've seen all manner of Presidents in my life. Those I can remember, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden. I'm sure those on the right would disagree, but when Obama was in power, I had a general feeling that we had sane, rational and competent leadership. To me, Trump was an aberration, his one redeeming feature was that in terms of foreign policy, he was so unpredictable that errant potential enemies were wary of riling him. I never thought I'd say this but I have serious doubts that Russia would have launched it's Ukraine campaign if Trump had been in charge. If they had, I'd have no doubt that Trump would have flown to Russia and had words with Biden. Of course there is a train of thought that Trump was a Russian stooge and Mr Putin has films of him with rather luscious ladies up to very naughty things, but I think Putin would have had to have been far more careful. I somehow doubt Trump would really care too much. He had a very Borisesque way of dealing with embarrassing stories. Biden is not someone who has Putin quaking in his boots. With the possible exception of Carter, who is a wonderful man, but a lousy president, I can't think of anyone who'd have less credibility in the face of multiple world crises. I had assumed that with the demise of Trump, the USA would start taking climate change seriously, but it seems that the Biden regime has been in a state of permanent paralysis and there has been no leadership at all. Biden appears to be weak and doddery. It seems to me that every time he opens his mouth, his aides have to issue a retraction or explanation. It is both embarrassing and dangerous.
Then we have President Macron. Whilst I don't really have a problem with him. He seems a pretty run of the mill French President, there is a very real chance that he will no longer be President in a couple of weeks and we'll have a fully fledged Fascist in charge of France. That is absolutely horrific. Anyone who studied history will know that the more established parties in Germany thought they could work with Hitler and the Nazi's until they got their hands on the wheels of power. Le Pen has spent five years trying to pretend she's pretty moderate really. She's not, she's a Fascist from a family of Fascists. God help Europe if she gets her hands on the wheels of power
Then we have President Xi in China. If you read about his dissection of human rights and liberties in Hong Kong, you will know that he is a threat to democracy. As a man who will never have to face an election, he can play the long game. He's been waiting for a Biden like character to arrive in the White House and is it luck or something more sinister that this has happened as the UK has left the EU and a Nationalist Fascist is on the verge of power in France. Whatever Xi thinks of what is happening in the West, it is 100% to his advantage to see all of this. As to Ukraine, he's sitting back watching how things develop. He sees a huge opportunity to turn Russia into a semi client state. All he has to do is sit back and watch the situation unfurl.
As to Russia. My wife did Russian studies at University. She spent time studying in the 1980's in the USSR and worked for an Anglo-Russian media joint venture company. I've been to Russia three times and my brother in law is Russian. Unlike many armchair critics, I have a proper understanding of what is going on. Putin is a very dangerous man, but he is not insane. He is more dangerous than ever as he is wounded by the failure of his armed forces. Whilst his generals clearly were misleading him at the start of the conflict as to the lack of success, he must know now. I suspect that he will grab a chunk of East Ukraine in brutal fashion the sue for peace, so he can claim, at home, that he has got what he wanted. The tragic truth is that we will all have no choice but to play along.
It is horrific, but that sad truth is that this is not the biggest threat we face. That is climate change and we've dropped the ball on that. By the time we pick it up it really may be too late.