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High life

Downers and uppers

2 January 2008

12:00 AM

2 January 2008

12:00 AM

New Year’s Eve parties cannot be described in lyrical terms, recalling perhaps the elegance of poetry by, say, Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde’s decadence being more like it. I am not among those who hate New Year’s parties; in fact, on the contrary. Let’s start with the bad news. The worst New Year’s ever was 31 December 1984, in Pentonville. Now that was a real downer. Talk about a party that never took off. On that particular night it never even got started. Everyone was locked up by 7 p.m., and most of the jailbirds were asleep by the time the clock struck 12. I stayed up by force of habit, but all it did was make me more miserable. Looking back at my description of that night in the immortal jail memoir Nothing to Declare, I see that particular New Year’s Eve was the first time I felt the worst was over. From then on it was only a matter of time and patience. There are certain psychological barriers while one’s doing bird, the obvious ones being birthdays of loved ones, holidays, and so on. For me that night was the penultimate barrier to the countdown, which begins after the halfway point has been reached.

I went to Palm Beach about one month ago to visit Conrad and Barbara Black with other friends of theirs, but was advised not to write about it until after the sentencing. As Andrew Roberts wrote in the Diary, it was ‘a masterclass in displaying dignity, good humour, hospitality and charm under pressure…’ If only the bums who so eagerly cast stones possessed a scintilla of Conrad’s courage, I might even force myself to consider their argument. But none of them even comes close. I wonder why that is? The idea that a rat like Radler can give state evidence and plea-bargain a tiny sentence in a country club shows how wrong the law is. I suppose the Bible knows best. It’s always the Judases among us who betray. My old man never broke any laws but at the same time picked executives who were stand-up guys. Rats will always sell one out, starting with people like Richard Perle, who parlayed Conrad’s munificence into a small fortune and was the first to turn against him. A new book on this grotesque rodent includes the following terrifying sentence: ‘There is no middle way for Americans: it is either victory or holocaust.’

Perle blames the disloyalty and ineptitude of the Bush administration for the catastrophe in Iraq. I had written about this, that the rats would blame the captain once the ship got stuck, almost five years ago. Although not the greatest geopolitical thinker of my generation, I knew my man Perle. He wanted Uncle Sam to attack Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran after Iraq, and following that North Korea. And he’s walking around free while Lord Black is about to do a Taki. For six and one half long years.


But this is 2008 and a new year always brings hope. The first smart thing I did was to give my annual New Year’s Eve party not in my chalet, but in a restaurant–inn of the old style. The reason for this is my children’s friends. They are young, tend to get drunk and spill red wine all over the place. After last year’s débâcle I said basta. The members of the band were no better. They actually put ciggies out on the carpet. But not to worry. This year it was someone else who had to sweep up.

Mind you, for the first time since the Peloponnesian War, Gstaad is covered in snow, powder skiing to make Canadians drool with envy, but with the added advantage that there are very few Canadians around. This, of course, is because of global warming. That’s what a friend of mine, who believes most of the bs being put out by those who might benefit from a state of emergency, told me. The fact that his wife left him for an ape, at least I think it’s an ape, and his children advertise the fact that they’re orphans, has not made a dent in his belief that he’s absolutely correct.

The world is finished unless private jets are grounded. I will go along with that, as long as all airplanes are grounded, and all Detroit models are turned into hybrids, or whatever they’re called, and as long as we stop being blackmailed by the oil sheikhs. Give me rail travel, transatlantic liners and electric cars and you will have Taki on your side. Oh, yes, and no more super-yachts, only sailboats. But I will not stop using my private little airplane as long as Brown and Bush and the rest of them continue to travel in the style they were never accustomed to.

Barbara Tuchman once wrote that mankind makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. That other great historian–philosopher, Taki, says that mankind has proved to be the biggest jerk ever for allowing liars and phoneys to renege on every promise they made at election time. The refusal to hold a referendum about the revised EU constitution proves the Greek philospher’s point.

Otherwise everything is hunky-dory, as they say. I am looking forward to defending my world Judo 70-and-over title come June, in Brussels of all places, hoping against hope it will no longer be called Belgium by then, but Flanders, because my friends the Vlaams Belang will be rooting for me. And, if the lower back continues on its course, I sure will need the support, pun not intended. Happy New Year!


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