I need it like Boris needs a bleach job. Another birthday, that is. Birthdays tend to make your life pass before you in a flash. As it does, I imagine, when facing a firing squad or a samurai intending harm. I mention samurai because I recently dreamt of living in a feudal society where they ruled supreme. And how happy I was until I woke up. Now soulless bureaucrats rule instead of samurai, and it makes for a crappier world.
Looking back — well, there’s not much point in looking ahead, is there? — I regret some things, like missing out on an education in the classics. But most of all I wish I had gone to live in Japan when I was young. I began karate training 55 years ago and have never missed a day except when injured. The Japanese I trained with were brave, very polite, loved the past and honoured their ancestors. And most of them yearned for a feudal system, as I do. The idea of multiculturalism was something that the Japanese used to scare tiny misbehaving children. Now it’s too late, but I shall be visiting the country this year and have a fight arranged with Master Wada, who is in his late sixties and looking forward to it as much as I am.
I have come to the conclusion that Jeremy Clarke is very wise to choose to live in a cave as the world has gone to pot. But for the moment I think back to absent friends like Nick Scott. Absent friends are often on one’s mind as the years roll by. There’s no use listing them; this space would be one long name drop. But it’s funny how they remain active in one’s dreams. Especially just before dawn, and the wake-up call. The dream I mentioned earlier, about a feudal society, was extremely vivid. It included a Spartan part (both my maternal grandparents were Spartans and sent five sons to the front the day after war was declared in 1940). Although I revered Sparta as a child, I followed an Athenian way of life; Alcibiades was and is my hero. The all-knowing professor Peter Jones will no doubt guess why: the individual is more important than the state, which is the basis of conservative thought, I suppose. Over the years I have used the conservative creed both to amuse and enjoy myself.
Never mind. No one’s perfect, and there are worse things than amusing oneself. Such as minding other people’s business and trying to tell others how to think and live. I had the word ‘woke’ explained to me and it’s the usual bullshit about diversity, inclusivity and systemic white racism. These things are just gestural, invented to hide truths too harsh for people to accept. They lack subtlety, depth and, most importantly, veracity. The left has always lived a lie, and now it cloaks itself in an overweening sense of virtue and has idiots and morons repeating its slogans ad nauseam. Just look at what they’re doing to Boris over his joke description of the appearance of oppressed Arab women.
If this is the left’s intellectual posture, then a feudal society is surely just the thing to bring it to its senses. At least it would stop this moral preening, this overwrought reaction to anything and everything. Just imagine if I had written the following: ‘Oh man, it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old black men’, or ‘Are black people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like grovelling goblins?’ If you change the word ‘black’ to ‘white’ in those two sentences, you have what Sarah Jeong tweeted about white people. And she was recently hired as a member of the editorial board at the New York Times. See what I mean about an uneven playing field? Something must be done to stop this rot. Such as introducing strict, Sparta-like laws to control the corrosive effects of modern identity politics. Slogans against both black and white people must be punished with equal ferocity.
Mind you, in America they’d call this whistling Dixie: a lost cause. But I happen to love lost causes as much as I love Dixie, the old South and Robert E. Lee. For my 82nd birthday, I sat under a beech tree next to my hostess Lara Livanos and had a wine that Bruce Anderson would lose two stone for, and then some. My expectant daughter and my hostess were on either side and I got very, very tipsy. Then I sat next to a beautiful Italian lady of great breeding and style and flirted outrageously almost until dawn. We discovered a picture of Harvey Weinstein and me taken before the scandal, and my little girl had the bright idea of turning it into a place card. No one got the joke, and one woman, who shall remain nameless, even asked me if he was my son. That had to be the final straw. My boy is extremely good-looking, something old Harvey is not. To be asked such a question on one’s birthday, sitting under the stars on a beautiful night, is a bit like waking up from a wonderful dream about living in a feudal society and remembering the world we’re living in. Not a happy start to the day.