Thirty-five years or so ago, William Buckley received an unexpected telephone call from one John Lennon. Intrigued, Bill listened while the John Lennon himself — with his Japanese wife blabbering away in the background — pleaded with him for help in remaining in the Land of the Free. Lennon had had a drug bust in his past, and some eagle-eyed Yankee immigration officer wanted him deported. The reason Bill was rung up by the Beatle was that Bill’s younger brother James was the junior senator from New York.
Now I’m not sure about the dates, or even what happened, and all I know is that Bill referred Lennon to the right place and left it at that. The Vietnam war was raging at the time, Buckley was in favour of it, as was I, and Lennon was getting a lot of cheap publicity by staging naked bed-ins with his wife. Still, Bill tried to help. He shoulda stood in bed. Lennon, as we all know, was permitted to remain in the United States long enough to be gunned down by a madman in 1980. Talk about no good deed going unpunished. Had Lennon been deported, he’d most likely still be with us (heroin addicts live to a ripe old age), Yoko would be writing books exposing his wicked ways, and the Dakota would not be considered a shrine; what it really is is an apartment building for trendy lefties who champion tolerance and diversity as long as poor blacks and Hispanics use the servants’ entrance.
Which brings me to the latest bureaucratic outrage, or, better yet, the permanent spirit of inquisition against anything to do with Thatcherism. As far as I know, people are denied access to the Home of the Brave if they are white, if they do not possess a prison record, and if they are rich. Oh yes, and if they are a European of the Christian persuasion. Sir Mark seems to have not three, but four strikes against him. He does, of course, pose a danger to the republic by not applying for welfare, considered a subversive act by those who now run most government programs in the Land of the Depraved. Mind you, as far as I’m concerned, the only thing that Sir Mark did wrong was to fail to overthrow that sonofabitch Theodore or whatever his name is in Equatorial Guinea.
Theodore, no relation to Theodoracopulos, is not only a murdering psychopath, he’s also one of the richest men in the world thanks to the oil recently discovered in his miserable country. While his subjects literally starve to death, he pours his millions into Swiss and American accounts, no embarrassing questions asked by anyone. US anti-terror laws restrict visas for foreigners with criminal convictions, particularly if they have links to terrorist activities, although each case is assessed on an individual basis. Now I ask you, dear Speccie readers, if you were assessing a link to terrorist activity, who would you say is the terrorist. Theodore or Thatcher? One has murdered, maimed and starved his people in order to fill his foreign bank accounts, the other got involved in a scheme to get rid of the tyrant with a gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Talk about each case being assessed on an individual basis.
A little birdie tells me this has a lot to do with racism, the reverse kind. The fact that Mark’s wife is American does not come in to play. She is, after all, a white Texan, a red rag in the eyes of the politically correct.
Personally, I am safe. My three-month stint in Pentonville ensures that I can always get a visa in any American consulate. Not so for the rest of you who haven’t done bird. In a perfect world, the Brit whose visa should have been refused is none other than Damien Hirst, a man who is to art what Dylan Thomas was to sobriety. His Big Bagel show has just opened to vomit all around, which is how art success is measured nowadays. Hirst’s art is a much bigger con than his idol Andy Warhol’s is. His latest endeavours are all about photorealism, or the lack of it, rather. Uncreative and ghoulish, ‘they hang there like corpses’, as someone correctly commented.
A hedge-fund billionaire, Stephen Cohen, recently bought Hirst’s famous formaldehyde shark for more than 8 million greenbacks. Cohen is obviously someone who understands stocks but not art. Cohen’s philistinism and vulgarity has made Hirst a star over on these shores. Poor shark. It doesn’t have Swiss or Riggs Bank accounts, otherwise Hirst would not have been allowed in. Saatchi should commission a formaldehyde Theodore from Hirst. It would sell for even more than the fish.