I’ve been wondering how people like Tony Blair, Michael Howard and assorted busybodies would react if some concentration-camp guard sued Ken Livingstone for comparing him to a British journalist. I don’t think there are any German ones around, but surely there are gulag concentration-camp guards still alive and kicking, and most of them are proud of their profession. Go for it, Boris (I mean the guard, not the sainted one); perhaps the Court of Human Rights will hear your case.
Mind you, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. The whole thing has become so absurd; political correctness has forced intellectual dishonesty on otherwise reasonable people. Can you imagine anyone asking Red Ken (who actually started the rot with his opposition to Zola Budd) to say sorry to a pestering tabloid hack even ten years ago? That an appointed Standards Board would go around bullying elected officials? That freedom of speech would be curtailed in the country where it flourished 15 years after the collapse of communism? Or that the Board of Deputies of British Jews would refer this absurd incident to the SBE? That claiming anti-Semitism would replace crying wolf?
On the other side of the pond, where PC lynch mobs are always on the lookout for any sucker for free speech, Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard University, is in deep shit for expressing a few truths. I do not feel sorry for Summers, however, because he’s been criss-crossing the country apologising for having told it like it is. It’s people like him who allowed political correctness to take over the campuses in the land of the depraved in the first place, so now the chickens have come home to roost, as they say in Dixie.
Summers, who is Jewish, said that there are fewer whites playing professional basketball than blacks, fewer Jews farming than Protestants, and fewer Catholics practising investment banking than other religions. Oh, yes, and that women were less able than men at maths and the sciences. All true, of course, but the coward is running around begging people to forgive him. I wonder in which circle of Hell Dante would dump those who abase themselves before us for having told the truth. Mind you, we like that. Nothing like saying sorry. The great Duke, John Wayne, called it a sign of weakness, but those were the good old days. Nowadays, it’s automatic. Feminist, homosexual, environmental and animal-rights lobbies attack and counter-attack in brain-dead back-and-forth fashion no matter how true a statement anyone makes.
But enough of this depressing subject. This is supposed to be high life, after all. After 40 years of martial arts, karate and judo, plus ten years of boxing and wrestling, I’m in plaster with a broken left hand and slight concussion incurred not in the field of honour but in a bar. It was very late, and I was listening to a piano player while sitting on a high stool in the Palace Hotel lobby. I was very, very drunk, but when I’m drunk I’m peaceful and love my fellow man. And woman. Apparently, a man trying to peel his wife off the piano pushed me and I fell over. I was told afterwards that I hit my head on the brass bar where people rest their feet, and was out for 45 seconds. When I came to, I rejoined my friends and continued to booze. That was not smart, but I had no idea I’d been knocked out. The next morning, the mother of my children took one look at me and rushed me to the doctor. He set my hand, which had a compound fracture, told me to stay in bed for a while, and now everything is hunky dory.
Well, not quite everything. When a supposedly tough guy goes down like a sack of potatoes, rumours do tend to start. I hear I fought someone over his wife for one hour outside the hotel, and was finally knocked out. (One hour non-stop? That’s comic-book stuff. A real fight takes fewer than 30 seconds. Fighters either get knocked down, or they quit. C’est tout). My supposed rival did ring me to apologise — for the rumours — and I assured him that there was no love lost between us. Still, people are calling me daily to commiserate. What is troubling is not the loss of face, but my inability to fall gracefully even when legless. This is the fourth time I’ve been concussed — once in karate, once in boxing, and now twice while pissed. Nothing to be proud of, I know, but the last thing I’m going to do is apologise to my head or to my hand. Maybe Sue, Grabbit and Run could issue a writ. In the ridiculous times we’re living, I wouldn’t be surprised.