Bernie Sanders likes private jets. That, at least, is the malicious word being put about by Hillary Clinton’s former aides this week, just days after Sanders announced that he is again running for president.
Sanders, you’ll recall, lost a vicious fight against Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the first half of 2016. Yet in the weeks leading up to the November election, he held 39 rallies in 13 different states that were pro-Hillary and anti-Trump.
A woman dressed as a nun is standing outside the London Palladium with a placard, warning about ‘an evening with a religious extremist’. She refers to Jacob Rees-Mogg, who sold all 2,300 seats at the venue in a fortnight — a feat that enraged his critics all the more.
The nun eventually found a loudspeaker to address Spectator subscribers, who waved cheerfully as they filed in to the theatre. This stage has played host to entertainers like Bruce Forsyth, Marvin Gaye, Tommy Steele and Jimmy Tarbuck — and now, the backbench MP for North East Somerset, offering an evening of political discussion.
‘The whole aim of practical politics,’ wrote H.L. Mencken, ‘is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.’ Newspapers, politicians and pressure groups have been moving smoothly for decades from one forecast apocalypse to another (nuclear power, acid rain, the ozone layer, mad cow disease, nanotechnology, genetically modified crops, the millennium bug…) without waiting to be proved right or wrong.
The only certainty in the Brexit process is that there is no certainty. Brexiteers had long sought solace in the fact that, by law, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29 March with or without a deal. But it’s now clear that this is not necessarily the case — or even likely. As we have seen this week, Theresa May is not in control of her party any more than Jeremy Corbyn is in control of his.
It is cold, dank and muddy and I’m contemplating a barely defined path from the paved road into an ever-darkening wood. I should have brought a torch, but I didn’t, and before the light fades completely I need to find the ‘idyllic’ woodland burial ground I have shortlisted as a possible resting place for my late husband’s ashes; and also, when the time comes, for my own.
When I get there, the site is glorious: on a slope, on the edge of a real forest — the sort of place the woodland-obsessed Germans probably have a special word for.
Britain, we’re led to be believe, is heading for the worst catastrophe in its history. Officialdom is warning that a no-deal Brexit would mean trucks backed up for miles at Dover, chaos at airports, a special poverty fund to cope with the fallout and — horror! — a shortage of Guinness. So apparently the country that saw off Hitler, the Kaiser, Napoleon and the Spanish Armada is now paralysed with fear at the very thought of leaving the EU.
By day, I’m a mild-mannered book-world hanger-on; by night, I roar through the streets of Gotham in my heavily armed Batmobile, soar above it on the outstretched wings of my cape, and swoop down to bash multiple armed thugs into unconsciousness with a crunching series of ‘Fear Takedowns’. No, I know. When you write it down like that, my enthusiasm for Batman: Arkham Knight doesn’t sound very grown-up at all.
For most Latin Americans, who are themselves no strangers to sporting eccentricity, cricket remains a baffling proposition. The game is dismissed as being far too English (for that read ‘bizarre and snobbish’) and is often confused with croquet. Ignorance, however, does not preclude peculiar theories on how the game is played. I remember a Uruguayan diplomat attempting to explain the rules to a colleague who had recently arrived in London.