I doubt if I’ll be blogging much over the next month – everything is too depressing politically, especially vis-à-vis the Labour Party here and the Republicans over the pond, and I can think of no new historical parallels to draw. (I see that as the main purpose of this blog.) The obvious one – the 1930s – has already been flogged to death. Likewise jihadism and terrorism in the past; though it’s worth mentioning the atmospheric new BBC serialisation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, which brings many of the historical resonances out. (I’ve written about the real anarchist plot it was based on: see my Origins of the Vigilant State.)
It’s difficult to think of a precedent for Boris Johnson, in British history at any rate. I’ve seen Caligula’s horse suggested, but I have to admit that Bojo seemed quite sensible, even diplomatic, in his contributions to his joint press conference as our new Foreign Minister with Secretary of State John Kerry this afternoon. That was even when journalists brought up his past insults to Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton, which he met with his by now trademark flaffing about. He was obviously pleased with himself for getting through it without any obvious pratfalls. You could see him grinning inanely as Kerry spoke. Someone should tell him to stop that. It brings memories of the old clown back.
We’re off to seek refuge from all this, in a better past – the Bloomsbury Group’s house in Sussex; and a saner place – the Stockholm Archipelago. Any new posts over the next four weeks will be few and far between, and probably about Sweden. I can’t wait to get there. My application for citizenship has been acknowledged, so I may have to be careful in what I write. (If Migrationsverket is reading this, I promise I’ll be really, really loyal.)