If Trump is removed soon, as by rights he should be, he’ll earn eternal glory in some quarters as a martyr, and attract a regiment of followers even after his death. The same fate will probably befall Farage, Johnson and all our own (UK) loonies if Brexit doesn’t go through. The familiar myths about great dead rulers who are merely sleeping in their caves waiting to lead their peoples back to glory when the Call comes will re-emerge: Frederick II, King Arthur, Owen Glendwyr, Margaret Thatcher in her mountain fastness outside Grantham, and of course Jesus. Trump’s refuge, I imagine, will be his ‘Tower’.
That’s the danger in killing off popular heroes. Their failures and even deaths are no bar to their spiritual potency thereafter, especially if it’s reckoned that they were cut off in their primes, perhaps through treachery: the post-World War I ‘stab in the back’, or Geoffrey Howe’s turning on Thatcher, or Judas Iscariot. The effect on politics can be poisonous. So perhaps we should wait a little while before getting rid of Trump and the others, until they’ve thoroughly disgraced themselves. Though how much more it would take to discredit the Donald is difficult to imagine. Perhaps putting children into cages might finally do it?
I’m off back to our Swedish island tomorrow, and for most of the summer. Years ago if you went abroad you could cut yourself off from all the nonsense back home. (I remember saying to friends on a flight back from Austria in the late 1960s that Britain could have had a revolution while we were away. It turned out she had. Martin Peters had been transferred from West Ham to Spurs.) Today there’s no chance of that, with the internet and smartphones, and Swedish TV employing a special London correspondent to mock our imbecilities. There’s no escape. But there should be plenty of sun, sea, a relatively sane and polite politics, and meatballs; which might take my mind off Trump and Brexit for a while.