As an 81-year old I’ve never known a bunch of leading politicians as sheerly incompetent, corrupt and stupid, even laughably so, as our present British lot; and as a historian I’ve never read of one – at any rate since the days of the Roman Emperor Caligula. Caligula is supposed to have made his horse a senator; the modern-day equivalent of that is probably David Cameron’s elevation of the lingerie-entrepreneur Michelle Mone – ‘Baroness Bra’ – to the House of Lords. And just look at the rest of them: Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove… pantomime villains and clowns all of them. All we need now is a cross-dressing ‘Dame’, and they could open in time for Christmas at the New Theatre Hull.
Just recently I’ve been writing the Autobiography that I thought I never would; making it into a kind of chronicle of the last eighty years as they appeared to my kind, so that it won’t only be about boring old me. I’ve written three chapters so far, taking me up to 1968; but with decreasing enthusiasm. So I’m taking a rest from it now to prepare for our Swedish Christmas; and then for a genuine Christmas dinner a couple of days afterwards.
One of the things that make life bearable here for Anglos at Christmas is ‘Taylor and Jones’ British butchers in Hantverkargatan, Stockholm, where we’ll be getting our turkey and all the trimmings. Every Swede I’ve talked to admits that he or she prefers our Christmas dinners to the Swedish herring and cold ham. So why don’t they take it on? Or would that be ‘cultural appropriation’; or submitting to British ‘informal imperialism’?
Anyway: plenty of snow here to make it look Christmassy. Temperatures down to minus 20. We’ll be returning to Blighty on January 10th; to meet ‘our’ Ukrainian family and get them settled in to life in Hull. I wonder if they’ll take to fish and chips and Rugby League? But if they don’t, a Ukrainian restaurant has just opened up locally. There seems in fact to be plenty of support for them in Hull. Expect further reports in this blog on this whole new experience; for the Ukrainans of course, but also for us.
Until then: Веселого Різдва. (I think.)