A frank exchange of views

One of the things I really enjoy about the Club, aside from the excellent food and extensive wine cellar, is that one never knows who is going to be there and which way conversations will go. There is such a variety of views that discussions are never boring, and can at times become quite heated. However, there is one thing that unites almost all of the members, and that is our concern over the terrible state our country is in at the moment. What we cannot agree on is the cause of the problem and how to fix it.

Quite a few of the chaps, and I include myself in this, are getting just a little impatient with the government over the whole Brexit thing. I will be the first to admit that I am not always the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to politics and finance, but even I can see that things aren’t going so well. The media is constantly referring to it as a divorce, which I suppose in a way it is, with both sides fighting over the family silver. My worry is that whilst the Union chappies seem fairly united in their approach, we are still fighting amongst ourselves over what we want to get out of the process. We can all see that despite what the Prime Minister says there is very little unanimity even in her own government.

What some of the chaps are saying is that they are more worried about the uncertainty and bickering than they are about Brexit itself. Like any divorce, each side wants to get the best it can for itself. Even the most amicable of separations will inevitably result in some conflict of interests; not that I have much experience of this kind of thing. What most people seem to want is certainty. I know one or two of my friends have business interests in the City and they are the ones most concerned about all the dithering and in-fighting. Apparently, the uncertainty about what is going to happen after Brexit is having an impact on investments and trade. I suppose I am in the same boat having investments of my own in City properties. Which reminds me that I really must talk to Aunt Murdock about this when I see her next.

There is still some disagreement amongst the chaps about how best to go about the Brexit negotiations. On one hand, there are those who want Mrs May to take a very firm stand and refuse any kind of compromise. On the other, and these are mainly the same people who supported the remain argument, there are those who want us to take what they refer to as a more pragmatic and open approach. I am not entirely sure which will be best for the country, but I suspect that it is somewhere in the middle. Even I know that there is never going to be a deal that satisfies the demands of both sides completely so we will have to accept some form of compromise. I am sure the debate will rumble on at the bar and, if the past week is anything to go by, it will only get more heated.

It is not just at the Club that the subject of Brexit rears it’s ugly head from time to time. Dorothy and Angela have been very vociferous in their support of remaining in the EU and are still very angry at the result. Angela has even spoken about getting herself a German passport. It seems that her mother’s family are from Germany so she can claim dual nationality if she wishes. I know that a number of people have done this recently, but to me, it seems a little futile unless one is actually planning to move there. I am not sure Dorothy would be too happy about that, but I am not going to interfere with their relationship or plans. What Dorothy has said on more than one occasion is that she is embarrassed by the whole thing. She has a lot of foreign friends and says that they can’t understand why we would want to leave the European club. I have tried to explain about sovereignty and the British standing in the world, but for some reason, she just can’t seem to understand it. I know that some people have implied it is some form of nostalgia for the days of the old Empire, but, at least as far as I am concerned, it isn’t that. It is just about being in control of our own destiny and our own laws. We should not be dictated to by other people. The rules and regulations we have to accept from Brussels are scandalous. For me, it is all about being able to decide things for ourselves. No one likes to be dictated to by outsiders who don’t understand our history or our customs. The French, Spanish and Germans have all tried to defeat us in war and failed; we can’t let them succeed by the back door.

Another subject that seems to have been creating something of a buzz at the bar this week is that of the Prime Minister’s position. I didn’t follow the events of the Party conferences – far too boring and narcissistic for my liking, all that self-congratulation and pompous self-righteousness does nothing for me – but those who do were very critical of Mrs May’s performance and the way she has been treated by the Party. I have to admit to having a great deal of respect for Mrs May, but even I am beginning to think that maybe she isn’t up to the job of leading us through our current troubles. Not that there seems to be a great deal of choice for replacement at the moment. With the Party so divided over Europe I don’t honestly think that there is anyone else capable of uniting all sides, and as far as I am concerned, unity is far more important than anything else right now.

There is only one subject at the moment that seems to have almost unanimous agreement with the chaps at the bar, and that is our mutual distrust of the American President, Donald Trump. Whilst he may be successful as a businessman – and there seems to be a little disagreement even over that – as a politician and diplomat he is very much out of his depth. The man seems to have absolutely no idea of how the world actually works. Several of the regulars at the Club have financial interests in the aircraft industry and are very angry over Trump’s recent announcements over the imposition of tariffs on Bombardier aircraft. One gets the feeling that he makes these announcements without thinking them through first. I certainly get the feeling that he doesn’t discuss things with his staff before taking to social media to make is pronouncements. I suppose that he is used to having complete control of his businesses and can’t seem to grasp the idea that his decisions have to me about more than just making money. America is not a business, it is a country, and it cannot be run in quite the same way. Having said that, Americans can be a little odd that way, putting financial gain ahead of everything else. I have said it before, they are a nation with no history and no idea of social etiquette. It is unfortunate that they have so much power and influence or we could just ignore them and let them get on with playing their silly games.

Mind you, we do have to be careful when discussing the Americans, and their President in particular, if my old chum Dorchester is around. Apparently, his American girlfriend is a Trump supporter (a Trump-et!) and he is very defensive of her views. According to Annabelle, the President can do no wrong. She fully supports his positions on immigration, North Korea and protecting American businesses. And whilst I can sort of see her point and some of his decisions, I cannot support her misguided view that Donald Trump is the saviour of the western world. The man’s a fruitcake I would hesitate to leave in control of a Sunday School, let alone a country.

Changing the subject completely, I had a call yesterday from Hope about some event or other she is holding at her gallery in a couple of weeks time. Apparently, it is one of those evenings when new artists get to display their work and she has asked me to go along. Of course, I have accepted the invitation, but I am not sure it is really my kind of thing. I have seen some of the work she has on display and it is all far too modern for me. My taste is more conservative I suppose, but she has been kind enough to ask me, so I will definitely have to go. I had thought of inviting Dorothy to join me, but she will be in Edinburgh by then.

 

4th July, not in very good taste

Normally on a Tuesday evening I would make my way to the Club for a social drink or two, maybe even play a game of snooker. But yesterday I was persuaded by a small group of close friends to join them in visiting a rather new and apparently very good drinking establishment a little up river. Being the obliging chap, I am I agreed to what I thought would be a jolly evening.

Well, what they neglected to tell me was that the establishment in question is an American themed bar which, it being the 4th July, was rather busy with a mixture of real and would-be Americans celebrating their “Independence Day”.

I know that Americans tend to make a lot of this particular anniversary, but I think the whole thing is in rather bad taste, particularly when it is being celebrated here in England. I mean, we are supposed to have a special relationship, are supposed to be friends, yet they insist on making a big song and dance about the day they broke away from us, over 200 years ago.

It’s not as if they had it bad. Far from it! They were enjoying the fruits of British ingenuity, commerce and science, and they threw it all away, all over the price of tea! And for what benefit? In no time they were reduced to being cowboys (nothing much has changed there).

The trouble with the Americans is they think they are better than everyone else. Well, let me tell you, they are definitely not. Yes, they are a big country, and undoubtedly a powerful one these days, but they owe everything to us.

One thing the Americans will never have is class. For them, money is everything. They like to think it isn’t, that there is more to their social structure, but really there isn’t. The acquisition of wealth has become the goal, and the route to power. Without money, you are nothing. If you have money, you have social standing, without it, you don’t. Thankfully that does not apply here; breeding is breeding, whether you have wealth behind you or not.

Just look at the way they revere our Royal family and the way they are continually searching for links to our great families. They have no history of their own so are trying to steal ours. Whilst they play at being republicans, in reality they are jealous of our monarchy. They could learn a lot from those pesky French who have at least embraced republicanism with real enthusiasm.

nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runnersNot that all Americans are bad, just so long as they recognise, and stick to, their place. And that’s where I have problems with their current President. On the one hand, you have to admire the way he has built his fortune. He is a single minded and ruthless businessman who seems to own most of the states. But on the other hand, he is an ignorant oaf and a bully. I can’t be doing with bullies; I had enough of them during my school days and can’t stand to see it in leading public figures like Trump. He is brutish, disrespectful and has no idea how to treat a lady. He epitomises all that is worst with modern America.

For me, last night became something of a chore. And to think that Dorchester is seeing an American at the moment. I wonder if they spent the evening in a similar bar celebrating with other former colonials. I think I should pay more attention to the date in future when they chaps suggest a night up river.