December 1st

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

A civil war in Ethiopia is getting messy. The country’s military have taken the capital of Tigray region – Mekelle, which is in the far north of the country. The region was seeking independence from the government of Ethiopia – led by the Tigray’s People Liberation Front (TPLF). The fighting has lasted all of November. 40,000 citizens fled to nearby Sudan.

A year ago, twenty-two people died in New Zealand when the Whakaari volcano erupted on White Island. The dead were on the island as tourists. Thirteen entities have now been charged with a variety of offences in relation to these events. Included in the charges are government agencies, tour companies and boat hire companies.

Dogs can be great companions, until you trip over their legs or get whacked in the face by a passing tail. Joe Biden (aka as Joebama) did exactly that and fractured his foot. Now we have two lame Presidents at the same time.

The alien cash machine found in the Utah desert – a monolith like tall and smooth metal structure – has disappeared just as suddenly as it appeared. It is suspected to have been moved by the aliens from Beeblebrox, who popped onto earth to see how the new Trump reality show was going. So disappointed with the script and the actors, they took their cash machine and left. “This is the worst s**t show we have ever seen since we saw the 2018 Dog and Pony Show  movie with Mira Sorvino and her husband Christopher Backus”, said one of the visitors.

Trump’s narcissistic delusional state continues. In a rant on Fox news, witnessed by a hapless (“I have given up on my job”) former journalist, Maria Bartiromo, who did nothing to stop, challenge or dismiss the lies he told over the course of an hour. It was left to Fox news host Eric Shawn, helped by Axios’s Hans Nichols,  to take the nonsense apart a few hours later. No one called in the paramedics, which is what he now needs along with a massive dose of Lexapro. The President now disdains Fox News – they generally do not support his assertions anymore – and prefers Newsmax, which does. His hope of taking his “claims” to the US Supreme Court are fading as it becomes clear that not only does he not have a coherent legal case, he also does not have any evidence of voter fraud. What he does have is Rudi Giuliani, a second hand tube of hair dye, a compliant bunch of malcontents known as the GOP and some 70 million supporters who believe anything he says. The rest of us enjoy watching him lose the same election twice (three times in the case of Georgia).

Wales will have another lock-down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A 6pm curfew for pubs and restaurants will begin on December 4th. All indoor entertainments – cinemas, bingo, skating rinks, amusement halls – will be closed. Also closing – museums, art galleries, heritage sites and sporting venues. The R number for Wales is now 1.4 and rising. Alberta’s R number (Nov 22) was 1.12 and rising. Ideally the R number should be below 1 and closer to .5. Alberta has almost no serious restrictions.

The UK high street department store, Debenhams, is to close. I worked with the CEO Belinda Earl and Board for eighteen months readying it for a sale to Baroness Retail Ltd in 2003 – they paid £1.7 billion.  Belinda went on to be CEO of Jaeger – her son Ben is now an England international rugby player. Wonderful people and nice stores. 12,000 people will lose their jobs and the UK high street takes another hit.

The virus is a big Trump fan. Given that he has no interest in seeking to stem the spread, flatten the curve or in saving the lives of Americans, COVID can run wild across all age groups and kill people. Over a million new cases and 2,000 deaths a week is helped by the government strategy – “do your best” also known as “thoughts and prayers”.  We will soon begin to see the impact of Thanksgiving. One immediate impact is that Scott Atlas, the non-expert expert advisor, has resigned from his role as Trump spokesperson of how to spread the virus.

December 2nd

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

A senior Trump advisor says that her boss can “see the writing on the wall”. It says “I Will Be Divorcing You” and is signed Melania. Underneath Rudi Giuliani has written “I would be happy to represent you in this matter, unless I am debarred for being ridiculous and looking like a Zombie”.

In fact, Rudi Giuliani is seeking a pardon from Donald Trump. In part this is because of his hair malfunction and his appearance in the Borat Subsequent Movie, but also because of his business dealings with Ukraine, Russia and with dictators around the world. Trump is hesitating – he didn’t like the running hair dye stunt – but is likely to give in and pardon Rudi and his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Both Lev and Igor have pleaded not guilty to campaign finance offences (funnelling Russian money into the 2016 and 2020 campaigns) and conspiracy as well as lying to the FBI. Trump also looks like pardoning his children, Jared Kushner, the neighbour’s dog and a tortoise he once saw as a child. The Justice Department is investigating the tortoise, accusing it of using a bribe to seek a pardon.

Trump’s fighting fund has raised $170 million. Donors think the funds are for fighting fraud and the rigged election, but in fact the funds are for Trump’s PAC and can be used for anything the PAC wants to spend it on. Some of it will go to a pointless, symbolic legal challenge to the certification of the vote in Wisconsin. But most of it will be used for post-Presidential activities, like hair transplants and his personal legal battles.

Bill Barr, the US Attorney General, was found to be telling the truth and it sent the right wing media into shock – not used to a senior Trump person speaking truth to power. He said that there was no evidence or legal basis for the claim that the 2020 election was rigged, full of fraud or marred by illegal voting. Lou Dobbs on Fox and Greg Kelley on Newsmax ripped into Barr suggesting that he was now “part of the deep state” and had joined the “radical left”. Someone is not taking their meds.

In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu (71), busy trying to avoid a corruption trial due to start in January and still at odds with his Defence Minister, Benny Gantz over his budget and his methods of governance. Gantz is due to replace Netanyahu, but suspects that the “serial promise-breaker” will not honour the deal. A fourth election in in less than twenty-four months may be called.

Meatless meat is available everywhere, but it is now joined by lab grown chicken. Singapore has approved the “chicken” grown from cells in a bioreactor. The key question for Vegan’s and serious non-meat eaters is: “is it meat?”. It has not been killed, has never walked or eaten corn and is, like a carrot, just a collection of cells. Worldwide, 130 million chickens are killed every day for the food supply chain.

Britain’s high street news gets gloomier every day. Womenswear chain Bonmarche is in bankruptcy talks for the second time in less than a year. It could close 250 stores and lay off 1,500 people. Many pubs, hotels and restaurants will not make it into 2021.

The Utah alien cash machine that people thought was a monolith has suddenly reappeared, this time in Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt in northern Romania. The aliens obviously sense that they can have more fun in Batca than Utah.

Prince Harry, living in California, asks “what if each of us was a raindrop?”. Seems he’s caught LaLa-19 (aka as Woke Talk).

A body builder in Kazakhstan has married a sex doll after the doll underwent some plastic surgery. They have been dating for eighteen months and such a marriage is legal in Kazakhstan. He is not the first man to marry a sex doll. A man in China did so in 2016. Even more amazing,  a woman in Japan divorced her husband after discovering his ongoing “affair” with his sex doll. You can’t make this stuff up.

President Trump is the Enemy of the People

It is difficult to imagine a situation this bizarre. A sitting President of the United States, in the face a massive defeat in a general election, denies reality and prefers instead to believe in conspiracy theories and bizarre claims. Surrounded by sycophants and deplorables, he is defrauding a great many people who contribute to his defense fund and PAC ($170 million so far) and who believe his preposterous nonsense. Close to seventy-million Americans believe the falsehoods and nonsense which the President repeats day in and day out and tweets about all the time.

This despite the fact that he knows, at least at one level, that his days in the White House are numbered. This is why is preparing pardons for over twenty people, including his immediate family and the father of Jared Kushner, who Chris Christie put in jail.

This is why some of his key staff are distancing from him – Attorney General Bill Barr is one and his Director of Communications, Alyssa Farah is another (she has resigned). This is why he has lost over thirty five court challenges and won just one.  This is why it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will take up the issue – there is no legal argument and not any evidence of widespread fraud, corruption or conspiracy.

One of the more bizarre claims, debunked by the US Army, is that US marines were killed trying to “capture” servers located in Germany being used to change election results been counted on Dominion security machines. There is not a shred of truth to this, but Trump keeps repeating it.

His claims of massive voter fraud – claims he also made in 2016 – have not been supported by a shred of evidence, as determined by both State and Federal courts. So pathetic is the legal argument and evidence being advanced by Rudi Giuliani that other members of the New York bar association are petitioning for his removal from the bar on the grounds that he has lied before the courts and continues to pursue lawsuits that are frivolous and brings the profession into disrepute.

The silence of Trump’s enablers – especially members of Congress – is deafening. Their claim that the President has a right to pursue legal avenues is not untrue, but insufficient to command their complicit silence. Some have accepted that democracy works and that the election was free and fair. Others are waiting for the Electoral College to meet and certify the election on December 14th before they accept that it is “game over” for President Trump. The fact that he lost by over 7 million votes and that the result in key swing states has been certified should be enough to recognize the Biden-Harris win.

Some republicans have suggested that Trump should not allow the College to meet. Instead they propose  suspending the constitution, declaring Martial Law and the election of November 3rd (presumably including Senators and members of congress) to be null and void. Elections, under new rules, could be help under military supervision in 2-3 years’ time. This is short hand for a coup. Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Scott O’Grady (Trump’s nominee for a senior Pentagon position), L Lin Wood, Sidney Powell and some others are behind this nonsense.

Trump has threatened to boycott the inauguration and hold an alternative rally at the same time on January 20th. He is also intending to persist, even after Biden is sworn in, in his claim that he is the legitimate President of the United States and that he won the election by a “landslide”. It will be interesting to see whether this will lead to more than political conflict, with life-threatening street violence more than a possibility. His supporters seem to believe he has been “chosen” to lead them and that he can say anything and they will take it as “gospel”.

More likely, it will provide the basis for the ongoing political narrative and fund-raising efforts Trump will engage in after he vacates the White House. Some of his family intend to run for office and Trump himself is suggesting a run in 2024 for the Presidency, though many doubt that he will do so. Jared Kushner is looking to bankroll a media empire for his father in laws use, likely involving social media, radio and television.

It’s a mess. But within this mess there is some good news. The election had a very high participation rate, was well conducted (all election processes can be improved) and secure. The courts proved their independence, asking for a clear and coherent legal argument (they did not get one) and substantial evidence (there was none). Journalists, with the odd exception (Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Limbaugh are nor journalists they are echo chamber noise makers) did their job – with even Fox News accepting that Biden is the President elect.

Some think that “things will sort themselves out” once Biden takes office. They will not. The key is control of the Senate. If this remains Republican or 50:50 then the Biden-Harris agenda – even some of the nominees for key positions – may be in trouble. The US remains politically, racially and intellectually divided. It is sad to see, but reflects the key underlying challenge: truth versus fake news. Fake news, especially when promulgated by the President of the United States, is the enemy of the people.

December 6th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening….

Brexit trade talks are being endangered by the French. They are asking for their money back, following their take-over of the UK in 1066 and the subsequent loss of Britain to rule to a bunch of Brits, Dutch and then Germans. They express this indirectly in terms of fishing quotas and competition rules. President Macron has threatened to veto any deal if he doesn’t like it at a big gathering of the EU on Thursday 10th December. Tick tock.

At the same time that he is claiming election fraud and conspiracy on behalf of his client, the President of the United States, Rudi Giuliani is negotiating with his client for a pardon “before he leaves office in January 2021”. Does anyone else notice that he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth? The fact that the Donald is looking to pardon everyone in his family and many others involved in the Presidency (up to twenty two people on the pardon list), also speaks to the double-speak. He knows the game is up. Tick tock.

General Michael Flynn, freshly pardoned despite admitting twice to lying to  the FBI, is recommending that Trump suspend the US constitution, declare all of the results of the November 3rd election null and void, invoke Martial Law and run a fresh election sometime in the next 2-3 years supervised by the US military. This is the same man who Trump initially entrusted US national security. Sounds like beer talk from the Putin dacha.

In a bizarre 46’ rant, which he claimed was the most important speech of his Presidency, Donald J Trump (the J is for jackass) recycled ridiculous claims about fraud and corruption in the 2020 election and asked the Supreme Court to step in. He repeated a similar rant – but took two hours to do so – at a rally in Georgia. This despite his own Attorney General saying that the election was free, fair and without evidence of fraud or significant problems. Trumps aim is not to prove he won the election, but to disrupt the Biden-Harris agenda and delegitimize the democrats. Men in white coats time (again).

A couple have been arrested following a flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii. Both knew when they boarded the United Airlines flight that they had tested positive for C-19 and had been advised that they were unable to fly. They have been charged with reckless endangerment. New US cases now top 200,000 a day with over 3,000 deaths a day. This is before the full impact of the Thanksgiving super-spreader events begin to have an impact. Over 3.7 million boarded flights in a single week to travel across the US despite being asked to “stay at home”. Mask wearing is still seen to be a political issue.

An Australian family living in the Coromandel Valley not far from Adelaide have already had a memorable Christmas. Their plastic Xmas tree, which they have had for a number of years, was full of baubles, angels and a single Koala. The fury creature had strolled into the house and made itself comfortable in the tree while the family were out. Now “rescued”, the Koala enjoyed its brief visit and managed to watch two new episodes of Neighbours.

Adolf Hitler Uunona has won a seat in the Namibia parliament. His friends just call him Adolf and say he is no Führer. We’ll see.

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (94), former President of France 1974-1981, has died. He was a young 48 when he took office and cut a dashing figure on the world stage, despite his aristocratic airs and graces. He established the G7 and saw globalization and the need for international collaboration long before others joined him. He also created what we now call the IMF. An inspiration, especially to a young Cardiff student with an interest in philosophy, politics and economics. RIP.

Vulcan, one of the Queen’s Dorgi’s (a Dachshund – Pembroke Welsh Corgi cross), has died and will be buried in the grounds of Windsor Castle. She now has one remaining dog – Candy – and several howlers, notably Prince Andrew.

December 10th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening….

After four and a bit years no real progress has been made on the EU’s understanding of the construct “sovereignty”. Talks to secure a trade deal with the UK seem doomed and must in any case be concluded by Sunday. A no deal looks certain. The EU’s failure to understand the British desire for sovereign control of fishing, industry, land and law is at the heart of the challenge here. Ironically, the France-Germany axis sees sovereignty very clearly, unless it relates to somewhere else – Britain, Greece, Italy for example. Unless the EU shifts gear the UK will suffer dramatic economic impacts. Some think this is just what the EU wants – punishment for daring to challenge and leave.

In his new reality TV show “I Am Bitter and Twisted”, Donald J Trump (the J is for “juvenile”) is developing new plot lines. The latest is that he will leave the White House with a full military guard, board a helicopter and hold a rally at the exact same moment Joe Biden is being sworn in as the 46th President of the USA. Trump will use the rally to formally announce his candidacy for 2024 Presidential race. Doing so will not only undermine Joe Biden but also the GOP – a party already destroyed by his demands for fielty. As King Don (not to be confused with Con Don or condom) he will besmirch anyone who stands against him, including other republicans, lawyers or news media. He will seek syndication of his Bitter and Twisted show and become more and more extreme as his delusional state gets worse. While most President’s on leaving office build a Presidential library, Trump is seeking to build an alternative universe.

Rudi Giuliani, who singlehandedly shut down the Arizona legislature by meeting and greeting its members while infected with C-19, is surviving in hospital. After fifty lawsuits have failed in the courts, he was pleased to get even one positive result. He must have been shocked onto a ventilator by the Supreme Court’s denial of the request to overturn the results in Pennsylvania – a harbinger of things to come. On Monday, the electoral college will certify Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Giuliani has vowed to fight on, hoping to get his $20,000 a day fee.

Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, has filed a nonsensical political document with the US Supreme Court seeking to overturn the democratic elections in a number of States – Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He has been joined in this balderdash bunkum by a seventeen other Republican States. Paxton is under criminal investigation in Texas for bribery and corruption and has already been indicted on a securities fraud charge, it is more likely that this is a grace and favour submission aimed at securing a pardon. The Supreme Court took just thirty-four minutes to deny the Pennsylvania appeal. This may take even less time.

Elon Musk, who is moving his Tesla factory from California to Texas, has been a busy boy. His Space-X company just secured $900 million from the US government to deliver broadband by satellite to rural US communities – just stick an antennae on the roof and you have super-fast broadband. However, one of his spacecraft launched from the Texas base took off, did a planned turn, and came down to land but crashed and exploded on landing – a fuel system problem. The rocket is a prototype of the spaceship he is building to send Trump to Mars, where he will feel at home – he already occupies another planet in his mind.

Alberta’s Premier, having dallied and dithered like a spoiled child in sweet shop, imposed new tough restrictions on movement and activities in an attempt to push down case numbers and free some capacity in our near to broken hospital system. Grinch Kenney, who stole Xmas because of his ineptness, blamed everyone except himself and his Health Minister for the situation. He could have taken this same action six weeks ago and saved lives. We are now confined to barracks and can only line-up to shop, even for food. Like with oil and gas, Kenney placed a bet and it backfired and delivered the opposite of his promise. His incompetence knows no bounds.

Flying on an aircraft from China? Know that the crew have new safety guidelines related to C-19 which they are being asked to follow. The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) “is recommended that cabin crew members wear disposable diapers and avoid using the lavatories barring special circumstances to avoid infection risks.” That’s what the smell is!

December 12th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening….

Canada’s border with the US was due to open on December 21st, but given the stark reality on the ground – 1.5 million new cases a week and 3,000 deaths a day in the US – it is certain that the border will remain closed until at least the end of January 2021. The outgoing US administration is largely silent about the pandemicdespite the US experiencing 16 million confirmed cases and 300,000 dead, showing that the GOP is not at all interested in leadership, more in “what’s in it for me?”.

Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong publisher and businessman, has been charged under the national security laws with endangering China through collusion with foreign interests. Beijing is determined to have a show trial to enforce its view of the world, even though the law in use here breaches international law and treaties.

The US Supreme Court dismissed the “big Kraken” Texas lawsuit aimed at overturning the November 3rd election. While shenanigans and malarky will continue, Trump as President is done and dusted – the fat lady has sung. Now some in Texas are talking secession – leaving the Union, which it is entitled to do at any time. Perhaps our Wexit enthusiasts who seek to separate Western Canada from the rest of the country could help with this nonsensical idea. The pure farce of all this is amazing to watch, but also dangerous. The next steps could involve violence and insurrection.

Melania is packing and has enrolled Barron in a school in Florida, starting in January. Ivanka and Jared have purchased a plot of land on Creek Island in Miami, also known as the Billionaire’s Bunker. Not far away will be Jared’s younger brother (and Biden supporter) Joshua and his smart wife Karlie Kloss – their mansion is just up the street. Melania, Donald and Barron will be 70 miles away at Mar-a-Lago in Florida where Melania is busy remodelling the Trump residences. They are clearly not expecting to be called back to serve another four years in Washington.

Boris came to Brussels and went home – no-deal Brexit is now the de facto reality for businesses in Europe and the UK. It is the case that something could happen between now and December 31st, but even the EU President, Ursula von der Leyen, thinks no deal is more likely. The Royal Navy is assigning four armed 80-metre gunboats to protect the British fishing fleet from 1st January. A real Eton Mess. President Macron wants his fish, the German’s want a level playing field and Boris wants sovereignty. The French can’t forget Agincourt.

Both Disney and Warner Brothers have decided that streaming movies rather than cinema launches is what they need to be doing. While they will show movies in cinemas, they are giving customers a choice: home or risk infection. The “big screen experience” with surround sound and vibrating seats could become a rare treat in fewer locations at a very high price. We can expect new products to make the home experience even better, like popcorn that doesn’t taste like it is forty years old.

Joe Kennedy III (40), the grandnephew of President Kennedy and the last member of the family to be serving in Congress, has given his last speech in the House and will leave office on January 3rd.  He ran for the Senate and lost. He has been a member of congress since 2012.

Dame Barbara Windsor, Carry On film blonde and East Ender’s star and a very smart lady, has died. She was 83 and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. My cousin, Dominic Leclerc, directed a docudrama  (Babs) about her life that was shown on the BBC in 2017 and again this week. A good film, it is well worth watching. (Dominic does great work – Call the Midwife, The Syndicate, Silent Witness, The A Word, From Darkness).

The Next Pope

Pope Francis is 83 and healthy, despite only having one fully functioning lung. He shows no sign of stepping down, despite rumours that he considered doing so earlier this year. Speculation about his successor is, however, the talk of the Vatican watchers.

Four leading candidates – papabile – are most often the subject of these speculations. Leading at this time is Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines. He is sixty three and has moved quickly to occupy some prominent positions in the church since his ordination in 1982 and receiving his red hat in 2012. He is Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He was also promoted to the highest order of Cardinal earlier this year – he is a Cardinal-Bishop.

Close behind in the betting odds is the Canadian Cardinal Mark Armand Ouellet (76). Born in Quebec, ordained in 1968, he became a theologian and Professor, teaching and working in Rome. In 2002 Pope Saint John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, making him a Cardinal in the following year – he served seven years in this role. He then returned to Rome as Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops. He is also a Cardinal-Bishop.

Alongside Ouellet in terms of bets placed (yes, you can bet on who will be the next Pope) is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana – he was front runner as recently as 2019. At 72 he is amongst the more experienced Cardinals. He was ordained in 1975 and was made Cardinal by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2003 as Archbishop of Cape Coast. Benedict XVI appointed him President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and later asked him to head up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which establishes the teaching of the Church. Pope Francis in 2017 named Turkson as Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development – the Church’s Ministry focused on migrants, refugees and the most vulnerable. Turkson was widely thought to be the runner up in the 2013 conclave that elected Francis.

The final leading candidate to succeed Francis is the 75 year old Cardinal Christoph Graf von Schönborn of Austria. He was ordained in 1970 and was a former student of Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI. Named Archbishop of Vienna in 1995 and made Cardinal in 1998 by Pope Saint John Paul II. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019 but has recovered. He intends to leave his Archbishop role now that he has reached retirement age once Pope Francis names his successor. A liberal who seeks to open up the church, he is unlikely to be seen as being a leading candidate.

Others are sometime mentioned – Archbishop Scola of Italy (80) and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley (76) of Boston, United States – but much depends on when Francis steps down or vacates the office through other causes. Given recent conclaves, the election of Cardinal Tagle looks most likely. The biggest barrier is his age – he is very young and could serve as Pope for over thirty years. Voting for Tagle means that all sitting in the conclave are passing up their own opportunity to replace him.

December 15th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Canada, UK and US are starting to vaccinate the elderly and front-line workers against C-19. We can expect some will react in ways that surprise us all, but this is par for the course. The first English man vaccinated was William Shakespeare (81) – clearly a lead candidate. Commenting on the experience he said “it were now’t”. He complained about a “crap lunch in the hospital café” and about the fact that “parking around here is a bloody nightmare”. He hasn’t lost his way with words.

Anti-vaxxers are having a field-day. Some claim that the vaccines all contain microchips so that Bill Gates can track people’s movements (easier to do with the cell phones this nonsense is being spread on) or that “no one knows what’s in these vaccines” (pretty weird coming from people who have been eating chicken nuggets and hot dogs for most of their lives) are circulating already.  Claims that these vaccines can give you socialism and can lead to people liking Barry Manilow are likely to be circulating next. The next pandemic is the pandemic of misinformation coupled with rank stupidity.

Brexit talks, due to end last Sunday, have been extended. Some progress appears to have been made on the issue of there being a formal mechanism for the UK to adopt EU standards and laws in perpetuity – the EU has dropped this idea in exchange for an understanding about competition rules. The sticking points remain fishing (the French want 80% of UK fish and we want 100% of the chips, but we’re willing to share the mushy peas) and how breaches of the rules will be dealt with (the idea of Britain being excluded from the Eurovision Song Contest if they break the rules has been rejected on the grounds that we usually come in the bottom three anyway).

Borish Johnson offered a remarkable six minute speech to the UN climate change “Ambition Summit” (sic). He suggested that, for him, climate change was not a matter of “hair shirt wearing, tree hugging, mung-bean munching (though I am told that mung beans are quite delicious) activities” but that climate change responses are a sound economic proposition.  His was the most interesting (if a little wild) presentation, alongside that from Pope Francis and a creative speech from President Xi Jinping. Trump was, of course, a no show.

On Monday, the US electoral college – 538 wise persons – did the job they were appointed to do and declared Joe Biden to be the 46th President of the United States. One of the electors, just to add some irony, is Hilary Clinton representing New York. What Donald J Trump cannot get over is that he lost the popular vote (again) and, in doing so, lost it in key states in favour of Sleepy Joe (he lost some of the key states more than once, given the recounts). He is still hoping that when congress meets on January 6th to confirm the results of the Electoral College vote, they will reject it and confirm him in a second term. This is about as likely as Prince Andrew winning an Oscar and Nobel Prize in the same year or Tyler Perry being named the world’s best actor.

AS Biden was confirmed, Bill Barr resigned as US Attorney General clearly no longer able to support the folderal nonsensical and vacuous legal claims and nonsense spouted by the President, Vice President and many others who persist in claiming the election was stolen from the GOP. Good riddance to a former Trump enabler.

Anthony Joshua (31)  is a world champion boxer and British. On Saturday he beat Kubrat Pulev (39) in nine rounds to retain four world heavyweight boxing titles – the IBF,WBA,WBO and IBO. There is just one more available – the WBC title – and that is now held by the mercurial Tyson Fury (32). This match-up, which could be worth as much as $350 million, would be a legendary all British fight.

John Le Carré (89), amongst the greatest writers of our age, has died. The master of the spy novel – dark, dangerous and ingenious – his books were full of insight, anger and  resentments. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Night Manager also made outstanding television. His books were in my hands as soon as they appeared – a must read writer (there are a few of these – Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George (aka J K Rowling) being others). He made a real mark on both literature, television and culture. RIP.

December 24th Christmas Eve

Want a pardon? Call 1-800-DJTRUMP. Forty six pardons issued in the first two groups with talk of more to come. Want a larger payout from the stimulus package? Call 1-800-DJTRUMP. Want to pay a visit to the Supreme Court? Call 1-800-DJTRUMP or his hair stylist and lawyer Rudi Giuliani – a new claim about the election is on the docket. With less than a month to go, more wild and crazy guy stuff can be expected. The last big show will be on January 6th where DJT is expecting to be confirmed for four more years as President by Congress when they are asked to overturn the results of a free and fair election. Want to know what will happen? Call 1-800-BIDEN.

C-19 (version 2) is causing chaos in the UK and Europe. Thousands of truck drivers were stuck on the M20 for days waiting for France to find a way to let them in. Britain is moving to a version of full lock-down given the even faster spread of C-19v2 than C-19v1.  Some movement is occurring, but this was another “cock-up on the management front” by Borish and his team of Neanderthal Ministers.

Brexit is done! Deck the halls with lots of lolly! Well, that is what it looks like – an announcement and a 2,000 page document is to be shared at any moment once they have finished filleting the fish. No one has a clue what the deal is and what it means for supply chains, tariffs, fishing, car manufacture, labour mobility and so on. But it’s done.

Not done is a budget in Israel. The government has, yet again, collapsed and a fourth election in less than two years is now underway. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial will be the parallel entertainment in the new year. Meantime, Israel is now in its third lockdown of 2020.

A sixty-nine year old passenger who lied about his health died on a flight from Orlando to Los Angeles from COVID-19. A Taiwan EVA Airways pilot (born in New Zealand) also lied about his condition, having flown in and out of the US and caught COVID while doing so. Taiwan has not had a C-19 case since April and now does, thanks to this COVIDIOT. The pilot was fired and the airline fined T$1 million (app. $35,500US). The pilot’s partner now has C-19. Let’s understand: C-19 kills people (1.733 million so far worldwide) and is harmful with some experiencing permanent health consequences.

Apparently, it is Christmas. Do enjoy a quiet moment and find a way to connect and show compassion. As Ellen DeGeneres used to say “be kind to one another” (she had to stop saying it after she was asked to fire several of her co-executive producers who were being nasty to others). Stay well friends. Give everyone close to you a virtual hug.