Here come the global elites. They love it here. Their spiritual second home. The heat, the rosé, the food, the service, the quaint and deserted villages. One way and another I get to meet some of them. Catriona manages holiday villas and those renters she likes she asks up to our place for a drink.
The day Boris resigned a couple of these elite social-equity fanatics floated up to the house speechless with ecstasy. Post-Trump, Boris was their Satan, prince of lies. Now he’d resigned. Or as good as, if princes of lies can ever be believed. One last heave and they’d done it. Got the bastard out.
Thankfully, a former deputy chief whip had got falling-down drunk and touched someone’s bottom in the Carlton Club. Someone had complained to someone else. Doubtless a raving bottom man himself, Boris was slow to censure. Conservative MPs resigned in droves. We saw the letters that they wrote published in the newspaper.
The true test of artificial intelligence, said Alan Turing, lies in whether humans can distinguish a robot from a human. These resignation letters signalled that the country was being run by unsophisticated early prototypes, but robots nevertheless. And someone enjoying a fantastic work-life balance in Silicon Valley had pressed the master default mass-resignation-letter switch. Now four of these triumphs of artificial intelligence are being paraded in front of us like the Google stand at an AI trade fair and we must pick one of them to replace the human, all-too-human Boris.
Did anyone else note how effortlessly Boris strode the world stage at that G7 meeting in Germany? Dominated it? Made them all heartily laugh as this lovable, potentially great Englishman took his seat at the table and suggested they took off all their clothes? Even President Macron was laughed into awe, forgiveness and relief at the ebullient form of Europe’s torpedo number one. Little did we guess that within a fortnight someone would touch someone else’s bottom in the Carlton Club and the Rejoiners and Revengers would skittle him out on the strength of it. And Sir Max would be claiming in his Times column that he’d been on the phone to Sir Michael to see if there was any chance at all of him changing the Conservative party rules and taking up the reins from the ‘flat-Earthers’ who dominate the rank and file of the party.
Wouldn’t that be marvellous for we flat- Earthers? If Sir Michael did as requested and proved the Earth to be even flatter than we thought? Alas Sir Max was gently teasing, I fear.
But articulating thoughts such as these marks me out with anyone who’s anyone as a cretin beyond reach that shouldn’t be allowed the vote and should have his passport taken away. So after a bit of general chitchat – hot enough for you? What would you like to drink? How’s your father? – these elite people, veteran English actors based in LA, could contain their joy not a moment longer. It was like sitting with two evangelical Christians, recently baptised in the Holy Spirit and overflowing with love, who turn to you and blurt out, in an awed voice, apropos of nothing: ‘Isn’t God great?’
Hitler shooting himself in the bunker couldn’t have had a greater effect on polite conversation. They were exalted, beatified and could think of nothing else. It was one of the greatest days of their lives. How they hated, hated that unbelievably mendacious clown. And now he was gone. Or going. It was like a weight being lifted from their shoulders. Light after darkness. Sunshine after rain.
Had we seen the latest Jonathan Pie video? No? Oh, please! It’s fantastic! Let us show you. The chap got it up on his smart phone. A man standing on the green in front of parliament pretending to be a rolling-news presenter and giving a four-minute, foul-mouthed, spittle-flecked rant against the person of Boris, articulating the blackest, angriest thoughts of all those nice people who oppose Boris and all he stands for.
The recent elections showed once again that this part of Provence is solid Le Pen. As a near-native I felt as culturally far away from this Johnson-hating diatribe as an early 19th-century Zulu child hearing the Gospel preached from the back of an ox wagon by one of the first white missionaries. We watched it all. I think they were waiting for me to give a sign that the power of God’s love had touched even one so poor and lowly as I. They laughed, kindly encouragement in their laughter. Just open your mouth, Jeremy, and the good Lord will do the rest.
I kept my mouth closed and my heart hardened. I think they were perhaps a little disillusioned. But as they were professional actors, you wouldn’t have noticed.
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