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A view from the Chair: No Laughing Matter

A view from the Chair: No Laughing Matter

Posted 31-01-2017

Being a student of world affairs, albeit somewhere towards the bottom of the remedial class, I am intrigued by recent developments.

I like to think I have a sense of humour, although it is usually described as ranging between infantile and schoolboy, and one of my many heroes is Richard Curtis-although I hate him to bits for being so talented and wish I had said some of the things he has said-although of course I will pass them off as my own when no one else is looking.

In Curtis’s Love Actually the opening voiceover takes place in an airport arrivals terminal, and talks of the love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones. Yet tonight I watch news clips from airports showing family members unable to be with each other due to paranoia regarding their origin and religion.

Elsewhere in the film there is a lecherous US president (fancy writing such tosh Mr Curtis) who represents an overbearing administration who would seem to be putting ‘America First’ (Oscar Wilde of course opined that ‘life imitates art far more than art imitates Life’. He was a wise old bugger). The Prime Minister, played engagingly by Hugh Grant, states “I fear that this has become a bad relationship. A relationship based on the President taking exactly what he wants and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to  Britain.” He goes on to say “a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward, I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.”

Yet in our world it is the EU, not America, that is warned by our PM that a deal “that did not reward Britain would not be the act of a friend.” Perhaps the scripts became mixed up. At the time of writing, the National Institute of Economic & Social Research has estimated that our volume of goods and services could be £197 billion lower in the long term outside of the EU, even with favourable agreements elsewhere. What’s that horrible phrase the Yanks use? Oh yeah ‘do the math’.

I don’t have the intellect to understand philosophers, although as much of what they say is drivel I should be an expert,  but Nietzsche said  ‘We must learn to love, learn to be kind, and this from our earliest youth … Likewise, hatred must be learned and nurtured, if one wishes to become a proficient hater’.

It seems to me that a bit more study time on the former, and a lot less on the latter, should be on our global curriculum.

 

Clive.galbraith@greeninsurance.co.uk

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