The world of politics is in turmoil. People all over the globe are waiting with tremulous anxiety the accession of Donald Trump into the White House on January 20. Nor is this anxiety alleviated by the names of some of the people Trump is naming for his presidential team.
The odd one is Mitt Romney, who was a Republican opponent of Trump’s during the presidential campaign.
Romney, during that battle, accused Trump of being a fraud and a fake. But now, astonishingly, all appears to be sweetness and light between the two men, with Trump thus demonstrating how thick-skinned he is.
Romney appears to be a contender for the most important White House job below the President, that of Secretary of State.
He is a harsh critic of Russia, so we can expect some sparks if Trump does appoint him. Meanwhile, over here, the EU Remainers will just not let up. They are exploiting every trick in the book to demonstrate the invalidity of the referendum on June 23.
If they think that now, why did they agree to take part in it? These people, including a fair number of Tories, are going to provide Theresa May with a painful headache in the months to come.
• Amid all the current political turmoil, there is one bright sign which will cheer thousands of British drivers who have spent hours fuming and cursing in motorway snarl-ups: The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, in his Autumn statement this week, is expected to announce a £1.3 billion-plus boost for Britain’s crowded road network.
This will be great news for drivers who have long regarded themselves as mere cash cows at the mercy of grasping local authorities and taxmen. This money should go some way to cutting down the frustrating hours spent in slow motion, or even stationary, on Britain’s motorways. Hammond is also expected to hint at a reduction in VAT.
However, there may also be a crackdown on some middle-class perks, such as health care, mobile phone contracts and the like.
• Donald Trump is right to demand an apology from the cast of a Broadway play who, at the end of the performance, made some disobliging comments about a member of the audience, the vice-president elect, Mike Pence. Pence walked out during the rant, but heard all of it.
People do not pay good money to go to the theatre to be at the receiving end of gratuitous political lectures from “virtuous” actors and it is a gross discourtesy and quite wrong that actors should pass critical remarks on the very people who are paying their wages.
On this side of The Pond, the so-called self-righteous actor Benedict Cumberbatch is also guilty of this disgraceful behaviour. After playing Hamlet, he appealed to the audience, a captive audience, to drop money in the buckets, in the foyer on their way out, to aid migrants.
Cumberbatch probably thought he was doing the right and humane thing. In fact he was grossly taking advantage of a situation to satisfy his own political views.
• There has been outcry of protest about the decision to spend £369 million on preventing Buckingham Palace from falling to bits. We should not allow our old and traditionally unique buildings to fall into disrepair. We enjoy a monarchy and Buckingham Palace is the focus of that. We cannot allow that to be thrown away.
Even staunch Republican John McDonnell agrees this work should go ahead. Every penny spent on this great symbol of British freedom will be well spent. None of it should be begrudged.