BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
My wife revels in telling others the tale of how, a few years ago, we were driving towards the city from the countryside and got caught up in a traffic jam in the Caracas suburbs. How we crept forward at a snail’s pace in an endless line of vehicles – most with horns beeping while blaring out loud merengue on their stereos. How we found ourselves in front of an apartment block with a ladder resting against it on which a window-cleaner was perched, wiping away at window glass. And how I could not help myself but ogle this svelte figure in Lycra leggings and cropped top; long hair shimmering in the afternoon sunshine dropping down onto a derrière to die for. “Ah, Venezuela,” I sighed. How my wife stridently berated me for ogling yet another Venezuelan beauty. Then how, suddenly, the window-cleaner turned around to reveal a bearded chin, hairy chest and a face not dissimilar to David Blunkett’s. How my wife laughed and has not stopped laughing, at my expense, ever since.
I recall the days I used to recoil at the tweets of Otto English, who remoaned louder than all, whose mindless progressive promulgation and nonsensical jibes were enough to make even the coolest of men crush their computer mouse in their bare hand out of sheer anger. Before discovering that Otto is possibly the finest agent provocateur around today; the son of a fine Second World War soldier. Mr English used to run the amusing Jake Rees-Mogg spoof Twitter account and is a decent fellow behind the furious façade; sharing a common abhorrence of many anti-social reprobates such as the more extreme Lunakips and those pathetic Revolutionary Communists of Frank Furedi. Dare I say, we share a lot of common stamping grounds.
I recall thinking how rude my great school friend Charles was being at a party some years ago by not greeting me with his usual warmth and gusto. How he sat alone in the corner of the room drinking fizzy water whilst glued to his mobile phone. How upset I was when I reminded him of our great adventures together when we engineered spontaneous diversions to cross-country runs in the most noble pursuit of ale. He seemed to just blank me at that party as if I was no longer there. I was upset with him for many long weeks until I was told by Charles’ sister, during a chance meeting at a London railway station, that he’d had a breakdown, started hearing voices in his head and how doctors had diagnosed him as schizophrenic. (Since then we have become much closer friends, he has discovered new and wonderful talents – is a genius composer – and flourishes when he remembers to take his medication).
Back in my think-tanking days I interviewed Islamists, who – and I told them to their faces – I hoped to be struck down by lightning. How our conversations extended into multiple coffees then long meals. They were not mad like their violent namesakes. How we built up long-lasting friendships in spite of our permanent lack of agreement on issues of faith, politics and freedom.
My point is that – especially at this time of year – we should all admit to ourselves that, to varying degrees, we are all somewhat gay, we are all somewhat moaning, we are all somewhat mentally ill and we are all somewhat bigoted.
Which is why Prime Minister Theresa May’s Christmas call for unity in 2017 is most opportune.
For we really can achieve much greater things working together in 2017 – by recognising our common ground with a sense of humility. In knowing that we are all flawed entities thrust together on an imperfect planet where sometimes teamwork is the most viable path to opportunity.
The enemies of 2017 are, as ever, the enemies of Freedom. They are already pretty obvious: the Islamist crazies, the likes of Impress and their attempts to take away our UK free press, the extremist and restrictive EUSSR brigade, the anti-British SNP deflecting from their dire government of Scotland while seeking to break up the Union and undermine a UK Brexit deal with Europe, the disruptive Trotskyite transport union staff and members spurred on by McDonnell – and all other threats to Order and Freedom in our land and the rest of the Free World.
Instead of just arguing and concluding battles with mere invective, perhaps now we should bite our lips and think of those useful enemies as frenemies?
To the Remoaners – an olive branch for past gloating and a humble call to assist in negotiating the best deal for inevitable Brexit. To those peaceful Islamists – a call to shape up and modernise; to drop the politics and puerile, see-through entryist strategies and unite against the life-disrespecting cancer now killing Islam. To the deluded Corbynistas and Trotskyites – a link to that enlightened former Marxist Thomas Sowell.
And to those good wives – more regular and heartfelt apologies for being flawed members of man-kind.