The Rattled West


I am not a fan of Donald Trump. It has been evident for years now that he is immature, narcissistic and obsessed by power, which is of course why his foreign policy has been such a great success. It takes one to know one and the autocracies of China, Iran, North Korea, etc  certainly met their match in him.

Accordingly when the Don lost the Presidential election everyone with any interest in politics knew he was never going to go quietly . So why does the, albeit brief, occupation of Capitol Hill by various weirdoes produce such a western world widespread outpouring of horror and revulsion from our politicians and mainstream media?  Why, even the remaining national newspaper I subscribe to, the Telegraph devoted the first seven pages of its Friday edition to the event. I think this massive fluttering of feathers is the realisation by politicians and their media aiders and abetters that their daily hold over the public that put them in their hen houses always hangs by a thread and when that thread occasionally breaks they get very nervous indeed.  I find that rather comforting.

Of course the Chinese administration must be having a huge laugh over the West’s hand-wringing. When Hong Kong citizens stormed and occupied their own Parliament there was much delight and encouragement from Capitol Hill, Westminster and our commentariat.  Sadly, we have given President Xi the chance to argue double standards.

And now attempts are being made to tie the Capitol Hill kerfuffle to the West’s handling of Covid19. In another article in the same Telegraph edition, a normally highly competent commentator (I won’t name him for fear of his embarrassment) highlights the advantages of the Chinese way of doing things. I quote:

 “We don’t yet know precisely why a gun-wielding mob was allowed to invade the inner sanctum of Congressional democracy…..It nevertheless seemed symbolic of the state of decadent disrepair into which Western democracy has descended”.

He goes onto say that Western democracies have failed to get a grip on Covid, being unduly beholden to  “whingeing popular concerns such as not being able to go to the pub and reluctance to wear face masks”.  He goes onto recite the story that at the height of the 2008 financial crises the Chinese vice premier said to the US Treasury Secretary you were my teacher, but we aren’t sure we should be learning from you anymore.  He concludes his article with “We once hoped we could teach the Chinese to become more like us. But who are the teachers now??”

This is hogwash on so many levels. At the micro end there is no evidence at all that pubs spread Covid. There is also no evidence at all that the way the public wear masks makes a tangible difference. Indeed even where masks are worn properly, meaning in hospitals, those self-same hospitals are in themselves major Covid spreaders. And as for lockdowns, we know they have been singularly ineffective to date.

As for the Chinese ethos, I see in the last 24 hours the Chinese press reports:

“Study shows that in the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of Uygur women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no longer baby-making machines. They are more confident and independent”.


Of course it is cathartic to have an attack of the vapours over a man in a furry-horned headdress with a tattooed torso running around the US legislature, especially in the hysterical times we currently live in, but surely the time has come to calm down dear? It is not the end of civilisation as we know it.

The City Grump has spent some 40 years in the City of London. He started as a stockbroker’s analyst but after some years he decided he was too grumpy to continue with the sell side of things so he moved to the buy side and became a fund manager for the next 20 years, selling his own business in the 1990s. Post the millennium, he found himself in turn chairing a stockbroker, a financial PR company, and an Exchange. He still keeps his hand in, chairing a brace of VCTs and investing personally in start-ups. The City Grump’s publications are available here.