Finders and Keepers

Nine years ago: before all of the glorious frustration that is compromise, or love

Finders and Keepers

My wife and I were married on October 10th, 2008, so we have just made it to nine years together. They have been the happiest nine years of my life, but my wife still hankers after the single life sometimes.

All love is defined by compromise and all of the things that make us think about giving up love are defined by selfishness. I am a keeper and my wife is a finder. Of all of the challenges to living together, this tiny niggle is the one that most stimulates my instinct for selfishness. You may now choose to raise your nose in my direction, mount your high horse and proceed at a gallop to your ivory tower but we all have moments in any relationship when the misery of the present completely obliterates the joy of the past and any hope of a better future seems at best distant and at worst impossible.

For me, this happens every time that I try to find something in our house. I’m a keeper. Keepers find a routine and keep to it. If I have to put something away, I find a place to put it and I always put it in that place, so that I or anyone else who wants to find the thing that I have put away knows where to find it instantly. This is my interpretation of kindness, consideration and compromise. If you want to use something, remember where you found it and put it back there so that anyone can find it. You don’t have to go to the trouble of learning about me and guessing where I might want to keep it. The object is in its place. The place never changes.

My wife is a finder. She enjoys the quest and believes that it has a purpose in and of itself. She likes to get inside the mind of the person who puts something away and delve into the recesses of her imagination to construct her own model of his or her mind. She builds a picture of the use to which an object might have been put and then inserts the user into that picture to unearth likely places where she might find the object of her desire. The quest becomes a surrogate for a shopping trip that would be more expensive and probably not nearly so meaningful. It reveals other hidden treasures that have gone unnoticed for ages because the person (mentioning no names) who used them did not put them back where they belong. Sometimes she picks up these things from places where I have put them and takes them further on her quest, leaving them hidden in a new place that she quickly forgets. She experiences the joy of new discoveries and she learns more about my habits. The entire searching process becomes a cohesive symbol of love because it is defined by compromise and it forces compromise from me, the next time I want to find a treasure that she has “discovered” and put in another place.

Her argument for finding is the same as my argument for keeping. My system allows two relative strangers to rub along in harmonious separation. Hers allows two people who love each other to clash regularly and find out a little bit more about each other.

All of you who spend long hours neurotically tidying so that you can have a perfect, ordered and fulfilling life are welcome to put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The one thing that really makes me simultaneously depressed and relieved is that my son is following in his mother’s footsteps and not mine.

Happy anniversary to us and long may the frustration continue.



Clean Sweep: Update on Progress

October 3rdrd, 2017:

I started this book in 2007, but it became three books. The first book in the trilogy to be published is the last: “Footprints in the Cheese”. “Clean Sweep” is the first in the trilogy. I started writnig it as a single book last spring but I’ve reached a roadblock on the plot. I made the mistake of starting the story without really knowing where it was going. It has finally stalled at about page 140.

An idea will come but while I am waiting for it to present itself, I am going get on with writing my fifth book, “Fear the timid Man”, for which I have a great plot with a beginning, an ending and a middle. That will probably be ready before Christmas 217.

Most of my ideas creep up on me quietly while I am expending intellectual effort on something else so while I am writing novel number five and waiting for Nature to take her course. I am sure that the details this novel, which is number four but will actually be number five, will eventually reveal themselves and I hope that you get as big a kick out of what my mind constructs while I am not looking as I do.

All of this will sound fairly chaotic to anyone who has never tried to write a book but perfectly normal to all of those who have. Inspiration comes of its own will and in its own time and knows no spur, but when it eventually comes, it knows no bounds.

Sometimes, writing books is the art of remaining strapped into a stationary rollercoaster until long after everyone else has gone home; sometimes, as with my fifth novel, which is actually my fourth, it is the art of climbing over the carriages of a moving rollercoaster to reach the front so that I can see where it is taking me before things get out of hand. At the moment, I’m scrambling over the second carriage just as the front lunges over the brink of the big dipper. Who knew that making black marks on a page could be such fun?

Nothing is bigger than the little things

My family are not with me as I write this. They are in Taipei for the weekend, visiting my wife’s parents. I woke up this morning to silence. I usually wake up to the sound of my seven-year-old son’s voice asking me questions about the nature of black holes or stars, the best design for a paper aeroplane, the biggest ever example of his chosen animal of the day or the possibility of getting chocolate or a lolly that day. It’s a little thing, but when it is not there, nothing is bigger.

My wife and I both spend a lot of our time at home because this is the also the place where we work. Do I miss her presence? Of course I do, but that is a big thing. What I most miss is her sudden laughter when she finds an amusing piece of news or a post on Facebook that takes her fancy. I don’t miss her laughter. She laughs a lot. I miss the specific type of laugh that erupts into the silence of the house like a promise of sunshine. When something goes away, it is gone, but when a promise goes away, the hope that it inspires vanishes. I miss the hope that I will learn something new about her when she tells me the story that made her laugh.

I have to renew the brake pads on my car today. It is an easy job that is complicated only by the oppressive heat that refuses to dissipate because our earth is simmering. I would never allow my son to come too near the dangerous dust that brake pads shed when they are removed so I won’t miss his presence, but I will miss turning around and seeing him perched cat-like at the window, observing everything and preparing a litany of intricately crafted questions that would make me instantly regret that I did not allow him to help me, because explaining the process would take longer than the process itself.

The big things really don’t matter. They are tiny in the great scheme of things. The little things are the threads that sew the big things together. They mostly go unseen, but without them, there is no way to associate the big events with each other and make sense of life. Being a sufficiently good parent is an aspiration that I never expect to fulfil but I can aspire to appreciating what I have, because despite having quite a lot, what I really have is a lot of very little and I am grateful for that.

It has been a long two-and-a-half months of enforced silence and constant gnawing fear for my family’s safety and my own. I have found a way to translate my very real fear and anger into something that is much more significant because it is smaller. I have a new book on the go, which is called “Fear the timid Man”. It is a little thing, but it is not quite as little as the littlest elements of my life. Size really does matter, but not in the way that you might expect.

The Break that broke

Regular readers have been asking about the silence and why all of the articles about China and Han society have been removed. I have recently had intense experience of the worst side of thisn society. I thought that I had seen it all but life has a way of surprising us just when we thought we had it taped.

There has been extremely aggressive online bullying that I am assured could not have come from anywhere other than an official source within the Middle Kingdom. I have agreed to remove all references to this society and I have agreed not to share this short post on Facebook. The site host’s data reveals that here are regular visits to this site from several untraceable sources within China. I have been warned that this will continue to be the case and that I need to behave myself and preserve “harmony”. I have also been warned that ever going to any part of China, including Hong Kong, would be a “regrettable” decision on my part.

I have one word of warning for anyone who chooses to go against the Han machine armed with nothing but the truth: unless you are willing to give up everything for that truth, don’t bother.

From now on, I have reluctantly agreed with my watchers that this site will include no reference to any negative aspects of Chinese or Taiwanese society.

A Christmas Message to Christians in the UK from a bewildered Heathen


Many think their tale to be tragic, but many others, including me, think that they were at least lucky to be welcomed in their own country.

The time of peace and goodwill to all men is upon us for a month or so and while we’re all in a receptive mood, I’d like to take the opportunity to remind you about what actually goes on in your name and in the name of Christian fairness in your own country.

Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, would probably have faired much less well today. Try to imagine the pressure that was on these new parents who could not find a suitable place to look after their child. Three itinerant waifs with no axe to grind came to register in Bethlehem and found only a byre in which to shelter. It’s enough to break the heart of even the most cynical agnostic.

It might be reasonable to assume that we have all learned lessons from this story, which is a pivotal foundation on which our western societies are based, but all the evidence points to the fact that it has not. The Christian countries have taken in a tiny percentage of the refugees from Syria and Africa and the money that has been spent on keeping them out is only a drop in the ocean, compared to the money that will have to be spent on dealing with their frustration at being so cursorily excluded and left to suffer an ignominious fate.

One thing that the Christmas story teaches us is that the moderation of expectations is a key to happiness: a byre is at least a better prospect than a ditch at the side of the road. However, the moderation of expectations is not the responsibility of those seeking to be charitable and that is the situation in which the citizens of UK now find themselves.

The expectations of refugees have been deemed unacceptable by the “Christian” right in almost every western country that holds the Nativity story dear. The expectations of refugee parents who seek nothing more than the opportunity to work for a better life for their children are moderated before they are even considered to be valid. We shun their painfully beseeching demands for our sympathy and charity before we even hear them, perhaps because we know that listening too closely to their supplications for compassion will open the trapdoor that we all use to hide our guilt and we will fall through and become hamstrung by our consciences. The true lesson of the Nativity story is a message that most of us will happily ignore this Christmas, that hardship should inspire charity, not the other way around. We have nothing to fear by giving that which we can afford to give – a simple place of shelter – and everything to lose by not doing so.

Instead, we listen again to the two-thousand-year-old story of victory against all odds and we comfort ourselves that if Mary and Joseph could do it, then all of those who implore us to give them a place at our groaning table will do it too and without our help. Their stories will be all the more compelling because, like Mary and Joseph, they will have succeeded against all odds and solely by dint of their own wit and courage. We will stand with them in their moment of glory and tell them that they should be doubly proud of themselves and of us; that their victory is all theirs because we did them the favour of ignoring them when they asked for succour and shelter.

However, this rubric for national purity is not restricted to refugees. For the past seven years, thousands of UK citizens have also been refused entry simply because they are not deemed wealthy enough to return. Like thousands of other UK citizens who wish to bring their families back to live in the UK, I find myself in the similar situation of being unwanted in the country of my birth. My wife, my son and I all want to go to live in the city where I was born. We are not refugees. We are ordinary citizens who ask nothing more than to be given a chance to take advantage of the superior educational opportunities that the UK will provide for our young son while we make a living doing whatever it takes to give him a good start.

For those of you who think that the xenophobia of this UK government is a new phenomenon, I give you the Border, Citizenship and Immigration act of 2009. This act requires that a UK citizen who wishes to bring a wife and child to live in the UK must have job in the UK that pays £22,400 (about US$28,000 at current rates of exchange) for six months or have £66,000 (US$83,000) in a readily accessible current account for six months, before the spouse can even apply for a visa to live with the family in the UK. Leaving a family to get a job in a foreign country is not the act of a responsible or loving spouse or parent and getting a job in a country while you are not living there is almost impossible, so you either have the money in the bank or you stay put and watch your child’s opportunity for a decent education disappear in a puff of nationalist fervour.

As we all rightly rail against Mr Trump for routing Muslims from his country, please remember that far from preventing just the poor and the needy from entering the country, for the past seven years, the UK government has been preventing those UK citizens who have married abroad and who have even the smallest possibility of not getting a job when they arrive from even joining its society, let alone expelling them. It would seem that even the basic biological instinct to broaden the gene pool is being stifled by the fear of the unknown. While wealthy Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian business people purchase British citizenship for their extended families on the back of business visas, those of us who are citizens are refused a place at the table.

I am in the lucky situation where I will probably be able to save enough money to allow my family to reside in the UK within a few years. This will not be easy. I am not a wealthy businessman. I am a moderately successful English teacher in a developing country where the average annual income is about £15,000 (US$18,000), so I will leave it to your imagination to determine the difficulty of the task of saving four-and-a-half times the annual average income, just so that you can return to the place of your birth with your family.

For the many of you who come from other countries and are reading this, you should know that politicians in other western countries are already considering emulating the British government’s masterful manipulation of a baseless fear of all foreigners, in order to provide an easily managed statistical method to claim credit for decreases in the immigration figures.

Parents with families who have a little money do not break the law and try to get into the country in the back of cattle trucks. They do not want to subject their families to years of court hearings and refused applications for a visa. Those who care about their families’ and children’s wellbeing are simply denied entry and every denied visa is a statistic that the government posts to demonstrate the effectiveness of its policy of keeping out the unwanted. Even those with UK citizenship are now unwelcome in the UK if they choose to bring their foreign spouses.

When I accidentally discovered this act of Parliament a few years ago, I was dumbfounded that a government in any country could get away with this behaviour but the racism that is only now coming to the surface has been quietly nurtured by this government for quite some time.

This Christmas, as you enjoy the company of your family, think for a moment about the thousands of your own citizens for whom this basic happiness is impossible because, like Mary and Joseph, they are not wealthy enough to afford the privilege of living with their loved ones in their own country.







Trump the Linguist

Donald Duck

Donald Duck

Jing Ping Duck

Jing Ping Duck

Vladimir Duck

Vladimir Duck

Hilary Chicken

Hilary Chicken

There is a Chinese saying that a chicken cannot talk to a duck.

However, a duck is free to communicate with other ducks and the chickens in the farmyard have no way of knowing what is being said.

Donald Duck, Vladimir Duck and Jing Ping the Beijing Duck speak the same language, even though they don’t, because they are all narcissistic, insecure males whose only goal is to cling to personal comfort, wealth and power and to hell with the rest of the population. Hilary Rodham Chicken does not speak Duck so the Russian and Chinese Ducks are unlikely to be keen to engage with her and more likely to see her clucking and pecking as some sort of surrender.

Eight years ago, at the start of the Obama administration, this was not a problem. China was a grimy kid who was desperately trying very hard to shake off the childhood memory of not having shoes by buying the most expensive shoes that he could afford. Money was spinning and money-spinning ideas were the rubric of legislation. Russia was also seeing a rise in the middle classes. The newly minted capitalists could be seen enjoying their first holidays in South East Asia and Egypt and the super-rich oligarchs were buying up yachts, soccer teams and overpowered SUV’s like a child buys ice cream. All was well with the capitalist dream of never-ending growth.

Things are considerably different now, of course. China is headed for a future that looks remarkably similar to Japan’s, where the only way out of a deflationary spiral seems to involve raiding the government coffers to keep the population in jobs. The new middle classes have suddenly realised that they are no more than two paycheques from the street and the working classes who continue to scrape by are beginning to wonder if it was all just a dream. Russia has been crippled by the fall in oil prices and an increasingly romantic yearning for the old Soviet times has been widely documented in recent years. The middle classes here are also looking for a way up and out of the uncertainty.

What the Russian and Chinese ducks need are plausible certainties that they can sell to their middle classes. A fellow Duck in the White House might be just the type of lie that they could sell.

Chinese thinking is simple, beyond the imagination of anyone who has not lived for an appreciable amount of time in eastern Asia. It allows no remorse, no inspiration and no pity because it has no grammar that allows the expression of these concepts in a way that is logical.

Unlike European and North American societies, which proclaim themselves to be nominally inspired by liberty, equality, fraternity and the pursuit of happiness, Chinese society is completely and unashamedly driven by fear, greed, the preservation of ignorance through education and the pursuit of the end of the nose. If you consider this comment racist, I am absolutely sure that you have never lived in a Chinese society. Chinese emigrants regularly document their nation’s callous cruelty and coldness in both English and Chinese media. It’s not difficult to find. Go take a look.

Foreigners who live in Han societies look askance at the endless trains of tourists who somehow manage to concoct a personal image of serenity and harmonious tranquillity for which there is no evidence whatsoever. If you are one of those tourists, please leave now, for dreams are important and I do not want to be responsible for smashing them, however delusional those dreams may be.

The Russians and Chinese understand each other very well. Despite sharing a very long border, conflicts between the two nations have rarely escalated beyond the scale of a skirmish. Both are aggressive and while China does not consider the future to be a product of the past because Mandarin Chinese does not allow this type of analysis, the Russians have expertly cajoled their neighbours into alternate eras of peace and instability using nothing more sophisticated than a chess player’s regard for the likely future consequences of his or her actions.

The international court of arbitration recently ruled that the Chinese occupation of the Paracel Island chain of reefs in the South China Sea is unlawful. The predictable Chinese response was to immediately dissociate the present from the past or the future by refuting the right of the rest of the world to have any opinion on this matter. This tactic is perfectly acceptable in Mandarin Chinese, which has no words for yes or no and no way to link the present to the past or the future.

In response to international indignation, Chinese army ducks decided to conduct war games in the area and who did they choose as partners? You’ve guessed it. The Russian Ducks turned up in force. This is rather a convenient scenario for Vladimir Duck, who has very little means of getting his Pacific navy out of port during the winter, because Vladivostok is in cold waters. The Russian navy used to rent Cam Ranh Bay from the Vietnamese during the cold war, but the port of Vladivostok is now its only option. If hostilities increase much past their present frenetic level, an some sort of military agreement that would at least allow Russian ducks to refuel in Chinese nests is inevitable. The cheery on the cake is that President Obama visited Hanoi two months ago to ratify an arms sales agreement that will allow Vietnam access to the same sort of technology that the US sells to less trustworthy Asian nations like Taiwan.

You will now see that the chessboard has recently become somewhat more complicated. While the Russian and Chinese ducks have always understood one another, they have never really been comfortable bedfellows and have avoided any meaningful fraternisation, but with the recent arming of Vietnamese duck-chickens, the spectacular re-opening of the chicken coop at Clark air force base in the Philippines, the sudden three-fold increase in the number of US chickens who are based in Japan, the recent decision by a Taiwanese government that is full of ducks who desperately want to be chickens to significantly increase the budget for the annual arms shopping trip in the US and the deployment of 5,000 marine chickens (which are definitely not to be confused with ducks) to Guam mean that Chinese ducks are feeling pretty threatened. The only other ducks in the neighbourhood come from Russia so needs must when the chicken devil drives. It’s not the ideal solution for the Chinese, but when your language comfortably allows you to dissociate the present from all other times, it is ludicrously easy to believe that any solution is perfect when you have no method of weighing the consequences of your actions.

On the other side of Russia, there is currently a duck infestation in Crimea, which also happens to be an old strategic Cold War naval base that never freezes. The leaders of the British and Swedish armies have both produced analyses that show that some sort of significant military conflict with Russia is inevitable in the next five years. The Norwegian and Finnish armies have never taken their eyes off the ball and continue to operate as if war is an imminent possibility. Last year, Russian attempts to test the integrity of these borders by flooding them with asylum seekers were summarily defied.

The ducks are nervous. Putting a Duck in the White house might be bad for the image of the US in Europe, where the chattering classes have the linguistic tools for analysis readily to hand, but relations with Russian and Chinese ducks might benefit and a particularly nasty fowl fight might be avoided in the western Pacific.

Trump is notoriously politically short-sighted, narcissistic, insecure and loud. He is the perfect duck. He is a duck whom the Moscow duck might waste time trying to manipulate. The Beijing duck will follow the Russian duck’s lead because every future possibility has equal weight in his language. If the Beijing duck visits the US again, a fellow duck is unlikely to let him in by the back door and keep him waiting there for two days while he shows a civilised visitor (the Pope) out the front entrance, as Barack Chicken did. Ruffled feathers will be smoothed and the sound of contented burbling will replace the cacophony of quacking and clucking that is the current soundtrack in the western Pacific.

Above all, money will begin to spin again. Have no fear that it will spin in your direction, though, unless you are one of the super-rich. The money will go to those who know how to keep it for themselves. There will be an arms race because the Russian, Chinese and US ducks know that making guns is a lucrative business that wins votes, because it creates jobs and increases the self-esteem of those who rarely leave their native country. In all three countries, these unworldly individuals are the bedrock of Donald, Vladimir and Beijing Duck’s support base.

Vladimir has taken the Crimea and has reached out to the Beijing duck in his time of need. He has his eyes on becoming another emperor. Jing Ping has taken over the military, crushed the media and now has greater political and social power than Mao Tze Dong ever did. If a duck with a lust for power makes its nest in the Oval office, the Russian and Beijing ducks might sleep a little more soundly and so might we all. If the White House becomes a luxury chicken coop, we had all better watch out.

This is not an analysis that pleases me. I have equal loathing for both candidates for the office of the US president. However, a vain, selfish duck who can speak to ducks in high places and who is unlikely to make noble personal sacrifices that could lead to violent misunderstandings is a less frightening prospect than a chicken with a swagger who wants to rule the farmyard and thinks that ducks should stick to their pond.

By the way; we are now 925 and the link is working fine. Keep writing. I enjoy every mail.




Trump: 1; Grammar: 0

Yobs for the mob: the men of the people, but who are the people?

Yobs for the mob: the men of the people, but who are the people?






I agree with Michael Moore ( Trump is probably going to be the next president of the US. The Brexit vote proved that the electoral system is now seen by many not as a tool for the betterment of society, but as their last chance to knobble the establishment and to hell with the consequences. The world has retreated from itself as reality. Real reality has been replaced by the images that are only a finger flick away from any cell phone user. Reality TV has become the new reality and we have become passive observers of the world around us, as seen on the really small (phone) screen.

I had to laugh when Boris Johnston was hailed as a man of the people by the campaign for Britain to leave the EU. This old Etonian was born into the establishment and has never once seemed to question its undoubted value to himself. He writes for the Daily Telegraph and speaks with an annoying public school snuffling accent. If he is a man of the people, that particular group of people is a very select band of privileged individuals. If you want proof of the sort of social connections that full and unquestioning membership of the establishment brings look no further than his new posting as foreign secretary not long after he had plainly demonstrated a complete inability to take account of the consequences of his actions on the day when the vote was announced. Contrary to the chinless upper class bluster that he demonstrated during the campaign, he was oddly silent before the cameras as he scurried to his car, trying to think about what exactly he was going to do with his “victory”.

The ridiculous notion of Boris as the people’s hero is nothing to the absurdity of Donald Trump announcing himself to be an ordinary guy who enjoys the company of tradesmen when he is not relaxing on a private jet that is almost as large and luxurious as the US presidential flying palace.

I stopped laughing quickly as the sheer preposterousness of what I was witnessing sank in and I realised that Boris and Donald are not the only delusional ones. Their respective nations seem to have fallen for their guff. Analysis of their preposterous notions seems to be cursory or non-existent. There is no little boy asking why the emperor is naked, for our societies long ago seem to have given up on reason, logic and common sense and we now calmly swallow whole everything that we are fed, without taking time to chew or digest it properly. We deserve Donald and Boris and our children are going to look at this time in history and wonder how their parents could be so irresponsible.

Donald will be president because, as Michael Moore rightly states, his people are manically zealous so they will be up at the crack of dawn on polling day, rousting voters from their beds and delivering them to the polling booths, as many of those who are fortunate enough not to need someone else to transport them succumb to intellectual apathy and find some other priority to distract them. The zeal of Trump’s people has little to do with logical reasoning, though, and everything to do with the need for the verification of the mob. They will drag voters out on polling day just so that they do not have to sort out their own muddled thought processes, which allow them to call a bourgeois, exploitative yob a brother in arms, even as the yob loads them all onto a bus that he says that he can drive and then waves to them as he disengages the hand brake, jumps out the window and watches them disappear over the cliff.

People see what they want to see and those people on the bus will swear that Donald was at the helm when they fall under St. Peter’s soberly appraising gaze at the Pearly Gates. They will refuse to believe that Trump is not among them in the afterlife, long after Pete has left them in individual holding cells for Limbo, to ascertain whether the degree of stupidity that they have demonstrated is sufficient to allow entry to the Kingdom of Heaven under section 4, paragraph 9 of the divine waiver for those who demonstrate sufficient mental incapacity.

How has it come to this? I would imagine that if any US citizen from one hundred years ago could be transported to the modern day, he or she would be outraged that such an obvious idiot stood a chance of being voted into office. If he or she had arrived via a short transfer in the Reagan era, when the White House was occupied by a man who was clearly medically unfit to operate a spoon, let alone a country, there might be grounds for hope for the future that medical screening would weed out incompetents before they actually got the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Unlike Reagan, whose faculties failed significantly after he took office, Trump is marching before us all, parading his ignorance of everything and his incoherently derived belief that everything will be alright in the end because his supporters will be able to assure him that he has the support of the mob, the poor huddled masses who really cannot be bothered to think for more than a few seconds because thinking about what might happen if the worst happens will somehow implicate them in a fiasco that they only signed up to watch as a member of the audience.

America is the audience, just as Britain was the audience for Brexit vote, and just as the British are now sitting back to watch the real world fiasco unfold on their tablets, phones and televisions and telling themselves that none of it is real, the United States will watch with undisguised relish as Donald the uncontrollable toddler romps though his presidency upsetting applecart after applecart and then turns to receive his applause from his audience of those who just do not care what he does, as long as he keeps shouting, bullying and living their dream for them.

If even a hint of good grammar were allowed to prevail in this discussion, it would become abundantly clear that consequences have reasons. Any cursory analysis of the time line will show that future events will happen because of the situation at present, so if we want to change the future, we have to change the present. This simple analysis does not even involve past tenses or imaginary English. It is a bald statement of incontrovertible fact.

If US voters thought about the consequences of voting for Donald Trump as president, they could never allow themselves to vote for a future that was so devastatingly obviously perilous to themselves and their children. This second analysis involves the past tenses, which are used to describe the imagination. Unfortunately, in this era of reality TV, the definitions of the real and imaginary worlds have become so blurred that, for many, they coalesce. That would not happen if modern English grammar were not in such a terrible state.

The next time you listen to Trump ramble incoherently about future consequences that are plainly detached from any current actions, count on your fingers the number of times that he uses imaginary English by presenting imagined future scenarios using the past tenses. His grammar is appalling so it does not happen very often. You should still be able to comfortably hold your teacup as you count. When you look at the final number of raised fingers, consider trump’s supporters’ description of him as a visionary and see if you can tally both of those pieces of hard data. You cannot do it if your grammar is good enough to form the thought, “If he were a visionary, I would at least know what his vision of the future was after listening to him for five minutes”.

It seems that most US citizens have regressed grammatically to the dark ages because, “If Donald / Boris says it, it will unquestionably come true”, is the new convenient present tense mantra for far too many voters in the US or the UK. Here lies English Grammar, our last defence against ignorance. May it rest in peace, even as it is shunned and abused.

Voting for hateful Hilary is the necessary evil that will probably amount to a spoiled vote, because the world wants reality TV, not reality. The promise of entertainment that a Trump presidency promises is sufficiently immediately attractive to bring many out to vote who would not otherwise dream of exercising their democratic rights. A vote for Donald is a vote that reinforces the mob’s decision that he is the hero of the hour, even if he is the buffoon of the century, because the mob is fickle, the mob knows what it wants now, the mob cannot labour under uncertainty by entertaining alternate views of the future, the mob is its own reason for its existence and when the mob prevails, it will find that it has already been provided with the reasons for its own failure to address any long-term problems. Immigrants and poor people will be blamed, persecuted and ostracised from society.

The poor people who voted for Trump will be trapped in even more suffocating poverty and they will watch it all on cheap phones, tablets and televisions and never once think that the future could have been different, because that thought demands an ability to express the imagination using a perfect tense and decent grammar has long since departed the places into which poor people are corralled.

Next time, I will be writing about the advantages that a Trump presidency might have for East Asia, where an arms race that directly translates to more US jobs is rapidly gathering pace and where efficacy and aplomb have no place in the face of swiftly increasing Chinese arrogance.