One can’t help feeling like a Mediterranean denizen alive during the centuries separating the two greatest orators of antiquity. But in our fast-moving world the interval is shorter: Demosthenes (aka Obama) spoke yesterday; Cicero (aka Dave) will speak tomorrow.
Thanks to numerous leaks, tomorrow’s speech is yesterday’s news: we all know what Dave will say. We’re also aware that, in common with all other spivocrats (sorry, today’s world leaders), he’ll proceed from the assumption that his audience comprises exclusively pimpled children with special needs.
Dave will demand that the leopard (aka the EU) change its spots and allow him to dictate his terms – or else. In this context ‘or else’ means that at some unspecified point, but definitely after the next election, Dave will call an unspecified referendum. This is like me promising you that, should I win big in the lottery, for which I never buy tickets, I’ll split my millions with you.
Still, let’s not jump the gun, as President Lincoln could have said. We must wait until Cicero has actually spoken. Meanwhile let’s enjoy the sight of Tory columnists trying to find something nice to say about Dave in anticipation of his epoch-making oratory.
Benedict Brogan, for example, is capable of lean, thoughtful writing. But he’s on a losing wicket here, something he knows but, being in denial, refuses to acknowledge.
Hence he declares that Dave’s ‘administration has chalked up an enviable record of achievement’, while forgetting to tell us what it is precisely that we’re supposed to envy. Oh yes, Dave personifies all the historical goodness of the Tory party:
‘His capacity to embody tradition yet accept the demands of modernity is the quality that successful British institutions have always shown, from the Army to Oxbridge colleges.’
Quite. Except that it’s hard not to notice that these very institutions are being destroyed by Dave’s administration. Under his true-blue tutelage the Army has dwindled to a strength just below that boasted by Wessex way back when.
And Oxbridge has been turned into a laboratory for social engineering, forced to come up with class-based admission standards last favoured by the Bolsheviks in the early years of their regime. Then higher education was off-limits for children of educated families, an ideal towards which Dave’s policies are edging bit by sure bit.
Party loyalty is a bugger, isn’t it, Ben? But enough about Cicero. Instead let’s talk about Demosthenes, who has already delivered himself of his speech-writers’ salient points:
‘A decade of war is now ending.’ Yes, but there are two ways of ending a war: winning and losing.
Americans, with us in tow, have destabilised the Middle East by their frankly idiotic attempts to push it towards democratic virtue. They then ushered in the Arab Spring, much beloved of Dave, Nick et al.
As a result, militant Islamist regimes have been installed all over the region and, as the Algeria carnage shows, terrorism is expanding geographically. After American withdrawal, hastened by Obama, Islamism will be stronger and blood-thirstier than ever – is that the end Barack Hussein has in mind?
‘We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.’ How are we going to support it, now the war is over? By starting another one? By employing a few more speech writers? US policy so far has favoured not ‘those who long for freedom’ but those who long for female castration.
‘An economic recovery has begun.’ Has it indeed? What about the $16-trillion-plus debt? Unemployment? The probability of losing the AAA rating? Social trust funds on the verge of depletion? Never mind, we fools aren’t supposed to ask such questions.
‘We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are… to all posterity.’ Personally I haven’t met many Americans who share this belief – certainly not at a time of national crisis.
‘We will respond to the threat of climate change…’ But you’re already responding to this mythical threat, Mr President, by pumping funds you don’t have into tree-hugging. This embrace will soon go beyond the foreplay stage, jeopardising technological progress, the only kind modernity can deliver.
‘The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult…’ The problem is energy, not pie-in-the-sky sustainable energy. That problem is being solved by the hydrocarbon industry, bending under the weight of extortionist taxation and suffocating regulations.
Fighting off Barack Hussein’s ideological assault, this industry has come up with economically feasible ways of producing shale gas, putting the country on the path that’s really worth travelling, the one to energy self-sufficiency.
‘That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God…’ …in whom by all accounts Barack Hussein doesn’t believe, but he does believe in courting the Bible-belt vote. As a general observation, show me someone who says ‘our planet’ and I’ll show you a tasteless knee-jerk leftie.
‘We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.’ That’s why Obama is pushing for nationalised medicine, which is bound to increase the cost of health care, reduce its efficacy, and as to the deficit… ‘nuff said.
‘The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.’ How? Morally? They certainly neither strengthen the economy nor reduce the deficit.
‘Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.’ Are they unequal under the law now? First I’ve heard of it.
And what’s worth talking about isn’t love (Matthew 5-7 told us everything we need to know), but the legitimacy of some modes of expressing it. Otherwise one runs the risk of sounding even more demagogic than God originally made one.
‘Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants.’ How many more of them? Thousands? Millions? Billions? As to a better way, I can suggest one: make them ineligible for welfare. You’d be amazed how quickly immigration will find a reasonable level.
And so forth, drivel ad nauseum. The intellectual bar has been set, let’s wait to see if Dave can jump over it. Incidentally, I know a place where you can get some earplugs for next to nothing.