The day started so well. Cycle gear already laid out for the painful Saturday 7am start. What could possibly go wrong? All, good so far, my cycle shoes are ready with overshoes half-fitted to save time during the usual overshoes wrestle. Except my credit card is upstairs. Shoes off. Time lost. No time to check my tyre pressure (which I hadn’t done the night before).
That’s how a chain-reaction starts.
“David my boy, this Panama Papers business is terribly unfortunate. I am not sure we the (unelected) Tory Grandees can be seen not to question your suitability to be Prime Minister unless…”
This conversation might’ve happened, or possibly one like it, in a quiet corner of a cigar-smoke filled Tory gentlemen’s club in Mayfair and quite possibly could’ve have been the start of it all.
“Unless you hold a referendum on EU membership”.
Project Fear misread the undercurrents of dissent amongst the voters outside of the Liberal Metropolitan Elite (i.e. London). Besides David and George had that ever-popular Buffoon – Boris – on their side, “maddeningly for some reason the Proles love Boris!” Except Boris got on the Leave bus (the one advertising £350m a week for the NHS). The Leave Bus might have come and gone, the £350m is yet to turn up. In the meantime, the UK is heading out of Europe on the crest of an ugly wave of Little Englander imperiousness to a future built on lies and dereliction of duty.
In my rush out the door I’ve grabbed my light-weight gloves, not the super warm pair that I’d been warming on the radiator. No problem, I’ll suck up cold fingers, it won’t be long before I’m warming them on a black Americano in G!ro. As usual the guys are waiting for me at Roehampton Gate.
Emboldened by Britain’s ‘Taking Our Country Back’ America chose to ‘Make America Great Again’. It seems slogans win majorities, except in the USA where America’s most unpopular President (before he was even inaugurated) won an election with a minority. The Donald is quick becoming frustrated with the checks & balances hard wired into the American Constitution.
How long in the name of draining the swamp and taking down the Washington’s Political Establishment before Trump and his frightening inner circle bypass the machinery of government and begin locking up his opponents? Sparking a 2nd Civil War in the USA? The coastal liberal elites fighting back against ‘the Belts’ – rust, corn, bible.
The roads are awash with dirt, grit and sludge. At least it’s not icy. A thick spray is coming off the back wheels, everyone is trying to get to the front to avoid a shower, edging the pace upward. Then it starts snowing, or is it sleet? Either way it’s cold. A puncture is inevitable. My tyres were probably only running at 80psi. I don’t tell the other guys that as my iced fingers fumble with a slippery tyre. Time is moving against us.
France, the 3rd leg of global meltdown doesn’t disappoint, France elects Right Wing Marine Le Pen and the Far Right re-establishes itself in Europe. The EU suffers another knockout blow, first BREXIT, an Italian Banking failure and now FREXIT. Continental Europe is fraying at the edges, with no American counterweight and NATO consigned to 20th Century history, Putin starts annexing former Soviet states for fun and because he can, galvanising his starving and impoverished population around the promise of a return to Global Superpower-dom, rather than taking their domestic miseries out on Putin himself.
Then a second puncture just as the sleet is getting heavier. Cold fingers, rushing to fix a puncture in the gaze of impatient eyes don’t always find the offending sharp. Grumbles of “that’s the bacon sandwich of the menu then” don’t help puncture fixing efficiency even if they are in humour (sort of). The coffee is a quick gulped, throat scolding affair. When I get home, 30 minutes later than promised, in my absence 3rd World War has broken out at the family breakfast table.
There’s a reason why Billionaires are currently buying boltholes in New Zealand.