With enormous pleasure, I relaunch an ancient feature from before I moved my blog to Typepad. It used to be called Letters from Europe, but since Britain foolishly decided to exit the EU, I feel the new title is more apt. A friend recently forwarded this link, a typically British stream of invective about Trump: Letter: How Our English Relatives See Today’s America.
I wrote to Larry King, my “Letters from (formerly) Europe” contributor: "Does this sound about right? I mean, buffoon that he is, Boris doesn’t compare, right? I have always been under the impression that even the most stupid and venal British politician is several notches above the average American politician."
I've seen this before and find it fairly accurate, except for the usual self-congratulation by a Brit writing about an American. He finds that "irony, complexity, nuance or depth" are qualities Trump lacks, .. and of course Trump does lack all those, and much else.
But he seems to suggest they're commonplace among Brits, which will come as a surprise to those of us who have been trapped in a room with the braying twits who make up the bulk of the British political classes.
More important, the Brit ignores the fact the current and two previous British prime ministers have been at least as incompetent as Trump and, in the case of Boris Johnson, as dishonest.
And, no, the average British politician is not several notches above the average American politico in any meaningful respect. He's more articulate and polished, because those qualities are beat into him at an early age. But they're simply skills that can be learned; they are not evidence of moral or intellectual superiority.
Trump will be condemned by history for the damage he's done to American civil life; the Tory government will do at least as much damage to Britain through Brexit, but history won't condemn the Tories as vehemently, simply because what happens to America matters to the rest of the world, and what happens to Britain no longer does.
I have missed Larry’s sharp/biting take on the British and the Europeans, and am pleased to have him back.