To be honest, I had intended to post this blog 36 hours or so ago. My topic was to be the cost of the Olympics (£24 billion was the figure that caught my interest) and I had planned a diversion or two into the funding of football, cricket and sport in general.
And then I had a sudden, atavistic memory of the introduction to a volume of poetry from 1932 or 33 which made the case for communism as the only hope for those who cared about the future of county cricket. Michael Roberts, I thought: New Country? New Signatures? And so I spent longer than the oulipian half hour I allow myself for Not Dark Yet, lost in Auden, and Spender, and Day Lewis. I never did track down the reference, and if anyone can find it for me, I would be pathetically grateful.
Anyway, by the time I had come out of my reverie, addressed some day-job deadlines and spent an hour or so with books (of figures), the world had moved on.
Rebekah Brooks and her horse trainer husband were under arrest, suspected of perverting the course of justice. Meanwhile, their best mate from Chipping Norton had legged it to the States and was presumably trying to re-negotiate the extradition treaty between our two great countries.
Judging by the gushing Mills & Boon speech-writing, Cameron and Obama are getting on spectacularly well.
Bush and Blair did also, I recall. In fact, it was Bush’s admiration of Blair which finally confirmed to the UK as a whole what many of us had believed from the start: that the war-mongering Blair was in the wrong party and probably in the wrong country, too. Reagan’s similar adoration of Thatcher was a statement of the obvious. They were the yin and yang of trickle-down.
But what are we to make of this current tryst? Is it an attraction of opposites? Or a folie à deux?
My online copy of USA Today characterizes Cameron as a “fetching British aristocrat”, and we all know that Americans have a thing for British royalty and aristocracy. I suppose they are of similar age and actually of similar background – because Cameron is not as high-born as USA Today would suggest, and Obama not as low-born as some might think.
But politically, surely, they have little in common. Especially their respective policies on the banking crisis, which are pretty much diametrically opposite. Even the presence of the egregious Osborne in the invading British forces won’t change Obama’s mind on this. After all, the US policy is actually working.
What I do hope is that, in between the basketball and the star-studded dinners, Cameron and Obama will finally bring to an end the Bush-Blair foreign policy of knee-jerk interventionist reactions. Iraq was a failure. Afghanistan is failing. Libya is a concern with reports of atrocities from the new government which appear to be at least as horrific as Gaddafi. And then there is Syria, Iran, North Korea ...
I am not opposed to interventions - I've just been reading Auden's Spain after all. But I am opposed to reflex interventionism.
What I hope these two – both intelligent men – will bring to world affairs is a great deal more thought and great deal less military action.
Today’s listening: The sharing option on Spotify at Wilde’s has been activated, so Facebook friends can see who has arrived in the building first. Recently, they will have noticed that Wilde’s is listening to Bob, and the Dead, and the Airplane. And this morning, it is New Riders of the Purple Sage.