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LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn gets a roasting from Simon this week as our erudite London columnist shares the experiences of an active week between his home town, Frankfurt and watching the Johann Rupert lynch mob from 9,000km, a spectacle that did not improve even when 9,000km away. His beautifully crafted insights strip away the veneer hiding much of the politically-correct coating that envelopes our world. – Alec Hogg
By Simon Lincoln Reader*
I’m poorly on the flight to Frankfurt. My wife and I are seated apart, she’s in the front of the plane happily paging away, oblivious to the terror unfolding in the rear. A sympathetic Bavarian called Elmar checks on me lying prostrate on the kitchen galley floor. The turbulence ceases just before our descent and whilst we wait, subjected to an uncharacteristic delay on the tarmac, Elmar explains that he runs a dialogue initiative, bringing hostile adversaries together. In Britain’s north he is testing a model he designed in 2015 at the onset of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s senior moment on immigration. At the time he was a high ranking government official.
Elmar is possessed of that distinctively Austro-German sense of duty, a quiet beneficiary of the generational wisdom of reconciliation. You can see it in South Africa – the diligent work of the Goethe Institute, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the goodwill of Camphill movement. Elmar doesn’t subscribe to any ideological side or hype – he studies the increasingly enraged nature of correspondence and worries that the present state of expression, featured in Brexit and exacerbated by social media, has set the tone for future discussions beyond our present political circumstances, wherein succeeding generations will consider abuse normalised, even necessary. Social media, he believes, is dumbing-down the course of political awareness, turning young minds unhappy, selfish, stupid and angry.
In London, Sadiq Khan has breezily added another £125m onto Transport for London’s (TfL) burgeoning debt of £1bn. TfL is supposed to be the one area of his remit where the guy can’t screw stuff up, but Sadiq insists that a ban on fast food advertising will prevent child obesity in the capital (an objective established upon contentious assumptions).
In Frankfurt, you see a whole lot of food advertising. At the Christmas markets, you see mountains of fries and gingerbread designs, pretzels, fondue, raclette. But what you don’t see is a crappy little mayor running around slapping the giant Bratwurst out of little Edgar’s hands as he attempts to stuff his face with it.
The problem with Sadiq is not that he’s a shifty lawyer. He’s too impressionable. He regards right-on politicians as celebrities and their haranguing on public life as gospel: I wonder what would happen if Justin Trudeau dared him to black-up?
Jeremy Corbyn is such a piece of work. For his Hannukah video message, Jeremy went to a pop-up shop raising money for refugees to – wait for it – explain to Jews what Hannukah is all about. And Hannukah, according to Jeremy, is about Jews ‘sharing their things with other people’, presumably a more diplomatic way of saying ‘not hogging it all to themselves’.
What was equally disturbing was the unnaturally soft tone in which he spoke, symptomatic of someone who has just suffered an auto-spastic foaming seizure and had to be re-assured back to composure by the producer: “Hey Happy Hannukah you Jews BUT FOR F* SAKES I CANNOT DEAL WITH YOUR HOOK NOSES AND YOUR SUCCESSFUL FURNITURE COMPANIES AND CHRIST-I-MEAN-MUHAMMED ALIVE GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE NOW!’
Its no secret Jeremy is partial to those who seek to deny Jews their existence, so I think it would be better for everyone – Jews, those of us who admire Jewish bonds of faith and actually Jeremy himself – were he to just say nothing about Jews or Jewishness ever again.
Johann Rupert should never have agreed to participate in the Power FM event. If he wasn’t there, the following wouldn’t have happened: Iman Rappetti, a neurotic and average reporter, thumbs a brattish tweet implying she’s offended by some of Johann’s commentary – cue sub-adolescent pile-on and immediate descent into the social influencer’s barking inferno, the bleating thread of ‘privilege’ and oh the indignation, the loathing, the outrage. This is precisely the model my new friend Elmar laments.
But Johann did participate, and what happened happened, and now I’m actually more interested in a follow-up tweet by Gauteng ANC deputy Chairman Panyaza Lesufi: replying to a picture of an empty chair in the front row that was ostensibly his, Panyaza claimed he ‘respectfully’ left the event. It would therefore be nice to know whether he ever ‘respectfully’ objected to his once-MEC provincial colleague Qedani Mahlangu and her savage abrogation of responsibility – that led to the deaths of people some of whom the ANC would claim as ‘theirs’ – with the same piousness?
- Simon Lincoln Reader lives in London.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.