Graeme Archer is a medical statistician, a former winner of the Orwell Prize for blogging, and was recently a speechwriter for a Cabinet Minister.
What do the following countries have in common? Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Obviously they’re all places whose governments don’t cause the Left to collapse in a fit of the vapours. Countries like Libya must be the last word in female emancipation: no-one marches against its regime, with or without a knitted vagina on their head.
I don’t believe Jeremy Corbyn donned a “pussyhat” while fawning for Iran on Press TV either, although I wasn’t a regular viewer, and he may well have done from time to time. I rang his spokeswoman to check: “Jeremy doesn’t get out of bed for less than £20,000,” mumbled Diane, suspiciously. “Can you send a car? Or some helium? I need to suck more hel-” but I hung up.
However, the list of governments against whom the Left won’t march is much, much longer than this group of sixteen, so no, that’s not it.
Algeria locks gay people up for two years; Bangladesh’s statute promises life imprisonment. Yemen has the death sentence for homosexuality, and Iran – Jezza’s mates – hangs gay men from cranes, to widespread public amusement.
You and I might walk round the park on a Sunday, drive over to the Watford shops, watch a bit of (Jezza-less) telly. Iranian versions of ourselves gather to watch as harmless men are strung up to die. Iranian versions of yourself, I should say; the Iranian version of Graeme is either in hiding, or is hanging, dead, just above your head. (Best not to look; maybe pull that pussyhat down over your eyeline? There you go. Nice hat, man.)
So the listed countries wouldn’t feature on my Grand Tour; but again, vicious treatment of gay people isn’t unique to The Sixteen. So that’s not it either.
Has Donald Trump banned citizens from all these places from temporarily entering the US? Not quite: for example, Somalia isn’t on my list, while it’s certainly on his. But you’re getting there. Hold that thought.
Are these the nations that Messrs Bush and Blair bombed into liberal democracy? To be honest, I lost track of the swollen list of countries to which armchair neocons sent working-class Britons to die, or be wounded, or sued by taxpayer-funded solicitors and their “refugee” clients. A small price to pay, you’ll agree, to test the exciting Blairite theory: that functioning (if unpleasant) states should be replaced with one Islamist bloodbath after another, and anyway, isn’t that what our working-class countrymen are for? Some of their views about immigration – my dears!
Attention span of a fruit-fly, me; a bit like Blair and post bellum planning. But no, I’m pretty sure that Saudia Arabia, for example, wasn’t a Bush-Blair target; funny, that. It’s not on Donald Trump’s list, either; curiouser and curiouser.
Shades of Mrs Merton and Debbie McGee with Saudi Arabia, I always think: Just what was it about oil-wealthy, arms-purchasing Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister, that helped you turn a blind eye to the medieval barbarity it visits upon its people and the illiberal, wicked ideology it spreads throughout the UK? “Long term partners, erm, war against terror, um, hang on, there’s a corruption scandal I’ve just got to close down… look, can we send Prince Charles again?”
Prince Charles! Could his crusade against global warming be the common factor? Do The Sixteen’s leaders tremble to attend state receptions at Buckingham Palace, lest the heir to our throne grabs the post-dinner mike and bores them all to death about windfarms?
No, no, no. Way off target. the Prince’s environmental concerns aren’t directed at, say, Saudi Arabia, but, naturally, Donald Trump. When Trump visits the UK, Prince Charles has promised some tough talk about climate change.
Here, he reveals his monarchical suitability, because millions of his fellow subjects are angry with the American president too. (The riots when Trump visits will be quite the lark, won’t they?)
The latest causa irae uniting not only the Left, but much moderate Conservative opinion, was Trump’s decision to ban residents from seven countries from visiting the US, for a few months, while his agencies tighten up immigration control.
For this action he has been condemned as a fascist. Quite right too. Thank God for great European leaders, like Angela Merkel, whose idiosyncratic approach to border control played such an understated role in last year’s Brexit vote.
Out of time! The answer to my question: The Sixteen all ban Israeli passport holders (know what they mean? nudge nudge!) from entering their countries: not temporarily, but completely.
Strangely, no-one gets all tearful on the BBC about this, which doesn’t masturbate over the petition which nobody starts on the subject. Nobody takes over an airport in protest. Lawyers don’t offer free legal advice on behalf of the banned Jews, sorry, Israelis.
Bunch of fascists, right? What’s that? You’re too busy to care, what with all the knitting you’ve got on, ahead of Trump’s visit. I completely understand your reaction.
Nice hat, man. Make sure you knit it sufficiently long, that it keeps your eyeline safely covered.