You know the deal.
If it’s never happened to you, it will. Or else to someone you know.
The English have decided to split from their long term live in partner.
The Americans are getting divorced from reality.
They’re sad, they’re angry, they’re confused, they’re hurting. And all at the same time.
Psychologists differ about the effects of relationships that start when one or other of the parties is on the rebound.
But then again psychologists differ about the effects of pretty much everything from smartphones to recreational drugs. Though now I come to write that, of course, I realise that they are actually not that dissimilar.
One thing psychologists are agreed on is that the qualities of compassion, curiosity and doubt make for good psychologists, and good doctors too, and, interestingly, are also present in most lasting healthy relationships.
Doubt in this context, I should explain, means a willingness to work on and to overcome damaging or self-destructive behaviour rather than doubt about the value of the relationship per se.
And while we’re on the psychobabble it may be worth repeating my own little nugget of hard won self knowledge. Forgive me if you’ve heard it before but, in my experience at least, any sense of entitlement is pretty much incompatible with any real happiness.
So the English are on the rebound and the Americans too and, look away now if you are at all squeamish because this could all get very messy indeed, it looks like they’re dating.
A long time ago I was married. And when my in-laws came to visit, as they did both regularly and frequently, the occasion was felt to demand a certain formality, if not actual ceremony. It was known to my children, in fact, as a ‘state visit’.
So with that in mind, as well as the more recent experience of meeting my girlfriend’s father at the age of sixty, me that is not my girlfriend’s father, he’s older. I can only offer Donald and Theresa (that’s Theresa with an ‘h’ Donald, the other one is a porn star, though I guess I can sort of see where the confusion arises if you’ll pardon the expression ) this advice:
Firstly: do not under any circumstances give any thought at all to those who have gone before you. Nobody is judging you against them or comparing you to them in any way.
Donald, you are not Vladimir Putin, the fist Russian leader, by the way, to make a state visit to Britain since Tsar Nicholas 1st in 1843.
You are not Mr Xi. You are not Emperor Hirohito. The USA has not tortured or starved British soldiers to death within living memory.
You are not Ronald Reagan. Yes, the Queen rides horses but no, she does not play golf. That’s her dodgy son with the ex wife who did the Weight Watchers adverts.
You are not even Dubya. Even if you look like you are maybe thinking about taking a leaf out of his playbook sometime soon in Iran.
Secondly: put any embarrassing stories you may have heard about past state visits completely out of your mind.
You are not Nicolae Ceausescu, the first communist head of state to make one. And the first, and so far as we know the only, guest who the Queen has felt compelled to hide in a rose bush to avoid talking to.
You are not King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Who it is said completely failed to see the funny side of Her Majesty driving him around Balmoral herself in her Land Rover.
Theresa, you are not Winston Churchill. You are not Margret Thatcher. You are not even Tony Blair.
The European Union, your ex, you remember?, is not remotely interested in Theresa’s Britain as a bridge to Donald’s America. As Dalia Grybauskaite, the Lithuanian President, pithily put it only last week: “If we want to talk to America we’ll use Twitter”.
And finally, to you both: remember compassion, curiosity and doubt, oh, and don’t forget the entitlement and happiness thing either.
Got that? OK, good. Now while we’re here let’s dispose of a couple of myths about Donald.
One: he is not a clown. He is smart as a fox with the same low cunning. To pretend otherwise is to seek false comfort in intellectual laziness.
Two: he is not unpredictable. Democracy is unpredictable. He, like dictators since time immemorial, is all too predictable. He does pretty much exactly what he says he will do.
On the balance of probabilities I think it is also entirely possible that he will succeed in ‘making America great again’ or at least in making America feel great again. Which will probably do.
It is more than likely that he plans to do so by returning the world to its status quo ante as the shared empire of bi-polar superpowers. And in that he and Vladimir are as one.
Interviewed on The BBC’s Sunday Politics, Sebastian Gorka, formerly National Security Editor of Brietbart, and as of Friday, the White House’s Deputy Assistant on National Security, made it abundantly clear that the Trump administration is agnostic at best on the future of the EU.
“That” he said, “is a matter for the people of the nation states of Europe”. Adding for good measure that Donald Tusk’s recent assessment of America as “a threat to the security of Europe” was “so asinine as to be unworthy of comment.”
America will be great again when the EU is gone. And Europe is divided once more into dozens of bickering nonentities, each one a client state of America or Russia.
Gorka is an interesting man, and someone we will be hearing more of in the months to come no doubt. The London born son of Hungarian refugees, he’s a ‘Marine Academic’. And no, that’s not a marine biologist or an ocean conservationist, that’s a professor with access to helicopter gunships.
His specialism, by the way, is ‘irregular warfare’ though he’s also done a lot of work on the comparative ideological threats of cold war communism and present day jihadism. Which to be fair to him, might actually point the White House in the likely direction of another possible win.
Defeat DAESH, Sebastian, and you’d not just ‘make America great again’ but you might even begin to find that Europe, and some other places besides, could just begin to warm to Donald. But you’re a smart man so I guess you’ve already thought that one through.
And so finally to one small glimmer of hope.
From the land of the man that the Queen hid in a rose bush to avoid conversation with came proof this weekend that sometimes the people can speak truth to power.
And that sometimes power has no option but to listen.
When there’s enough of us we can stop bad things from happening.
And we can change things for the better.
So a heartfelt thank you for that to the 300,000 and more Romanians who came out onto the streets of their towns and cities in twenty below night after night last week.
And to the one of you in particular who wrote my favourite placard.
The one that read: ‘No Country For Old Thieves’.
See you in London in August.