So this is something slighty different. Normally I pick a topic for the week and write a more extended piece on that one topic. What I thought I would do this week is take a few topics from the week and write a few shorter pieces grouped together in one post. Let me what you think of this because it’s something I might continue with.
Donald Trump and the ‘incredibly difficult’ cognitive test.
It seems more and more likely that the President of the United States is either already mentally unwell or is on the way to being mentally unwell. According to his niece, a trained psychologist, he meets all the requirements to be diagnosed with extreme narcassim. Which honestly wouldn’t surprise me. The amount of self-prasing that the man is does is unparralleled in a world leader, who hasn’t brutally shut down any opposition to his position of power. He has been bragging all week about how he absolutely nailed a cognitive test at Walter Reed hospital, how the doctors had said to his face they were surprised he did so well on a test that is meant to help expose signs of potential early onset dementia. Trump claimed the test was extremely difficult and most people would struggle to pass with such flying colours as he did.
Now, if it were anyone else I would be feeling very sorry for them. I’ve seen the effects dementia can have on someone and it is heartbreaking for their friends and family. But this man, I have no sympathy for him at all. Not only has he led a life of extreme privilege but he has been lying to make himself look better and to get out of trouble for all of his adult life. He ran on a campaign of division, aided by a foreign power, praying on certain prejudice and bigotry as well as their dislike of his opponent. But his mishandling of the pandemic has been truly abominable. Nearly 145,000 American deaths can be laid at the feet of him and his administration. He refused to see the signs, he refused to implement the procedures quickly enough, he sowed misinformation about the virus that led to more infections. And because of his inaction and bungling, his strongest campaign pillar is eroding faster than you can shake a stick at it. 20% of Americans are unemployed, a level not seen since the times of the Great Depression. His support is shrinking, yet he claims he’s not losing the race. He’s ramped up his war on mail-in ballots and has even suggested he would not accept a result that had him losing. He may well be suffering from a mental illness. But he does not deserve anyone’s sympathy.
Ben Stokes. Just Ben Stokes.
Ben Stokes was absolutely magnificent in the second test against the West Indies. He is truly the genuine all round cricketer. He showed the patience to build a partnership and play a perfect test match innings, scoring 176 to put England in a very strong position. He then made the crucial breakthrough in the Windies’ first innings and got the ball rolling to make sure England were comfortably in the lead when they went into bat for the second time. He then completely switched gears and smashed the bowlers to all parts of the ground to set England up to bowl the Windies out again on the fifth day after day four was lost due to rain. He again broke key partnerships in the second West Indies innings to bring England level in the series.
The man is taking cricket to another level. Every four or five years, a player comes along that simply lights up a cricket field. Ben Stokes is one of those players. Not to mention that he has had to go through a assault charge that cost him both the vice-captaincy and a place in the side for the 2017-18 Ashes tour in Australia. Since he came back into the side, he has been simply phenomenal. His knock in the World Cup final was astonishing, and all that needs to be said about his heroics at Headingley has probably already been said. His bowling has also been top class since he returned and has often turned the tide for England. He is also a magnificent fielder and slip catcher. His standing in the dressing room was displayed when he captained the side for the first time. While I’m not sure he would be a successful captain, he is a lynchpin for the side, and he keeps doing the phenomenal.
Boris Johnson is unqualified for his job and coasting on an undeserved reputation.
Boris Johnson made a trip to Scotland earlier in the week and immediately tried to claim credit for Scotland’s coronavirus response. One of his ministers claimed that the response was by the whole union, with the devolved governments regularly involved and consulted. That could not be further from the truth. The Welsh First Minister had already told LBC two weeks ago that he and the PM hadn’t spoken to each other since MAY. This is not a co-ordinated response by any measure.
He’s also been shown up at Prime Minister’s Questions by Sir Kier Starmer and it’s doing rather a lot of damage. Starmer has regularly caught Johnson out by targeting his achilles heel. Mr Starmer is simply far more prepared than Johnson has ever been for any part of being PM. The best Johnson has been able to offer has been pre-cooked jabs and jokes that landed with a resounding crash. Starmer has a lot to decide on. He hasn’t really laid out his stall on many important issues and that will need to be done and soon, but his more sober style at the despatch box is showing Johnson up for what he really is. A man unprepared for the job at hand and arrogant enough to belief that he can simply bluff his way through and it will all be fine. Nonsense, I say.