October 29, 2016
I was not on the winning side of the debate, despite giving it the old college try. Thank God for my South African friend Simon Reader, who coached me just before I went on. Mind you, my side felt a bit like Maxime Weygand, the French general who was happily smoking his exotic cheroot pipe back in Hanoi when he got the call to take over the French army in June of 1940. Trouble was, the Germans had already taken Holland and Belgium and had breached La Ligne Maginot, Gamelin had thrown in the towel, and Paul Reynaud had called for a fresh face to stop the mighty Wehrmacht. “Gee, thanks a bunch,” said Weygand, but took it like a real Frenchman and surrendered to the German army a couple of weeks later.
Two months ago, when I was kindly invited by The Spectator to defend The Donald, he was yet to do an Annie Oakley on his foot. But I’ve always loved lost causes, especially when up against a woman who, however inadvertently, will continue Obama’s strategy of destroying Western hegemony. I was happy to see Conrad Black again, who by the way debated without notes and wiped the floor with everyone. The one who didn’t get my motor racing was a boring American man who heads Democrats (Yawn) Abroad. He kept name-dropping locations he had been to during the campaign, as if any of us gave a flying fuck where he’d been.
So what else is new? Daniel McCarthy wrote in The Spectator that Hillary will push for globalist economics, and with the support of Beltway insiders—read neocons and other architects of the Iraq disaster—will be an interventionist and nation builder. All I can say is heaven help us. My only hope is that Saint Theresa does not do a Blair and follow that Clinton woman like a lemming.
What was fun was to be back in London for four days of partying that made me want to shout. One thing men no longer do in America is have fun lunches. Too busy chasing the mighty buck. There are only ladies who lunch, and they are mostly over-the-hill, pulled to the extreme, and widows. Not in good old London. Bellamy’s, for example, is as good a place to lunch and spend the early afternoon as any St. James’s club. Gavin Rankin runs it like a club; the service is impeccable, the food excellent, and I didn’t see the kind of lowlife from the Gulf one runs into nowadays in chic London establishments. I lunched there with my very old friend Timmy Hanbury, who had brought Zuleika Dobson along. Iona McLaren is the most attractive young woman in London, and she has brains to match. She is The Telegraph’s book editor, and boy, I wouldn’t mind turning into a tome as long as I ended up in her hands. She’s named after a Greek priestess who was loved by Zeus and changed into a heifer to protect her from Hera’s jealousy. Iona visited Prometheus and described her tribulations in Aeschylus’ play, and her story is also told by Ovid. From now on it will be told by Taki.
Perfect English-rose looks aside, she seemed unaware of that uniquely English upper-class pas de deux of meanness of spirit and snobbism. Instead, one gets an approachable and immensely welcoming air from a truly beautiful young woman. Lucky Timmy, unlucky Taki. Then there was a dinner by yet another Tim, Commodore Tim Hoare, followed by a Pugs Club do chez la princesse de Hanover to welcome two new Pugs members, making us 21 and closing the membership until one of us drops off. (I am apparently odds on to be the second club member to leave the club feet first.)
Daily updates with TM’s latest