Laugh? I nearly died

FORGIVE me if I'm stating the obvious, but I have a little difficulty with George W Bush.It's all very well to chuckle at a chappie who has difficulty forming words properly or constructing a coherent thought or sentence.

FORGIVE me if I'm stating the obvious, but I have a little difficulty with George W Bush.

It's all very well to chuckle at a chappie who has difficulty forming words properly or constructing a coherent thought or sentence.

A man who can say, in all seriousness: “A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness.”

Or: “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”

Such mangling of the language is sometimes sold as wit and wisdom (which is irony, George, in case you're wondering).

It could be quite endearing, in the manner of a half-clever pet, if it weren't for the scary part.

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This man isn't a third-rate stand-up comedian working the northern clubs circuit - though I'm sure he'd go down a storm if he was. This is the most powerful person on the planet.

A man who can send troops to invade any country he chooses.

Who can demand the removal from office, and eventually the death, of another country's leader - and have it delivered.

A man who may be the last stumbling block preventing the nations of the world from coming up with a serious and workable plan to cut the fuel emissions that could change life on earth forever.

OK, you've heard this rant before. It isn't new. But it's still true, and it's still scary.

Now come with me, if you will, on a little voyage of the imagination.

Let's take a peek into a parallel universe. It's a universe very like this one in most respects, since the two diverged only this week.

In this “other” universe, American planes roared across Suffolk on Monday.

Without warning or provocation, they exploded missiles on Grundisburgh, destroying houses and crops, killing maybe 50 people, including children, and injuring many more. There is no apology afterwards, merely the self-justifying claim that they believed someone they didn't like was somewhere in the village.

It was a case of acting against a “target of opportunity.” As if that made it all right.

Okay in this universe it didn't happen. But what if it had? How would we react?

In Grundisburgh itself, the first response would be terror and horror. Pretty soon, the region, the nation, all of Europe, would be outraged. There would be an international storm of criticism.

But what could we actually do that would ensure it never happened again?

Pretty well nothing, really. Which gives an uncomfortable insight into that “special relationship” the UK is supposed to have with the US.

But it also maybe explains partly why our leaders spend so much time and effort maintaining that relationship.

If there's a big bully in the playground nobody can stand up to, it's safer to be his friend.

That goes for the government's response. But what of the people on the ground - the villagers of Grundisburgh, their friends and relations?

One thing's for sure - they wouldn't go on considering the Americans as their friends. In fact, they might well start looking for ways to hit back at them.

If there had indeed been one or two anti-Americans in the village before the air-strike, they would certainly be hundreds after it.

They'd be angry. And you might not like them when they're angry.

As a means of “pacifying” a “terrorist”, bombing them seems about as effective as setting fire to a forest in order to preserve it.

About as intelligent as you'd expect from the man who was pleased to share his insight: “More and more of our imports come from overseas.”

Of course, in this world, that attack didn't really take place in Grundisburgh. It took place in Somalia.

So that's all right, then.

MEANWHILE, in a back lot at Elstree Studios, a Channel 4 crew is filming a new sci-fi series.

We're back in an old parallel universe, but this time the scriptwriters - renegades from Dr Who - have surely gone too far.

The story is set in a universe so crazy that everyone has become obsessed with celebrities.

The less a person has to be famous for, other than simply being famous, the more famous they become. The less charm, the less talent, the better.

In this wacky world, a fat girl with no more grasp of English or geography than GW Bush has become famous through appearing on (though not winning) a so-called “reality TV” gameshow.

Now, a few years later, she is miraculously still half-famous, even being talked up as a future film star.

And then - here comes the twist - she goes back into the show, though now it's billed as a “celebrity” version. And she takes her mum and boyfriend with her. Wild. Wacky.

But no, you're right. No one, not even an audience brain-deadened by Saturday-night TV, would believe it.

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