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The one about the UK, French and US docs

PUBLISHED: 03:51 05 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:42 03 March 2010

LAUGHTER, they say, is the best medicine – and I guess the world needs some of that right now. I have always thought that what people laughed at said quite a lot about them. You could maybe say the same for their choice of medicine.

LAUGHTER, they say, is the best medicine – and I guess the world needs some of that right now.

I have always thought that what people laughed at said quite a lot about them.

You could maybe say the same about what medicine people take.

Go to an English doctor with a nasty cold and he will check your breathing, then prescribe you drugs. Perhaps with a warning not to abuse them.

Go to an American doctor and he will check your bank balance, then prescribe you drugs.

Then more drugs to counter-act the side-effects of the first ones. Then more to deal with the side-effects of those.

Go to a French doctor and he will sell you a gizmo for squirting salt water up your nose.

Racist? No, just an interesting observation on the cultures concerned. With the advantage that it is, in each case, absolutely true.

There is an element of truth, too, in a joke I was told this week. But is it funny?

It goes like this: "You know the world's gone mad when the best golfer in the world is black, the best rapper is white, the French call the Americans arrogant, and the Germans don't want to go war."

I suppose that IS mildly racist – but did it make you laugh? No, me neither.

In a way, it's a comment not on the madness of the world, but on its progress.

The emergence of Tiger Woods as top dog in a sport deeply associated with privilege and wealth would surely have pleased the Civil Rights movement.

The same goes for the Williams sisters in tennis. Though in both cases it would be nice to see a few other people – black, white or purple – challenging them for their supremacy. Just to make it more interesting.

Is Eminem really the world's best rapper? It is, I suppose, an opinion. Not one I share – but since I care not a jot for any rapper, I guess my opinion on the subject has limited value.

(I do like the idea, though, of the foul-mouthed one taking his name from a brand of candy-coated chocolates. If he'd been British, would he have been called Smartie?)

The cheap gibe about the Germans is simply 50-odd years out of date.

As for the crack about the French – the Americans ARE supremely arrogant. Not every American, of course – but as a nation their arrogance is staggering.

Only a Brit could even imagine that French arrogance comes close. But then the rivalry between our nations has run very deep for centuries.

It's because we are so close. And so alike.

They had Napoleon – we had every empire-builder the playing fields of Eton could spawn.

They had De Gaulle – we had Winston. (His first name alone is enough to identify him – a sure sign of a monstrous ego. A bit like Napoleon. And Eminem.)

But all the tub-thumbing nationalistic twits of British, French – and German – history belong in the past. The future belongs with the barking mad twits of America.

***

I WOULD like to share something with you. A few bites from an interesting piece of literature written before any present conflict.

This is a "blueprint for maintaining global Smersh pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with Smersh principles and interests".

It talks of "discouraging advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership".

It considers using an alliance with the UK government as "the most effective and efficient means of exercising Smersh global leadership".

It talks openly of gaining total control of both space and cyberspace.

It contemplates the use of "advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes".

Horror fiction? Yes and no. Horror yes. Fiction no.

It's a plot of world domination by maniacs – but it's not a new James Bond script.

I cheated. The original has the words US and American where I have put Smersh.

It was written in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century – a think-tank working for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Jeb Bush.

Shortly after that, Bush's brother George became president of Smersh – sorry, America – and installed Cheney as his vice-president and Rumsfeld as defence secretary. Oh, and one T Blair as White House poodle.


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