Oh, to be in England, and almost die of heat after the Austrian Alps. Yes, Sarah Sands was right in her Speccie diary about last week being a great week of summer parties in London, but the really good ones are still to come. This weekend both Blenheim Palace and Badminton House play host to great balls. I only mention them because there are only two English dukes whom I acknowledge, Beaufort and Marlborough, because I knew both men when they were in their teens. There has been some grumbling about the fact that neither house would give in and change the date, but I’m fine with that. Two simultaneous country balls in two ducal houses split the social climbers in half, making it easier and more fun for the rest of us. Then there is the Bismarck conundrum: Leopold and Debbie are invited to both, but can’t make up their mind where to start. My advice was to do it alphabetically.
And speaking of only recognising two dukes, until last week I recognised only one countess, Countess Bismarck, but now there’s another one, as you’ll know if you read my column last week. But enough of that. This is party week and there are two of them at The Spectator. There is also the Pugs annual lunch in a location I am not at liberty to disclose. It’s a white tie and decorations dinner followed by a speech by yours truly at a St James’s club whose name I am sworn not to reveal — the penalty for disclosure, I was informed, is enforced membership of the new Annabel’s and an introduction to Philip Green — with the grand finale taking place somewhere down the M4 on Saturday. (I have reserved a hearse for my return to the capital on Sunday.) Yippee!
And now on to some unpleasant business: in The Spectator diary two weeks ago, Andrew Marr, who sounds like a decent if misguided man, wrote the following: ‘Our job at the BBC is not to denounce, lampoon, deride or sneer at elected politicians but to ask them, politely, direct and relevant questions.’ If only, says Taki, the world’s most polite and objective journalist. The other evening I was channel surfing when I came across Newsnight and hey presto, the complete opposite of what Marr had written was being demonstrated right before my eyes by that one-time sexpot Emily Maitlis. She was interviewing a Hungarian official. I didn’t catch his name, but he may have been the foreign minister. He was a very polite and precise man whom Emily accused of everything but the Holocaust. In short, she sneered at him, hinted that the vote in Hungary had been manipulated and the government was therefore not duly elected, and then she went as far as to call Viktor Orban, the extremely popular Hungarian president, almost a dictator. Her manner was that of an angry hausfrau reading the riot act to a bunch of drunken hooligans. ‘The problem with the EU is it believes in tolerance, diversity and human rights — and you are rejecting them all,’ spat Emily, as if she were talking to a mini dictator like Jean-Claude Juncker. The poor Hungarian remained polite as the mini-skirted Emily rained abuse.
Now we all know about the BBC’s left-wing bias, so I should not have been surprised. What bothered me was the virtue signalling that I suspect was behind Emily’s wrathful attitude to the Hungarian. She was also trying to impress her BBC controllers who are most probably ex-commies pissing bullets over the present state of affairs: Brexit, no more open borders, and nationalism prevailing over globalism. Worst of all for the BBC’s overpaid Marxist gang is that the balance of power has shifted from the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels to the popularly elected Kurz, Orban, Kaczynski and Salvini. Personally, I have nothing against Emily, but even I was shocked at the vehemence of her questioning, as if the man facing her were a known criminal. I once approached la Maitlis at a Speccie garden party and, after unsuccessfully trying to pick her up, told her that she reminded me of Andromache. ‘Wasn’t she the one that murdered her children?’ stammered Emily. No, dear, that was Medea; Andromache was Hector’s wife, and a great woman. Emily would be better off if she spent more time reading the classics and less trying to impress her Marxist bully-bosses.
Left-wing hacks as a class are poorly educated and highly imitative people of very small imagination. As usual, they latch on to something new and flog it to death (in the case of the popularity of nationalist leaders, by calling these leaders fascists and invoking the rise of Mussolini). Even that idiotic woman Madeleine Albright is over here trying to sell her unreadable book, in which she warns that Europe is about to go Nazi. Andrew Marr the misguided had her on his show.
Well, the good news is that if we do go Mussolini’s way, beautiful uniforms will be back in fashion, as will flared breeches and knee-high boots. The other thing uneducated journalists don’t get is that in most countries winning an election means that the winner leads the nation. He or she leads not only the executive but also the legislative and judicial apparatuses. It might look like dictatorship but it’s nothing of the kind. Anyway, I like strong leaders, especially when they kick out billionaire busybodies such as George Soros, something the British government should do because of his meddling in the democratic process that chose Brexit.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free