This morning I turned the radio off in disgust. This is getting to be an almost daily occurrence, and what prompted it this time was an item on cancelling the Ministry of Justice contract to supply Saudi prisons. The fact that they even tendered for this is enough for me to condemn global capitalism forever, and I salute Jeremy Corbyn for persuading them to cancel it.
But what do we get on ‘Today’? A reasonable-sounding government bod saying in measured terms why cancelling this contract is quite enough; explaining that the Saudis will ‘feel it’ and that we don’t need to piss them off any further (or, as he put it, be given the ‘cold shoulder.’)
Pure bollocks. Why don’t they just come out and say it: we need the oil? Then we could have a debate instead of a stand-off. We could explore options. We could try to find out what the likely consequences would be of the Saudis cutting us off. How much would we have to do without? How many of our exports would have to find other outlets? How much oil would we be likely to lose? What might that mean for us as consumers; what might it mean for industry? Is it a price we as a nation are prepared to pay, rather than having our leaders make decisions in secret because they’re scared?
But they don’t say that. Instead they continue to bleat about the Saudis being ‘good friends’; they continue to ignore their floggings and beheadings; they continue to give the cold shoulder to British citizens who deserve our support.
Shame on them.
So I turned the radio off and instead applied my attention to breakfast. Is there anything better in the world than boiled egg and soldiers? An egg neither hard nor soft, but firm on the outside with a soft centre: and there must be soldiers. Anything else just won’t do. I have two slices of toast – and today I realised that I always cut each slice in two, and each half into five separate soldiers – or fingers, if you will. Each slice is like two hands; a breakfast for four hands.
That reminds me of those piano pieces you get entitled ‘Sonata for Four Hands.’ I mean, who do you know who can play that? I don’t even know a player with three hands, let alone four. Mind you, in Saudi they’d have to compose pieces for no hands at all. Or two hands cut off and tied around the neck…