David Bullard on the state of gloom here there and everywhere


‘Weltschmerz’ is a delicious German word that has no equal in English. It’s almost onomatopoeic in all its gloom because it’s pretty well impossible to say the word in a jaunty way. It means world weariness or, more literally, world pain and I am noticing quite a bit of it about at the moment.

The pommies are in a state of deep depression because things are not looking too good in the UK. Interest rates have shot up and a fixed period mortgage bond which would have cost you 2% just over two years ago will now cost you 6% or more. If you were in the happy position of owning properties to rent out to supplement your monthly income you now need to make sure they are properly insulated and you may even need to install a heat pump for a modest outlay of £10 000. For many people the upgrading of rental property will prove almost unaffordable which means the properties will become unmarketable unless the next owner is prepared to spend the bucks to make the property climate compliant. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Then there’s the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) tax which came into force on 29th August. This brilliant piece of nonsense now means that older cars with (allegedly) higher exhaust emissions will pay a fine of £12.50 should they venture into the zone. Since many people cannot afford or justify upgrading their vehicles to meet these demands there has been great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The scheme has been extended from central London to cover the greater London area and the place where I grew up twelve miles south of London is now caught in the trap. Add to this the ludicrous speed limit of 20mph in many parts of London (the Archbishop of Canterbury got nicked for doing 25mph in a 20mph area) and one wonders why anybody bothers to buy a Porsche these days.

But, aside from rail strikes, morons glueing themselves to artworks to protest against fossil fuels, the rise of the woman with a penis in modern culture, the constant reminder that people with a white skin are contemptible and should start stumping up reparation to the vast army of the oppressed all is well in the sceptred isle. Particularly if you are a migrant and you know that all your basic needs will be met forever more at someone else’s expense.

The USA is in an even worse state. Apart from having to deal with a mentally challenged President and Deputy President they have the horrible prospect of a looming election with no credible nominees of either party to lead what was once regarded as the world’s most enviable place to live. No more sadly.

Most big cities now have tented camps for the homeless and massive drug problems on the streets. When in New York I was a regular at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station. It was an easy walk from the Waldorf Astoria hotel (now mothballed and owned by the Chinese) and it was a safe walk. No longer apparently because homeless migrants and asylum seekers line the streets waiting to be registered at the nearby Roosevelt Hotel. Crime is rife in New York as it is in many US cities and an added attraction for tourists are the many drug addicts living rough under bridges and in doorways.

The drug problem has become so massive in the US that it has become pointless to prosecute drug use because it doesn’t deter drug use or solve the problem and it takes up too much police time. So on your next visit to Seattle, LA or San Francisco expect to see drug zombies with open sores on their arms and legs staggering around the place looking for their next hit. The speed of the US demise in the past ten years has been amazing but there are no signs of things improving which must thrill the likes of China and Russia.

Much of Europe as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand find themselves in the same position with wokeness, biological denialism, cancel culture and climate change all sapping far more energy than they are entitled to. The mumbo jumbo theory of diversity, inclusivity and equity (DIE) has been so well packaged by the charlatans who charge a small fortune to teach this gibberish that normally sentient people fall obediently into line for fear of being labelled bigots or racist if they resist.

The fact that this is a wickedly Orwellian example of ‘doublespeak’ either hasn’t occurred to many people or, more likely, they feel it safer to ignore it. For example, Diversity really means Uniformity. For if your diversity allows you to hold an opinion which differs from the accepted narrative then you’re in big trouble. You can’t get much more diverse than some nations colonising weaker nations and getting rich on the proceeds but that leads to all sorts of whimpering and pleas for restitution although cash will do nicely thank you.

Similarly, Inclusivity is anything but. If you happen to be white, male, middle aged, heterosexual and a model tax paying citizen with no criminal record then you’re unlikely to tick the inclusivity box.

Equity isn’t so much about everyone having the same sized bank balance as it is about consciously giving everyone an equal chance in life. In sport this would kill TV viewership completely but as far as the rest of life is concerned the wokists believe that a one legged, previously disadvantaged, lesbian, whale loving single parent should enjoy an equal crack at becoming a neurosurgeon as much as the heteronormative bastard who eventually landed the job after years of study and specialisation. And we wonder why there are so many cretins in positions that they are woefully ill equipped for?

Fortunately none of these global problems are likely to affect South Africa now we have cemented our buddy relationship with good, outward looking, democratic nations like Russia and China.

Poor old Xi Jinping only seems to have two facial expressions - one of utter boredom and another of not quite such utter boredom. Animated he definitely aint so it was difficult to tell quite how thrilled he was when Pres Frogboiler popped a blue ribbon over his head with the Order of South Africa attached and a very handsome scroll was presented.

Since he stumped up quite a lot of moolah to alleviate our woeful electricity supply situation shortly after one must assume he was as thrilled as he is likely to get. But as they say in the small ads…. T’s and C’s apply.

There were rumours that the Indian Prime Minister refused to get off the private jet at Waterkloof Air Base because only a lowly cabinet minister was sent to greet him while Frogboiler was schmoozing Xi. So Paul (Speedy) Mashatile was dispatched with his 9 car blue light gang to give Narendra Modi the thrilling drive of a lifetime to Sandton. Who knows, they might even have had time to kick a few heads in on the way.

Of Brazil not much was reported and that’s almost certainly because Brazil has become almost as much of a basket case as South Africa and scores almost the same on the Corruption Perception Index as we do. The difference is that we were buying the drinks this time round so the guests had to be nice to us.

What was interesting is that the BRICS pow wow got very little coverage in the international media. This was probably because Wagner Group supremo Yevgeny Prighozin’s private jet developed a mechanical fault and crashed killing all on board and that tended to distract from the exciting news that a new world order was being created down here in Johannesburg.

However, after a couple of days the UK Daily Telegraph published a column with the title “BRICS is now a motley crew of failing states” which is a little unfair I think. Mostly failing states would have been more accurate.

‘You lie down with dogs and you get fleas’ goes the famous saying and many South Africans must be wondering what on earth we are now doing in a flea ridden bed with the likes of Ethiopia and Iran. I can understand us cosying up to the Arabs much in the same way as I would be particularly fond of rich uncles who would give me a pound note whenever they visited. But Ethiopia and Iran are more like those whiskered aunts who smelt of moth balls and would want to give you a big hug and a slobbery kiss.

I assume the next, expanded BRICS meeting will be spent clearing up some of our differences over gender based violence; particularly the matter of female circumcision which is hugely popular in Ethiopia. Our other new BRICS partners might also like to clarify a few points on their attitude to female emancipation before we all move forward as a united team ready to take on the world.

Then there are the issues of LGBT rights to be considered. Will members of our gay community be welcomed in Saudi Arabia and Iran or will they become a tad nervous when shown to the room on the top floor of the hotel with a glorious balcony view.

Then there’s that tricky issue of freedom of speech and a free press to consider. The current makeup of BRICS doesn’t set a great example as far as that is concerned and our new bedfellows are just as bad. So should we be getting in line with the new world order and only allowing government approved journos to comment on national issues? Should we be ‘disappearing’ those who dare question the wisdom of the ruling party and mock our beloved leaders? Only time will tell but I’m not optimistic.

Finally, the leaders of the five current BRICS countries are all septuagenerians. The leader of that economic powerhouse Iran is 83. At that age most sensible people join a bowls club and enrol for charity work at the local Hospice shop. As a fellow septuagenerian I find that I really have no great interest in what happens after I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Hence my complete disinterest in the climate debate and preventing the polar ice caps from melting. If I was in government I would have a similarly lackadaisical attitude towards the future of our country. On the other hand I wouldn’t want to give up all the perks and the high salary. And that is where our problem really lies.