Being in Africa appears to make me more whimsical that when I am in my book-lined study at home. One of the joys of having small children is that you can get to do childish things, with an excuse. I took Cameron to the Hornby model centre in Broadstairs a few weeks ago. I never tire of watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And recently I re-watched Mary Poppins. I never much liked this, and still am not a great fan, but I had never before realised that the entire thing is an attack on materialism and the banks, particularly the City of London.
There is a moment when Banks finally rebels and turns on the big banker and says: “It turns out, with due respect, when all is said and done, that there’s no such thing as you!” The world of bankers has become even more of a fantasy since, of meaningless “wealth” unrelated to production, and casino speculation.
But the phrase sent my mind flitting to Newt Gingrich. The Palestinians are very real indeed – I used to have a Palestinian girlfriend, and she definitely existed. Palestine is mentioned in Herodotus, and if the bible bashing Gingrich can’t see that “Palestine” and “Philistine” are the same word, he is a greater fool than I supposed. Or does he believe in etymological creationism, that all words were formed by God on the same day in precisely their current form?
The misery of the Palestinian people, squeezed into ever shrinking bantustans, is very very real. What Gingrich is doing is indicating his acquiescence in the genocidal policy of Israel towards the Palestinians. Given what is already happening, it is not a great leap from declaring someone does not exist, to seeking to make that a reality.
Gingrich appears an evil, corrupt, debased manifestation of the real agenda of the United States. He is the picture in America’s attic, with all its evil shown up-front. The man is a walking caricature of seething hatreds. Surely it is Newt Gingrich who does not really exist?