LET us today consider two rival coach tours into the future.
Parked on the left is an unwashed Greyhound bus with the words “Make America Great Again” plastered on the side, only for the penultimate word to have been sabotaged by green campaigners, who have scrawled “Dirty” over it.
The driver has left the engine running and the coach is billowing out a diesel cloud. On the front, the flickering lights read Trump’s Tours. The driver wears an ill-fitting cap over his straw flop bearing another slogan: “Pittsburgh not Paris.” The passengers are mostly coal-miners or Republican politicians who can’t see beyond the last election ‘donation’ they received from an oil company.
The engine rumbles on, the coach rattles and the air turns even thicker with fumes, so thick that you can barely see the coach.
Parked next to the Greyhound is a smart new coach with the single word “Theresa” painted on each side, while on the front the flickering lights read: “Mystery Brexit Tour.”
The coach is pulling a trailer carriage plastered with posters saying: “The 48 per cent.” The passengers in the main part of the coach look a little nervous, but the chatter is hopeful. “I’m sure she knows where she’s going,” one man says to his wife.
“So you keep saying,” says his wife, clinging determinedly to her handbag.
In the trailer carriage, the passengers look glumly unconvinced, and grumble that the driver is paying them no attention at all.
The tour driver isn’t anywhere to be seen, and then the rumour spreads through the passengers that Mrs May won’t be driving the coach at all. She doesn’t want to face all those questions – sorry, on-coming headlights. Instead she has sent an imperious and grumpy-looking woman called Rudd to do the job for her.
The two coaches are ready for the off. The dirty Greyhound rouses to a roar and then reverses at great speed, heading forever backwards, while the driver sticks up a finger to the watching crowd or indeed world.
As for the coach hired by Mrs May, that sets off at a nervous pace and the mystery turns out to be that she will lock herself in the on-board lavatory and refuse to say anything at all about Brexit. The journalists who try to shout questions through the locked door can only elicit one answer: “You don’t want Corbyn driving this bus, do you?” And after that she starts making a deathly sound that turns out to be the laugh of a woman who doesn’t really know how to laugh. “At least we can’t see that smile,” says one of the journalists with a shudder.
Not long into the journey, the 48 Per Cent trailer is detached and left behind in the road.
What strange journeys these are. Trump the Terrible says that he won’t be signing the Paris Accord on climate change and will instead be fulfilling his “solemn duty to protect America and its citizens” – by refusing to clean up pollution and dismissing climate change as a myth. This may be deemed an odd sort of protection.
“We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore – and they won’t be,” he says.
Oh, but Donald – they are. They haven’t stopped laughing since you blagged your way into the Off-White House (the pollution is to blame for that). Only the tears they are now crying are real and caused by frustration.
Trump’s refusal to sign is mostly a symbolic act, as well as a shambolic one. But it is also a signal that he is a man of the past and not the future. Here, if we needed it, is further proof that Trump is a disgrace to the country he wants to make great – and to the wider world.
As for the Brexit election called by Mrs Maybe, this is turning out not to be about Brexit at all. Here we are at the end of the Brexit election in which Brexit dare not speak its name.
Are we any nearer to understanding what Theresa May truly thinks about Brexit? Nope – all we get are patriotic platitudes and pleas to trust her ‘strength’. And vicious but empty slogans from Mrs May as lamely parroted across the front page of today’s Daily Express – “Corbyn doesn’t believe in Britain.”
Does that mean anything at all? Nope again, nope times twenty. Mrs May called this election to strengthen her hand in the Brexit deals, or so she tells us. And yet she has run a cowardly campaign in which she has given no details about Brexit at all.
And we still don’t know where that bloody bus is going.