+The US Congress has agreed to publish Donald Trump’s tax returns—at long last. This presents a conundrum for Trump, whose usual response to anything truthful revealed about himself is to call it fake news. If he suggests that these tax returns are fake, perhaps he should be prosecuted for submitting fake returns. The irony is that in all probability, they will have a high fake content. This will be an interesting story.
+Jeremy Clarkson says he hates our beloved Princess Meghan and would like to see her pelted with excrement. A lovely piece which the S*n was happy to publish. It’s the kind of stuff they pay him to produce, no matter that he subsequently apologised and the S*n removed the crap from its website. I have to apologise, somewhat belatedly to Clarkson though—once, whilst talking to a group of trainee journalists, one of them asked me what I thought of Clarkson. Jokingly I suggested he should be strung up from a lamppost. I shouldn’t have been surprised when the comment ended up in a newspaper diary column. It gave the great petrolhead the opportunity to castigate me in his Sunday Times column the next week. He called me a climate change anorak. How offensive was that?
+I had the pleasure of being in the audience for a performance of Handel’s Messiah in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw last Saturday. Very good it was, and after the interval in which free wine was served the whole thing seemed to pick up gusto, with the audience itching to follow tradition and stand up for the Hallelujah Chorus. Apparently that tradition began when George II attended a performance and was so moved by it he stood up. It is de rigueur for everyone else to follow suit. But during the performance I was moved to wonder whether the Netherlands might be in the running to be nominated one of the most civilised countries in the world? (The wine was working wonders at this point.) Or might it be known as one of the most laid-back countries in the world? Anyway, a couple of days later Mark Rutte, the Dutch PM made an official apology for his country’s role in the slave trade. The audience for the Messiah, so far as I could see was near enough 100% white. George II may have been moved by the Chorus in 1742, but all that Christian blessedness did nothing to stem the booming slave trade. Random thoughts.