Saturday, November 8, 2008


Late on Wednesday morning I climbed up the hill to the Vecina Bar for a coffee and some breakfast, an 11.15 breakfast. Well after all I had been up late and early watching the US elections results on CNN, TVE, BBC and Sky.

Already at the bar, on his second visit of the day, was Alberto. Now here is proof positive that Botox and monkey glands work for the mature man. Alberto told me that on his first visit the TV was confirming the news that Barack Obama was the next US President. An old gentleman of the village, who could not read or write, was next to him at the bar then as he was now. Alberto confided that when Obama appeared on screen and it was made clear to him that he was America’s new president; he mumbled words unknown to the clergy and gentler folk. There I won’t delve but we did wonder if he even knew where the USA was.

If you have ever watched the Jay Leno Late Show on US network NBC you will no doubt have seen a regular spot in which he goes out on to the street to ask a series of passers-by questions which you and I, well you anyway, would be find easy peasy. Some were about the USA, others about the wider world, but needless to say the majority of the answers given, whilst hilarious, were wrong, very wrong.

We should not be surprised. For now rumours emerge that the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, thought Africa was a country and didn’t realise it was a continent. She thought South Africa was merely a region in the larger nation of Africa. I do not know what is the most frightening that she could have been a heart beat away from the presidency or that John McCain believed that had he kicked the bucket she was capable of stepping in to his shoes.

We must also remember that McCain wasn’t sure who Spain’s premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was – he thought he was the leader of a rogue South American State. Countless Americans know that various States have towns named London, Paris and Rome but seem bemused that they are also the capitals of European nations. Did we copy them?

Britons should not be smug either. When I was young Sir Winston Churchill was a national hero. I mean a real hero not a McCain-style hero. Churchill died on Sunday January 24, 1965 and was given a State funeral the Saturday after. I had a paper round over that momentous period so whilst I didn’t report on the news - I read all about it. Recently a survey was carried out in the UK when children were asked who Churchill was – and they said the bulldog in the insurance commercials. In another survey earlier this year a quarter of Britons thought that Churchill
never existed...but Sherlock Holmes did!

Truly, never in the field of human ignorance has so little been known by so many.

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