In the UK, we have a tradition amongst the older generation or giving our houses slightly cynical puns such as Costaplenty or Dunroamin’. I have inherited the more cynical humour of my Grandfather who used to joke about calling his mortgaged home Halifax House. There is a large, private house near where I grew up called Nirvana and there is a Soviet-era missile launcher in the garden.
You might have noticed that I have a deeply cynical but fertile imagination, but even I don’t know what to make of that.
Anyway, yesterday I drove to Newcastle to work an event and promised myself a break on the way for a refreshing beverage.
Foolishly, I had decided against buying a bag of crisps to go with my homemade sandwiches when I had refuelled my car in the Cooperative garage the previous night. At the time I thought 85p was excessive for a bag of deep-fried potato slices, even if they are ridge-cut and generously seasoned. Silly me, I still wanted a packet after three hours driving and was left at Washington Services with Hobson’s Choice.
Whereas I do not object to paying a little extra for the convenience of not having to leave the motorway, £3.35 for a medium latté and £1.20 for a bag of McCoy’s is just taking the piss.
On a long journey such as this, I often listen to BBC Radio 4 despite my reservations about their right-wing bias, and yesterday one of the news items was about how Tony Blair has just been given a Global Legacy Award by the UK charity Save The Children.
This kind of Double-Think would not seem out of place in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Henry Kissinger authorises the carpet-bombing of Cambodia, which in turn leads to the radicalisation of Cambodians, the rise of the Khmer Rouge and ultimately two million corpses in crowded corners of foreign killing fields, that will be forever Kampuchea.
And he gets the Nobel Peace Prize.
US President Barack Obama similarly sanctions the indiscriminate and distant bombing of Jihadi Johnny Foreigner.
And he gets the Nobel Peace Prize.
Tony Blair, in cahoots with the United States government, either through design, or negligence, or maybe just sheer incompetence, contributes to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, including tens of thousands of children.
And he gets the Save The Children Global Legacy Award.
To be fair on Save the Children, he certainly has established a global legacy, but I think it’s justified to assume that they consider the award an affirmation. He was also awarded “Philanthropist of the Year” by GQ magazine, but that’s just an upmarket Daily Mail so it doesn’t really count despite the irony of Blair earning shitloads as an advisor or lobbyist to foreign dictators.
It’s only a matter of time before he gets a Nobel too.
At the age of fifty, many of my peers are thinking of retirement, but not I. I am destined to be traveling the motorways of England, Scotland and Wales for some time yet, only occasionally indulging myself in the grotesquely over-priced treats, and my own Costapacket will have to wait. However, I couldn’t help thinking “Where do war criminals go when they retire?”.
I guess Kissinger must have a portrait in the attic, although he is no oil painting in real life, but I am surprised he is still alive. If he ever does decide to retire, I think it’s pretty obvious he will call his pied-à-terre (geddit?) in Cambodia called Dunbombin’.
Obama could have an “extraordinary” retirement home in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, called Dunrenderin’.
And Tony Blair will end up somewhere in the Middle East, what’s left of it, in an English colonial-style cottage called Dunlobbyin’.