Back in the 1960s there was a hit musical – well, perhaps a minor hit musical – running in the West End in London called Stop the World – I Want to Get Off! Things were not half as bad then as they are now. But if that ever – ever since Noah built himself an ark – looked like the best option for any members of the human race who still have a head on their shoulders, it must be now.
The big hit from the show was What Kind of Fool Am I? It contained the lines,
What kind of man is this?
An empty shell
A lonely cell in which
An empty heart must dwell
Allister Heath sums up our predicament rather well in this morning’s Daily Telegraph, centering it fairly and squarly in the context of the apparent political disaster unfolding in the most powerful country in the world. Emptiness is abiding sense we get looking across the Atlantic today.
It is remarkable, Heath observes, how a country that is so good at business, science, the arts and just about everything else can be so bad at politics. There are now 318 million Americans, including many of the world’s most creative and brilliant people: the US electorate ought by rights to be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing its president.
Yet from this immense talent pool, the American political system has managed to narrow the race down to two supremely flawed human beings, neither of whom remotely deserves to be in the White House.
On the one hand we have Hillary Clinton, a scandal-ridden, uninspiring candidate whose Left-wing policies would destroy what is left of US exceptionalism; on the other is Donald Trump, a demagogue who specialises in whipping up hate and threatening cataclysmic trade wars.
The West End show ran for more than a year and ran on Broadway for 555 performances. It’s revival on Broadway 20 years later was a flop and it suffered a similar fate in Lonon in the late 80s. Perhaps it needs another revival now to remind us of the consequences of the selfish follies of our time
Read Allister Heath’s full article here.