36. Love thine enemy
In an unnerving moment at the end of the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev’s smiling spokesman, Gennadi Gerasimov, taunted the West with the words, ‘We have done the most terrible thing to you that we could possibly have done. We have deprived you of your enemy.’
What rubbish. We have managed to substitute a perfectly adequate new common enemy – and I do not refer to terrorism, the non-Christian world, SARS, AIDS, or any of those lesser ones. I refer, of course, to France.
There are times when I despair of this planet, and this is one of them. Look, I’m a Brit, and we have been at war with the French (on and off) for centuries – the only difference being we now send soccer fans over in buses to flatten their cities. But we still ...