Returning after a short break to find pandemonium reigning across the land, it’s hard to know where to start.
Such are the overwhelming tensions in the world right now, it might be restful to begin with the Yawn of the Week: the return of the Higgs Boson.
Yes, everybody’s favourite imaginary “particle” is back with a bang, so to speak. Never has a speck of dust caused such a commotion.
Those very excitable folk over at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva have teamed up with the obsolete Tevatron Collider in America to scale the heights of Sigma 4 delirium.
What is Sigma 4, you’re asking? It’s a step on the road to Sigma 5.
Er … and that is basically just a number on a list where 5 is at the top. Quantum science really is easy when you pay attention.
Where was I? Oh, yes, the Higgs. This minute smudge (theoretical, at this stage) has, it is claimed, been discovered at last. At least some people think so. Others are less sure, and most are frankly incredulous, including this diarist.
Their last “discovery”, you may remember, was that neutrinos could travel faster than light, something totally verboten in this universe, at least by the demigod Einstein.
Their blushes were spared by the useful discovery of a faulty connector plug. The world sighed with relief. We couldn’t have speeding neutrinos joyriding all over the universe, could we? Mein Gott!
But back to the Higgs. Tomorrow something will be announced. Nobody quite knows yet, which gives the impression that they’re busking somewhat.
Maybe they need another faulty plug. Can anyone help?
* * * * *
These are interesting times: a new banking scandal of Wagnerian proportions before the last one is mended; the House of Commons seething over David Cameron’s serial flip-flops on an inevitable EU referendum — can any man hold so many conflicting opinions at one time? — and a general sense of monumental disintegration.
It’s beginning to get serious.
My first inclination was that David Cameron is not up to being a Prime Minister for our times and should go. On further in-depth consideration, a more nuanced view prevailed: David Cameron is not up to being a Prime Minister for our times and should go before the end of the month.
It peeves me to say so since I began as a staunch supporter of the man. He’s articulate, presentable, pleasant and, at first glance, eminently prime-ministerial. His problem is, he has no settled views of his own, which indicates a deficiency of character.
To coin a phrase: like a cushion, he assumes the shape of the last person who sat on him. A major flaw in the armoury.
He appears to relish the Lib Dem element in the government because it allows him to be vague on every issue, and even change tack in mid stream. In short, he’s the most exasperating leader we’ve had since Tony Blair.
If only he could see it, the electorate yearns for a clutch of decisive policy stances from their government now — not after the election — especially on membership of the European Union and an end to soggy coalition rule.
Britain needs strong leadership, not an amorphous blob. If we did, we could draft in the Higgs Boson.
* * * * *
The astonishing success of the Daily Mail continues. At the time of a brutal contraction of print journalism, the paper seems to transcend the zeitgeist.
Our small, riverside local newsagent was packed to the gunnels with copies on Saturday morning. Apart from the normal pile in the racks, there were two heaps on the floor and yet more on either side of the till.
I counted just six copies of our daily regional paper on the shelves. Interestingly, it’s owned by Northcliffe, part of the Daily Mail group. Such disparity says a lot about modern demographics as well as tastes.
On top of that, we read that the Mail Online is now the most visited newspaper website in the world, even in America, a notoriously insular market.
A recent site I edited, with a largely American readership, had lengthy comment threads dominated by stories from the Mail Online. The commenters were mostly intelligent professionals.
True, the juicy, bikini-clad celebrity stories in the right-hand column has a lot to do with it, but in these dismal times, any success is to be heartily applauded.
* * * * *
Do you get the impression, as I do, that we are all waiting for something to happen? Something pretty nasty.
* The Eurozone could collapse in a heap, cutting a swathe through dozens of banking dominoes.
* Iran could use the West’s current distraction to create mayhem in its sphere of influence by shutting the Straits of Hormuz and blocking the world’s oil supplies.
* A major Middle-Eastern country could descend into chaos.
I regret having to announce that the worst has already happened:
Tony Blair wants to be Prime Minister again.
* * * * *
Profundity of the Week
“Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time.” Meister Eckhart, 13th century Catholic mystic.
… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.
A Mystic in the Modern World is coming soon.
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