A lovely white crow…


Here’s a term it would be good to get used to: cognitive dissonance. Lots of it soon to be around in England and Wales, and a damned sight more in the US.

It goes like this:

You have a belief in something. It’s that a big man in the sky is watching you, or that you are a gifted singer on a TV talent show, or that Nigel Farage cares about you, or that multi-millionaire fascist and Putin aficionado Donald Trump will re-open your factory. You are a rational and smart guy. You make good judgements. You know what’s what, what side your bread’s buttered on, what day of the week it is. You’re no kind of a horses’ ass. That’s other people, the dupes, schmucks and klutzes. Yet there are all these… facts. Damned data. Evidence. In fact, every thing you can see and hear points out that you made shit judgements. Things keep cropping up and not always on the bad tv channels.

What’s to do? If this stuff’s real then you are not as smart as you thought you were. If that stuff’s real then you are the dupe, the schmuck, the klutz… jeees… even thinking that for a moment makes you anxious, unhappy, scared. Your self-esteem is under the dog somewhere. Gotta get that boy back again!

You’ve staked so much on this, and here we go… maybe it’s not so… No! No. Too much. Tooooooooo much. Let’s get away from that thought, like, quick.

What to do? What the hell to do? Any way out? YES! Denial. Let’s reframe this so-called evidence. Filter it. Spin it. Let’s just ignore it. It’s not there at all. Some liar told us it was. It’s not. Let’s construct convoluted explanations about why these ‘facts’, as some choose to call them, don’t mean a thing. What evidence? I see no evidence.

Or you could grow up and accept that you can have your own opinions but not your own facts. You could accept that the moon landings weren’t faked, that Elvis isn’t alive and well and driving a truck in Memphis, and that Farage and Trump are self-serving fascist, racist, lying charlatans and you have bought their package of lies when the truth of what they were was staring you in the face.

Or… or… Oh… I don’t know. Tony Blair is still saying he was right about those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Cognitive dissonance bastard.

Does Donald trump?


So I’m back home in Northern Ireland, up on the Antrim Coast near White Rocks. That’s a big beach, little rocky islands called the Skerries out in the cold sea on one side, tall sandhills on the other. Beyond the tall sandhills is the golf course where Darren Clarke, the 2011 Open Champion, plays.
I’m strolling along there under the hard blue sky in the cutting breeze on this bright clear morning, not a soul in sight, when I’m a bit surprised to see three men in heavy dark overcoats come struggling over the sandhills and slipping and sliding down onto the beach in front of me. There’s something vaguely familiar about the bulky yellow-haired one in the middle. As they come closer, him doing all the talking, I realize it’s Donald Trump.
I pause and wait for them. They can see I’ve got something to say and, maybe from a desire to curry favour with the natives, they stop. ‘Good morning,’ says Donald.


‘Donald Trump,’ I say. ‘Stylish hair-wearer, television personality whose handling of erratic nut job Gary Busey in Season Eleven of US Celebrity Apprentice was widely commended, entrepreneur and multimillionaire asswipe, no doubt you are considering buying the golf course on the other side of those sandhills now you have been made unwelcome in Scotland despite your trillions. Now you know from personal experience how it feels to go to someone else’s country and be made unwelcome. Not a good feeling, is it? And yet you subject countless refugees and immigrants from Syria to Mexico to insult and refusal, people travelling out of necessity more than from the desire for a round of golf, and most of whom don’t have two pennies, or in your parlance, millions, to rub together?’
He gazes out to sea, where he’s looking directly at Scotland except it’s too far away, thinking. As well he might.
‘How does it feel to be an undesirable, Donald,’ I go on, ‘standing there, hair askew in the Irish breezes, a heavy either side, knowing everyone you meet wishes you would go home and roll around in some dollars and forget about them? But please keep up the run at the Republican Party candidacy for that will let Hillary Clinton into the presidency, or at a pinch even the preferable Bernie Sanders.’
He shakes his head. The hair doesn’t move. Just the head. ‘Come on,’ he says to his aides/bodyguards/assistants/adopted children. ‘Nothing for us here.’
And you know something – Donald Trump never did buy the Royal Portrush Golf Club, the sandhills and White Rocks beach. Nor the Skerries. Nor the sea.
‘And remember,’ I call after them, ‘the old question remains: does Donald trump? And the answer is yes, every time he opens his mouth.’ And none of them turn around.