We need to start learning some lessons from the past

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

NEWS COMMENT: A respectful salute to the new guards at the palace

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It might sound like an odd thing to say, but there seems to be so much news around at the minute that if you blink you’ll miss something important.

And most of it is terrifying.

On the one hand we have the increasingly horrific spectre of Donald Trump in the White House, groping his way to the most powerful job in the US.

And then we have the tumbling value of the pound, which will make my wine bill from France a little hard to stomach – and which is offset only by investors capitalising on the exchange rate, so boosting the FTSE100.

The alarmingly-titled ‘hard exit’ has been mentioned with equally alarming regularity, mainly about how we’re all doomed if we don’t go softly into the Brexit night.

And then, my personal favourite, we are having discussions about what to do about Russia bombing Aleppo.

We can’t enforce a no-fly zone, because shooting down a Russian plane would be life-limiting for most of us, I should imagine.

So good old Boris Johnson has suggested we demonstrate outside the Russian Embassy.

Okay then. At least it won’t start World War Three. Probably.

But while we’re thinking up witty slogans to really show the Russians what’s what, they’re busy cosying up to the Chinese.

Which, to be fair, they’ve been doing for quite a while, but which now seems to be moving towards a missile test consummation next year.

I do wonder if someone fell asleep in the 1980s and woke up today and switched on the telly to watch the news whether they’d think they’d been napping for hours rather than decades.

Back then we had a TV personality as president, a female prime minister, a foreign policy suspicious of Johnny Foreigner bar none, an escalating spat with Russia and problems with the Chinese. Oh yes, and a couple of little ‘interventions’ in the Middle East.

They say the past is a foreign country, and it looks like we’re Brexiting from learning lessons from it as quickly as Donald Trump plummets down the polls. Will we never learn?

TIME SOUTHERN RAIL AND THE RMT SORTED THEMSELVES OUT

Talking of transport, isn’t it about time Southern Rail and the RMT union sorted themselves out?

It’s right of the union to stand up over matters of passenger safety and its members’ jobs. But Anthony Smith, spokesman for Transport Focus, was right when he said the original causes of the dispute have become lost on passengers as their transport woes go on and on.

The next strike is due to start just after midnight tonight and finish on Thursday (at least it was at the time of writing this column).

I hope the head of Southern Rail and the head of the RMT can actually manage to meet like they both say they want to. But after all these months of talk breakdowns, cancellations and delays, perhaps saying sorry to passengers would be a start.

BRILLIANT SERVICE, BUT I’M GLAD I DON’T PAY THAT EVERY DAY

You know how it is, when you have something on your doorstep that you can visit whenever you feel like and you wake up one day and realise you haven’t been for years.

I’m like that with the Isle of Wight. I know it’s there, I know it’s lovely, but apart from a very quick overnight stay last year and the Isle of Wight Festival in 2012, I haven’t been for ages.

Work took me to the island last week, so for the first time in years I drove on to the car ferry and headed to Fishbourne.

It’s a brilliant service that Wightlink offers, with friendly and helpful staff, but I couldn’t help but baulk at the £51 cost for what eventually ended up as a two-hour trip. The work credit card took the hit, but I’m glad I don’t have to do that commute.