DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Joe Biden's lack of grip is deeply worrying
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Joe Biden’s lack of grip is deeply worrying
Even before his visit to these islands, most people in Britain were already aware that US President Joe Biden was not in his physical or intellectual prime.
Online compilations from the last year show him regularly losing his thread in public, mangling autocue lines and once, alarmingly, being unable to find his way off a stage after making a speech.
Since he arrived in Belfast on Tuesday, however, we have been able to observe his stuttering, gaffe-prone performances first hand.
In an elderly relative, they would be a minor cause for concern. Mr Biden is in his 80s, after all. But in the de facto leader of the free world, such an obvious lack of grasp is beyond scary.
This, after all, is the man in control of the most potent nuclear button on the planet.
Since he arrived in Belfast on Tuesday, however, we have been able to observe Biden’s stuttering, gaffe-prone performances first hand (Pictured: President Joe Biden meets with Irish President Michael Higgins, in Dublin)
His trip was billed as an opportunity to celebrate 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement and sweet-talk Nationalists and Loyalists into restoring power sharing at Stormont.
Yet it was clear he wasn’t really engaged. After a cursory bit of glad-handing, he jetted off to Louth and Mayo in search of his ancestral roots.
It’s hard to see why he bothered going to Belfast at all. Everyone knew he was no honest broker. He wears his Irish Republicanism and concomitant anti-Britishness like a badge.
His is not a modern, rational form of Republicanism but the cloying, misty-eyed kind, which harks mawkishly back to the rebellions and grievances of long ago.
On Wednesday his prejudices and forgetfulness combined in the most embarrassing moment of the tour so far.
At a pub in Dundalk, he praised Irish rugby international and distant relative Rob Kearney for ‘beating the hell out of the Black and Tans’.
He meant the All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby team but there was something distinctly Freudian about his mistake.
The Black and Tans were, of course, the controversial force of special constables recruited into the RIC to suppress the IRA during the Irish war of independence.
At a pub in Dundalk, he praised Irish rugby international and distant relative Rob Kearney for ‘beating the hell out of the Black and Tans’
Although that was over 100 years ago, it is still apparently at the front of the President’s mind. The IRA were no less brutal during the Troubles but time has moved on. It’s time Mr Biden realised this.
With his vice-president Kamala Harris virtually missing in action, these are perilous times for American democracy. And they show no signs of improving any time soon.
How truly terrifying to think that at the next election, US voters may be choosing between an octogenarian seemingly suffering cognitive decline and a puffed-up narcissist fighting to stay out of prison. China, Russia and all the tyrants of the world must be rubbing their hands.
Rishi on the rise
It would be Panglossian to believe the Tories are once again marching the high road to election victory. But there are signs they are coming back into contention.
Rishi Sunak has managed to soothe his party after months of turmoil and is beginning to cut through with the voters
With adept diplomacy and sound policy announcements, Rishi Sunak has managed to soothe his party after months of turmoil and is beginning to cut through with the voters. A 24-point poll deficit has been cut to 11, according to one recent survey.
Labour, meanwhile, has become the nasty party. With nothing credible to offer in policy terms, it has resorted to playing dirty – its attack dogs targeting the PM with a campaign of grubby smears.
The upcoming local elections will be a litmus test of public opinion. Though braced for a bad night, the Conservatives will be hoping to see some green shoots of recovery.
Although in pole position, perhaps Sir Keir Starmer shouldn’t be measuring up the Downing Street curtains just yet.
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Rishi Sunak’s views on gender are a rare and welcome outburst of common sense
But Mr Sunak’s intervention is a rare and welcome outburst of common sense in an area of debate where so many seem to have totally lost the plot.
One of the chief culprits, of course, is Sir Keir Starmer who, after tying himself in verbal knots for months to avoid alienating the trans rights-obsessed, ultra-woke wing of his party, finally pronounced earlier this month that ‘99.9 per cent of women haven’t got a penis’.
Statistically, this means that Sir Keir thinks that one in a thousand British women do have a penis – a palpable nonsense. But the Labour leader has to say this so as not to deny the belief – totemic to so many of his colleagues – that a biological male must be allowed to call themself a woman, and access women’s spaces such as toilets and changing rooms, if they simply feel like one.
Mr Sunak’s intervention is a rare and welcome outburst of common sense in an area of debate where so many seem to have totally lost the plot
Statistically, this means that Sir Keir thinks that one in a thousand British women do have a penis – a palpable nonsense
This is why this debate – so bewildering and alienating to millions – matters.
It’s about the way a tiny but vociferous minority have been allowed to hijack rights that women have fought for over decades.
It’s why Mr Sunak was right to speak out so clearly, so decisively. He should do so again at every opportunity between now and the next election.
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