In the mid-1990s, I accidentally invented an alter-ego, Lord Cornelius Poncenby-Smythe, a caricatured benevolent English aristocrat. I was booking a table for a New Year’s Eve bash in Budapest. At an Indian restaurant, obviously. They asked me for the names of all the guests, which I invented on the fly, and Cornelius was born. I still feel sorry for the guy who had to write the placecards. Lord Cornelius is with me still and, from time to time, insists on having his say…

What Ho! Now listen here. I’m becoming more than a little discombobulated by the state of the world. The state of England cricket, for a start. No, sorry, I mustn’t digress; the poor Americans will get lost. Now, pay attention. This is the first of a series of posts that’ll put you right.

Today, Russia and the United States.

Look, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m afraid blunt I must be. The world’s going to hell in a handcart, and nobody’s paying any attention. There. I’ve said it.

This Putin chap. He’s not really cut out to be a ruler, you see. No class. I’ve known some splendid Russians, full of bearing, dignity and poetry. And the lunches! Good Lord, those Cossacks know how to lunch; there was one time I was out with Prince Sergei and Baron Ivan…sorry, sorry, a story for another time.

Where was I? Ah, yes, Putin. A ratty little street thug, brimming with malevolence and bile. Cunning though. During those damned lockdowns, he’s obviously swallowed a shelf full of history books, spat out the bits he didn’t enjoy and come up with a fantastical view of how the world should be. Unless stopped, he’s going to restore “Greater Russia” or the USSR, as it was in my day. I’m not making this up - he is. He’s even said it out loud. Oddly, we don’t seem to be listening.

Back in dear old Grandpater’s day, we Brits kept an eye on the Russkies, but since the Second World War, that role has fallen to West Britain, or the USA as the damned rebels insist on calling it. Quite what’s happenning over there is frankly a mystery to everybody. The current chap seems OK. A bit long in the tooth perhaps, but what he lacks in youthful dynamism, he has in experience, or “lived experience”, as the youth inexplicably call it. I’m told by students of the colonies that he’s likely to be opposed by the cove that was in last time and that the orange one might win. I don’t mind telling you; I spilt my sherry at that revelation.

Far be it from me to comment on Republican v Democrat. Nor would I wish to venture into the apparent minefield of truth nor heaven forfend, God. However, there are times when a fellow must gird his loins and wade in.

Trump is an absolute cad. Forget court cases or what anyone else says about him. Just look at him. Listen to him. He couldn’t find his arse in his trousers (although he knows where his todger is alright). He’d take all of a fellow’s birds on a shoot. One can just tell. He even cheats at golf. I wouldn’t put him in charge of a spaniel, let alone a bloody country. Get a hold of yourselves.

I’m told that a large part of his “base” is the evangelical right. Evangelical about what, I wonder. Not Jesus, surely? Trump pays no heed to anyone or anything other than himself. He wouldn’t know a gospel if it hit him in the mouth. I can think of no enticement in the world that would persuade me to leave a woman of my acquaintance alone with that man. Read his comments on women, for heaven’s sake. He’s no more a Christian than I’m a Dutchman. Christianity is a powerful force in the United States, and I daresay there are some thoroughly decent folk in the church. Do better. Bring forth a proper candidate.

Trump promises to resolve the war in Ukraine in 24 hours. He plans to appease Putin, a man hell-bent on reestablishing ancient borders through bloodshed and conquest. Wait…where have we heard that before?

Putin must be stopped. NATO has the means to do so, and it should. Trump must not be allowed to re-enter the White House; I wouldn’t let him in as a guest even, but certainly not as leader of the free world. There are 150 million plus American citizens eligible to be President. I can’t think of anyone who would be worse than the orange one.

Next week - I’ve some words for more Johnny foreigners - both near and far.

Right. I’m off to watch the cricket.

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