Independence Day

The Paris Agreement on climate change enters into force today.

The Paris Agreement on climate change enters into force today, with 97 parties representing 69% of global emissions. The other signatories are delaying ratification, but are not opposed.

Duh, you Americans say. We have a REALLY IMPORTANT election coming up! Donald Trump might become the leader of the most powerful country on the planet!

True, but. In a hundred years’ time, which do you think will be remembered? November 8th, the day the United States dodged a bullet and failed to elect an unstable racist conman to the Presidency? Sam Wang gives the chance at less than 1%. Trump has never led in the polls from the day he announced his candidacy. It matters a great deal to the United States whether the Democrats regain control of the Senate (merely a two-thirds chance), for if they don’t, Clinton’s presidency will be one long constitutional crisis.

No. It will be November 4th 2016, the day the world started to fight back against climate change and swore to abandon its addiction to fossil fuels.

Some uplifting media for you.

eliza-mccartney-pole-vault-getty-reziePole vaulter Eliza McCartney (not the eventual champion) clears the bar at the Rio Olympics.


David Low’s cartoon on May 15 1940, soon after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. Low being on the left, he put the three Labour leaders, Attlee, Morrison, and Bevin in the front row, ahead of Churchill’s fellow Tories, Chamberlain, Hoare and Halifax. (The solitary woman at the right rear may be MP Nancy Astor.) It was not quite true of course. Churchill’s first major political battle was with Halifax, who wanted to take up a feeler for peace Hitler had put out through Mussolini. Churchill won decisively, with the backing of Chamberlain (entirely disillusioned about Hitler) and backbench Tory MPs. Still Low captured a genuine moment of national unity and determination.

Bell-ringers at All Saints Church, Leighton Buzzard, a large ring with 12 bells. For me, the best moment of the London Olympics was when the marathon runners entered the City of London close to the finish, and all the church bells rang out in their honour, but I can’t find a clip. It’s a strange but effective form of music, acceptable to 17th-century English Puritans, with Papist melodies replaced by mathematical permutations. In Dorothy Sayers’ The Nine Tailors, Lord Peter Wimsey unwittingly abets the murder of a victim trussed up in the bell-tower, as his Lordship stands in for a sick village bellringer to ring a full peal of Kent Treble Bob Major, which goes on all night. I would have thought the victim would simply go deaf.

Finally, the President’s speech in the 1996 movie Independence Day, delivered by Bill Pullman. Hokum, but great hokum.


Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web