Donald J Trump – A Presidential Progress Report

“We here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Gettysberg Address; Abraham Lincoln 1863

A total of 154 years – or, if you prefer, seven score years and fourteen – have elapsed since Lincoln delivered his memorable words.

In the following notes I shall look at the possibility that, under President Donald J. Trump, the Gettysburg soldiers may prove to have died in vain, and that the prospects for government of the American people by the American people for the American people might be looking shaky.

“Every nation gets the government it deserves”
“In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve “

Both quotes have been attributed to Joseph De Maistre, a political philosopher who advocated not dissimilar policies to those of Mr Trump, that is, autocratic and abrasive.

I take the view that the former quote is unfair – it can hardly be argued that the long suffering people of North Korea deserve the various members of the Kim Jong family that have elbowed their way to power.

It can and indeed is being argued that the people of the USA voted Mr Trump into office and that they should suffer the consequences of their democratic choice.

“I need not point out what happens invariably in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves  into despots of an almost fabulous ferocity. Lincoln, Roosevelt (T) and Wilson come instantly to mind.”
HL Mencken – Notes on Democracy 

What might Mencken have had to say about the present incumbent of the White House? I suspect that Mr Trump would be thoroughly excoriated mainly on the grounds that some of the worrying problems and tensions inside the great republic and around the world are largely the creation of Donald “Quick Draw” Trump.

Not that any amount of excoriation is likely to puncture Mr Trump’s famously thick skin.  One of his detractors – no shortage of those – has averred  that the only sensitive part of DJT is the tip of his organ of generation.

“Trumpery” – showy and worthless stuff: rubbish: ritual foolery.
Chambers English Dictionary

Thus far Mr Trump appears to be living up to his name.

Some matters arising  during the first few months of the Trump regime

The administration of Donlald Trump has been nothing if not fascinating  thus far. I am sure I am one of many in the USA and in Europe who wake up every morning eager to pick up the latest Trump news story, and anxious to grasp its significance.

His presidency has one consistent feature: excitement.  What will the fellow say next?

Rather more worrying – what will the fellow do next?

Examples from the brief Trump reign include:

  • The tetchy Trump phone call to Mr Malcom Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia. It appears that Mr Trump wished to renege on a commitment made by Mr Obama to accept a small number of asylum seekers from Australia.  Not a promising start in the search for peace and stability in the Pacific region.
  • The ill thought out ban on travellers from a handful of mainly Muslim countries.
  • The declared intention to proceed with the building of a wall to keep out illegal migrants from Mexico. (Whatever happened to welcoming the huddled masses yearning to breathe free?)
  • The raucous assertion that the USA had been short changed in some key international trade deals and that allegedly poor agreements would be either renegotiated or cancelled.
  • The confusion in the White House over who said what to whom in the Kremlin. At least one aspect of the confusion has been clarified and Mr Mike  Flynn has walked the plank. It is doubtful if White House policy towards those who let down the regime has got to the point where Mike  Flynn faces the prospect of the same fate as that meted out to Mr Kim Jong-nam, the erring half brother of the mighty Kim Jong -un.  Mr Jong-nam was despatched from Kuala Lumpur onto a rather longer journey than he had originally planned.

The relationship between Mr Trump and Mr Putin is said to remain civilised and the two men did exchange a brusque handshake at the recent meeting of world leaders.  I for one rejoice that this is so. I cannot  think of any other duo on the planet that I would prefer to see on speaking terms than Messrs Trump and Putin, given what might, just might,  happen were Mr Trump to add Mr Putin to his ever lengthening black list.

What about the matters at the heart of the furore in the USA about which Americans said what and met whom from the Kremlin?  It is interesting to compare the Russian approach with the American approach. Senior Kremlin officials have long argued that discretion is all in espionage matters, whereas the American preference, or at least the Trump preference, appears to be for transparency. We did nothing wrong and if we did – so what!

The word is that various electronic cloak and dagger men from both sides have been making mischief with each others’ computers.  I had always understood that this was the raison d’etre of the espionage community. If not – just what do the Cheltenham boys and girls get up to?

Anyway, a couple more examples of interest:

  • Mr Trump and Mr Kim, he of the odd haircut from North Korea – a rum duo at work here. Their widely publicised exchanges of views rather resemble playground exchanges between small boys from yesteryear – “Just you cross that line and see what happens.” It is a sign of the precarious times that Mr Kim manages to project himself as the more irresponsible of the two raucous disputants.
  • The Virginia disturbances over the Robert E Lee statue in Charlottesville. On the one side – those who wish the statue to be removed because Lee had led the confederate army against the union army in a war fought by the south to retain slavery. On the other side – those on the far right who wish the Lee statue to remain in situ. DJT got himself into difficulties by allocating equal responsibility to each of the warring factions. A more reflective and prudent president would simply have said that if the retention or removal of statues were to be resolved by today’s standards, there would be very few statues left in place.  Where would it all end? Good for the global sculpting sector but disruptive across public squares around the world.

The qualifications of Mr Trump to become President

As a politician

“Whatever one may think about democratic government, it is  just as well to have practical experience of its rough and slatternly foundations. No part of the education of a politician is more indispensable than the fighting of elections….. Dignity may suffer, the superfine gloss is soon worn away.”
Winston Churchill, Great Contemporaries, 1937.

Winston Churchill writing about Lord Rosebery  who, like Mr Trump, had  no previous experience of democracy in action. However and in addition Lord Rosebery had no enthusiasm for democracy in action whereas Mr Trump is as combative and as confrontational when wearing his political hat as he was when wearing his CEO hat.

Donald Trump had had no experience of public office nor of the democratic process before he contested, first the primaries to decide who would be the Republican candidate, and then the greatest election of all for the presidency of the United States.

There may be some overlap and some similarities between the work of the President of the United States and the work of running one of the largest companies in the world. Sadly Mr Trump is learning, not very quickly, some of the differences.

Trump as a businessman

“Bankers who are owed millions of dollars by Donald Trump .. Agreed yesterday to keep him out of the bankruptcy courts … all but one bank signed an agreement .. to provide a $20Million bridging loan enabling Mr Trump to pay interest on the bonds ….over the next 30 days the banks will complete the paperwork for the balance of a $65 million rescue package …
Bernard Levin in The Times, 1990.

The thrust of the Levin article was to praise the only bank that could not see its way clear to help Mr Trump to surmount his liquidity problems.

Mr Trump had form even then.

No American voter could say that he/she had not been aware that Mr Trump was just the latest in the long line of American business leaders who had earned the doubtful collective soubriquet of The Robber Barons, a term used back in the 19th century for entrepreneurs  specialising in the robbing of the poor – the group included but was by no means confined to Messrs Carnegie, JP Morgan, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt.

Mr T has never been one to hide his light under a bushel – it would take an outsize bushel to hide the bright light permanently emanating from DT.

I recall suffering a strained neck when, on a visit to New York, I gazed up and up and up at the Trump tower building – the building bearing the Trump name had to be the biggest and brashest in town.

And yet Donald Trump – a complete outsider in political terms – has succeeded not only in business  but now to the highest position in the land, indeed in the world, by a combination of bluster, bullying and bribery.

Reactions to the human firecracker that is President Trump

These range across the political spectrum from horror and consternation on the liberal left to uneasy and uncertain support within the  Republican party.

I quoted HL Mencken earlier and repeat the quote now – “All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions , convert themselves …. Into despots of an almost fabulous ferocity.”

What obstacles might DJT encounter as he seeks to tighten his grip on the American people and on their long cherished institutions?

One encouraging development – at least from the Liberal Left standpoint – has been the readiness – indeed the eagerness – of some members of the American legal profession to confront Mr Trump. Lawyers have been noted since the human race began to make rudimentary social arrangements, so to arrange matters that one outcome of all legal proceedings will be their own enrichment.

“It is likewise to be observed that this society (lawyers) hath a peculiar cant and jargon of their own, that no other mortal can understand, and wherein all their laws are written, which they take special care to multiply; whereby they have wholly confounded the very essence of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong, so that it will take thirty years to decide whether the field left me by my ancestors for six generations belongs to me or to a stranger three hundred miles off”
Jonathan Swift:- A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms

American lawyers have brought to the very pinnacle of perfection the time honoured practice of confounding the very essence of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong.

As noted there is well founded anxiety across the USA about what might happen and about what might not happen under Trump.

Across the USA, opinions are divided, but on one point all agree – the American legal profession will prosper as never before as the combination of Trump’s reckless and  ill thought out executive orders on the one hand and the rapacious lawyers on the other hand prepare for and engage in legal battles within the Byzantine complexity of the American legal systems.

Thank God for lawyers, upholders of, if not freedom, then of procrastination.

I predict that the four years of Trump presidency – please God the ONLY four years – will be over before some of the legal battles that he has spawned have got to the second legal base – and we then will be back to Business as Usual.

Is there a parallel between the Trump success and subsequent turmoil in the USA and the Brexit success and the subsequent turmoil in the UK?

Some commentators have argued that there are similarities and that in the main the similarities are based on the rejection of the established / familiar electoral options and the acceptance of alternative options that oppose the elite professional class.

In the UK this resulted in the Brexit vote. In the USA this resulted in the election of Mr Trump.

In both cases the electoral outcome has already triggered massive change and turmoil, with the prospect of much more of the same to come.

In The USA, Mr Trump shrewdly perceived the potential for change that had opened up as the result of the decline in the manufacturing sector, with the transfer of the work abroad, always to countries with a lower wage economy. Like the shrewd businessman he is, he spotted the electoral gap in the American rust belt and exploited it ruthlessly – it was possibly THE major factor in his narrow victory.

In the USA, enough voters disillusioned by and with their traditional parties opted for the candidate that promised to restore their jobs and living standards.

The issues in the EU referendum were rather more confused, and I for one got the result wrong.

I failed to spot that Mr Cameron had made a catastrophic error in calling the referendum and that some senior figures in the Tory Party would take advantage of the confusion to further their careers regardless of the economic and social consequences for the UK.

However, many of the same promises about restoring well-paid jobs and improving living standards were made to the British voters during the referendum campaign.  And these arguments may in part at least explain the Leave vote in parts of the UK that had the most to gain from staying in the EU.

Mr Trump and the social media

“The Trump world was more like – let’s say a lot of different things, they don’t even need to be coherent, and observe through the wonderful new platforms that allow you to observe how people respond and observe what works —” 

“That the  Republicans didn’t lose the can  be attributed in large measure  to their expert manipulation of social media– Donald Trump is our first Facebook president”

“What our Facebook president has discovered is that it actually pays only to please some of the people some of the time. The rest simply don’t count.”

The above quotes were taken from “How he used Facebook to win”  by Sue Halpern in the New York Review of Books, June 8, 2017 .

The addiction of Mr Trump to social media in general and to Twitter in particular had long been noted, and this aspect of his communications preferences became more and more pronounced as the USA presidential campaign proceeded.

Veteran pundits predicted that his addiction to the unusual – indeed unprecedented communications approach via social media would decline in the unlikely event that he were to win the election.

He did win but his preference for communication via Twitter has, if anything, increased. His terse pronouncements add daily to the delight of his followers and to the dismay of his opponents – numerically roughly equal.

A word about charisma

As I understand it many of the internal differences in the UK Labour Party centre on the alleged inadequacy of Mr Corbyn for the task in hand. It is said by some that he lacks charisma.

You can’t say that about Mr Trump or Mr Farage or Mr Blair or, to go back a few years, Mr Leon Trotsky.

Is charisma  really – is it really – what is required in these delicate and fractious times?

The Donald J Trump show

On February 16 of this year Trump convened a meeting in the White House, ostensibly to announce to the press the latest addition to his cabinet.

The meeting was conducted along unusual lines. In essence it was a  memorable confrontation between the media on the one side and Mr Trump on the other. Trump wanted to get his detestation of the press off his chest and he proceeded to do so.

Some president – some chest.

Having announced the name of the newcomer Mr Trump spent the next hour and a quarter engaged in a boisterous confrontation with his media opponents.

It was all good knock about stuff with Trump on the front foot throughout as he portrayed his critics as being a bunch of Un-American lying bastards – or words to that effect. To his chagrin the BBC’s Jon Sopel caught both barrels.

“Not truthful at all: liars every one of them to the very backbone of their souls”
Thus Don Juan to The Devil in Man and Superman by Bernard Shaw

The views of Don Juan about the friends of the Devil are along the same lines as those of Mr Trump about the media – verging on the critical.

I suspect that the  USA and elsewhere – right across the world-  is about  to experience a great deal more abuse from Trump as he gets into his stride.

For my part I will continue to hope for the best and prepare – but how? – for the worst.

Unorthodox human resources arrangements in the Trump inner circle

Trump has not yet grasped that political appointments need rather more careful thought than was the case for his business appointments. Poor judgements by Trump in the latter category could and were  resolved by the speedy issue of the American equivalent of a P45.

He has carried his sharp decisive approach into The White House to the consternation of his supporters and the huge delight of his adversaries.

In the space of a few months he has appointed a succession of  people to key roles within his administration with each appointment being accompanied by a warm endorsement of the commendable virtues and suitability of  each of the newcomers.

I am not sure as to the shortest time lapse between the announcement of the appointment and the more muted announcement of the departure – suffice it to say that some of the newcomers on arrival may have met themselves on the way out.

The revolving door metaphor hardly does justice to this series of White House comings and goings; a more appropriate analogy would be the scene in The Godfather when opponents of Michael Corleone were machine gunned in a revolving door.

Stop Press

I was thinking of a few suitable concluding words when DTJ did the job for me as he strode to a podium to announce a policy change by the USA about Afghanistan.

The gist of his announcement was as follows:

  • His manifesto pledge to pull the USA out of Afghanistan was to be replaced by an equally clear pledge to send additional forces with the crystal clear remit to kill terrorists.
  • The task of rebuilding Afghanistan would be the responsibility of the Afghan government.
  • The Government of Pakistan must stop harbouring terrorists – or else.

Er – that’s about it.

Short and not particularly sweet, but current and aspiring terrorists in the area would be well advised to take note.

Image courtesy of CNN



Social Media – An Aged Blogger Writes

 “It (Russia) is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”
Winston Churchill in 1939

 My views on social media closely resemble the views of Churchill on Russia. Indeed, I would go further and say that my inability to grasp even the basics of social media can be extended to most aspects of the Internet.

However – for the purposes of the following notes – I will limit myself to considering why I have decided to look at the possibility of securing a precarious foothold on the lower slopes of the social media.

For most of my 77 years, I have acquired my information about what is going on the world from traditional sources, the time honoured print and broadcast media.  I grew up on a diet of the Daily Express, the Bolton Evening News, and the Home Service with occasional input from British Pathe news.

For the greater part of the following half century my sources were The Times, the BBC – a mixture of TV and Radio 4 – together with magazines that broadly supported my thinking at the time.

My input to these sources was very limited – a few of my letters were published in The Times, but rather more failed to make the cut.  

I learned, possibly incorrectly, that the selection criteria employed by The Times to determine which letters made the cut were that the letter should contain a fulsome endorsement of some or other aspect of The Times, be very brief and should make just one point. There were no problems in satisfying the third criterion given the constraints imposed by the second criterion.

My luck changed in the summer of 2015  – a time when I had something to say and time to write it, but  no outlet for my views.

Tribune magazine published a piece that I had sent in more in hope of publication than in expectation. My luck held in that Tribune published every article that I submitted for the next 12 months or so.

Around the middle of 2016 my fortunes changed for the worse – Tribune published just three articles by me out of 20 or so submitted from the middle of 2016.  I had and still have no idea why Tribune decided to hand me the black spot, but then I was never clear as to the publication criteria employed by the magazine.

I did notice that my fall from grace coincided with the publication of a great deal of material under the name of Ian Hernon, the magazine’s deputy editor. I also noticed that most of the Hernon items were simply warmed up items from other sources but I got the message from Ian (little Sir Echo) Hernon and sought alternative outlets.

A couple of other Tribune points  before moving on.

In the two years of my association with the magazine I noted that the number of letters from readers that were included in the 50 or so editions that appeared  could have been counted on the fingers of one hand – not much evidence of engagement with the readers of the magazine – or was it that there were not many readers to engage with?

It has to be said in favour of Tribune, that it managed to find space for the contributions of former black sheep, including Dennis McShane, until recently confined in one of our penal institutions (some minor difficulties with regard to his parliamentary expenses)  and Joe Haines.

The latter remains an intriguing figure. There is a letter from Mr Haines in the latest New Statesman – July 7 –  in which he asserts that Mr Corbyn is not up to the job. We must respect the view of a man who worked tirelessly to advance the career of the portly pilferer, Mr Robert Maxwell.

The biography of Mr Maxwell by Mr Haines is a book which merits a prominent place is any collection of hagiography. Sadly his biography only takes us up to 1988 – the last three words are -“To be continued”.

Mr Maxwell walked the plank in November, 1991 leaving an unfortunate legacy of large scale sharp practice.

What to do to bring my views to the attention of a wider audience?

I suspected that the prospects of Mr Richard Littlejohn at the Mail or of Lord Finkelstein at The Times being given the old heave-ho to make way for me were remote. Paul Dacre was not likely to dispense with the services of Richard Littlejohn, or those of Sarah Vine, although I suspect that the services of Sarah Vine would be rather more dispensable than those of Richard Littlejohn. Similarly, Mr Murdoch was and is unlikely to dispose of the services of Lord Finkelstein or those of Philip Collins, although I suspect that the services of Mr Collins are rather more dispensable than those of Danny Finkelstein. I take it that we all agree that the contributions of Deborah Ross for The Times justifies breaking the golden rule – she is indispensable.

A word about columnists.  This sub group within the wider profession of journalism is one which has long fascinated me.

 My conclusion about this group, after many years of reflection, is that columnists can be divided into two categories, There are those who, once upon a time, had something worthwhile or interesting to say. Having said their bit, they continue to cling to their respective columns saying nothing much to anyone in particular. The other category consists of those who never had anything to say in the first place – this group largely owe their jobs to nepotism.

Over the years there have been a few admirable exceptions to this general bleak rule. Pride of place must go to the late great Bernard Levin, and, in more recent times, Matthew Parris, who fills his columns in The Times with an endless stream of pieces which combine a lively imagination with a tangible sense of engagement with the matters under discussion. We admire the work of Richard Littlejohn, but we sense his frustration as he confronts his sworn enemies, the Guardianistas. Like Dr Slammer, the fiery surgeon from The Pickwick Papers, at times his indignation chokes him.

 A brief digression on magazines aimed at the movers and shakers

I noted earlier the ebb and flow, and especially the decline and fall of my fortunes as a Tribune columnist.

I had no luck at all in my overtures to New Statesman, Spectator, and Prospect. As an occasional subscriber to these magazines I found myself from time to time receiving pleas that I renew my subscription and I noted the zeal with which each organ proclaimed its unique blend of inspiring content supplied by our most gifted writers. These qualities were not always readily discernible, but advertisers will be advertisers.

At one stage, I replied to these eloquent appeals to renew my subscription by offering to do so in return for an agreement by the magazine to publish one of my submissions. This imaginative approach on my part did not trigger anything by way of a response.

I was reminded of these ineffective attempts when I read a piece by Jason Crowley, the editor of New Statesman in this week’s edition of his organ.  The piece was headed “The guilty men of Brexit, Churchill, Boris Johnson and the bullseye of disaster” – it dealt with the subject of who might be deemed to be responsible for the Brexit fiasco.

Given that I had submitted a piece headed “The Guilty Brexiteers” to Tribune on July 2, 2016, that is, just a week after the referendum result had been announced, I was slightly disconcerted to discover one or two similarities between the content of the Cowley piece and the content of my own piece.

These similarities included references to the pamphlet “Guilty Men” written in just 4 days by Michael Foot and two other journalists about who should be made responsible for the defeat of the UK forces in France.

Obviously – purely a coincidence. 

The great game changer

At just after 10pm on Thursday, June 8, Mr David Dimbleby announced the results of a series of exit polls on the General Election called by Mrs May in order to improve her negotiating position ahead of the difficulty discussions to arrange the details of the Brexit process that lay ahead.

Sadly, the outcome was not quite what Mrs May had wished for and instead she got the thumbs down from the voters.

Mrs May was not the only major player in the game to be disappointed. In no special order, Mr Rupert Murdoch, Mr Paul Dacre and most professional pundits got the outcome wrong. So did I – but what did I know?

It was not a case of joy unbounded in many powerful circles both in the UK and globally, but it was said that Mr Jean-Claude Juncker and Mr Donald Tusk were not unduly distressed by the Brexit election outcome.

Questions were asked on June 9th and are still being asked by Mr Dacre and Mr Murdoch.

  • Who saw it coming?
  • Who are these bolshie voters? Who the hell do they think are?

We (that is, Mr Dacre and Mr Murdoch) went to a great deal of trouble of trouble and incurred considerable costs to inform the masses on how to vote and what do the ungrateful bastards go and do – vote the other way in sufficient numbers to pull the rug from under us.  

Did the unexpected outcome hint at a swing away from the influence from traditional print and broadcasting media, and, if yes, what communications systems had moved in to fill the void?

The social media

The timing of the great game changing election coincided purely fortuitously with the end of my gloomy search for an outlet for my opinions. This search had brought me to the last chance saloon – The Social Media.

I had made arrangements just prior to the general election to publish my views via a Blog – Holdenforth.

I was assured by those in the know – that is just about everyone apart from me – that social media were the future, that the days of Murdoch and his fellow conventional media moguls were numbered. I was also informed that even the BBC was not immune to these sea changes, that its influence was waning and that its days of dominance were over.

It was said that young voters, hitherto supine in the national political arena, had warmed to and opted for Mr Corbyn. And these striplings were said to comprise by far the greater part of the social media users.

So – on the basis that if you can’t beat them then join them – I got my show on the road.

I was not troubled by the arcane complexities of setting up a blog – that was all done for me by my son. The Holdenforth blog operates via a system whereby I send material by e mail for inclusion in the Blog and my son does the rest, including checking to remove errors and solecisms. (The editor would like to point out at this stage that this is done on a best efforts basis and apologises profusely for any errors and solecisms that slip through the net.)

For me, the great advantage of a blog as opposed to conventional publication is that I can say exactly what I like – a great relief who one who has been inhibited throughout his life by a succession of constraints imposed by those set in authority over me.

A wonderful feeling of liberation!

Mr Trump and the social media

The Trump world was more like – let’s say a lot of different things, they don’t even need to be coherent, and observe through the wonderful new platforms that allow you to observe how people respond and observe what works —”

“That the Republicans didn’t lose the can be attributed in large measure  to their expert manipulation of social media– Donald Trump is our first Face book president”

“What our Facebook president has discovered is that it actually pays only to please some of the people some of the time. The rest simply don’t count.”

The above quotes were taken from “How he used Facebook to win”  by Sue Halpern in the New York Review of Books, June 8, 2017. 

The addiction of Mr Trump to social media in general and to Twitter in particular had long been noted, and this aspect of his communications preferences became more and more pronounced as the USA presidential campaign proceeded.

Veteran pundits predicted that his addiction for the unusual – indeed unprecedented -communications approach via social media would decline in the unlikely event that he were to win the election.

He did win, but his preference for communication via Twitter has, if anything, increased. His terse pronouncements add daily to the delight of his followers and to the dismay of his opponents – numerically roughly equal.

For my part I took and take the view that if social media are good enough for Mr Trump then they are good enough for me.

I am still treading warily through the tangled complexities of the social media. I began by consulting the internet and was soon drowning in the tsunami of information available on the various branches of social media.

I toyed with the idea of abbreviating Social Media to the acronym SM but I vaguely recall that SM has a pre-existing and somewhat unseemly significance. I shall stay with Social Media.

Blogging is said to be relatively straightforward – you simply add your latest thoughts to your blog – or someone does so on your behalf and hey presto – it’s there for the world to read.

I was slightly disconcerted to read – on the internet, where else – that personal blogs are read overwhelmingly by relatives and friends of the blogger and by no one else. On reflection, I was consoled by the thought that in my case the readership might well match or even exceed the readership that I may have acquired at Tribune.

What about Facebook, the brain child of Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues?

I was pleased to note that “Facebook has more than 2 billion active users as of June, 2017.” This impressive figure indicates that the art of conversation is alive and well. For the moment I will put the task of joining these electronic chattering classes onto the back burner.

I gather that the YouTube branch of social media enables users to place videos onto the net and that these videos can be viewed free of charge. Again – one for the back burner for the time being.

Linked in – I have been aware of the existence of this service for some time because I have been advised via e mail that suitable career opportunities are available to me should I so wish. Thus far I have declined these invitations but I may well explore them in the near future. The adverse economic consequences of Brexit grow daily more ominous, my British Steel pension is thought to be at risk and I should hate to think that my meeting with the Grim Reaper would be followed by interment in a pauper’s grave.

Twitter – the branch of Social Media favoured by Mr Trump.

I have not yet sought to access Twitter – its very brevity daunts me – I am a prolix man and need rather more than 140 characters just to say hello.

Hash tags – the details of this facility might as well have been written in Chinese as far as I was concerned. Or maybe they were written in Chinese?

 Right now I find myself unable to access either Facebook or YouTube – I have no idea why, but I am confident that help is at hand and that the mysterious obstacles will be identified and removed.

Closing notes

This – to me – new technology is a splendid mental challenge for an old timer whose motto is – always look on the bright side of life.

The Social Media are a sure-fire recipe for warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s as we elders of the tribe toil tirelessly at the digital face in so doing keep our little grey cells at full stretch.

As far as I can see my central task going forward is to come up with a plan to boost the circulation of Holdenforth – suggestions on an e mail or via Holdenforth please.

Image courtesy of