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Justin vs Vladimir.

By MICHAEL BLACKBURN.

IF JUSTIN TRUDEAU were up against Vladimir Putin in a no-holds-barred, anything-goes punch-up, who would you put your money on? That’s the kind of question I sometimes amuse myself with, much as my grandson would when he was ten: who would win in a fight – a pterodactyl or a lion; a twenty-foot python or an alligator?

It was watching the pretty boy Trudeau barging into a crowd of opposition MPs in the Canadian parliament and accidentally elbowing a female MP in the chest that made me think of this. So far he’s been enjoying an Obama-like honeymoon with the press and the country. There he goes, demonstrating his yoga prowess with “the plank”; sporting a trendy tattoo; boxing with an opponent; waving an LGBT flag at a rally; wearing a “Kindness Is One Size Fits All” teeshirt (over shirt and tie, for heaven’s sake!); simpering about being a feminist. If there’s a set of bien pensant buttons to push he’s pushed them all. And if they come up with some new ones, he’ll push them as well.

Elbowing a female MP in the chest is not a good move for a feminist, even if it is accidental. The boy Justin should not have been play-acting the decisive man in the house in the first place.

So elbowing a female MP in the chest is not a good move for a feminist, even if it is accidental. The boy Justin should not have been play-acting the decisive man in the house in the first place. However, it seems that such arrogance comes with the liberal-left temperament: disagreement betokens inferiority, which demands the exercise of aggression. Playing the celeb also seems to be part of the political schtick these days, so the better-looking you are the more chance you have of bagging the big job – in a decadent western democracy, that is.

RUSSIA NOT BEING quite the type of democracy we’re used to, we shouldn’t expect its leaders to conform to these superficialities. No, they have a different way of doing things. Putin is no looker compared to Obama and Trudeau but he has still been playing the PR game. Here’s Vlad riding shirtless in the Siberian wilderness; flooring an opponent at judo; handling a rifle; flying a motorised hang-glider among a flock of Siberian cranes; punching a bear’s lights out. No, that last one was untrue, even if it’s the best. In fact he was shown fitting a tracking collar to a tranquillized polar bear. He’s got a caring side, you know.

It’s easier for us to laugh at the staginess of Putin’s PR (we’re less likely to end up being shot dead in a lift or poisoned with polonium at tea, for a start) but it’s really no more risible than the slop served up to garnish the vacuousness of an Obama or a Trudeau.

Without any qualms, however, I prefer the staid blokishness of Putin to the rebarbative, PC nonceries of Trudeau. Even their names reveal a lot: Vladimir: solid, traditional, old -fashioned, possibly given to excessive vodka consumption and physical violence; Justin: spoilt, effete, smug, self-congratulatory — the word that springs to my evil mind is “ponce”.

In the event of a scrap, therefore, my money would be on Vlad, despite the fact that he cedes the best part of twenty years to young Justin. Trudeau may have the extra height, and the quicker reflexes and energy of youth but Vlad has cunning and a finely-developed streak of viciousness in him. And he’s Russian. And he’s ex-KGB. Justin may land a few wallops on him but Vlad would bite his ears off and turn his model’s face into a moonscape before he knew what was happening. Better than watching pterodactyls scrapping with lions.


suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet, writer and lecturer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire . From 2005–2008 he was the Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University of Lincoln where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent collection is Spyglass Over The Lagoon. A selection of his Fortnightly Currente Calamo columns, Sucks To Your Revolution: Annoying The Politically Correct (US), is available as a Kindle ebook.

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