IT'S AMAZING how easy it is to score goals from an armchair. It's equally amazing how simple it is to solve the world's problems from the same position.
Television, criticsed for many things, can sometimes throw a revealing light on the complexity of world politics. By this I do not mean that it can offer blinding-flash solutions, but can show them for the complexities they are.
For instance, I imagine that, by now, most people in Britain, having watched educated and articulate men talk and talk and talk about Ireland, are baffled beyond belief. So much so, I suspect they no longer .even blame politicians in the arena for not solving a problem that is 50 years or 500 years old depending on your viewpoint.
Some might think we would be better oft without such a rush to the head of information and keep to simplistic non-logical loyalties and clear-cut black and white choices. He who is not for me is against me.
If ever the point was made clear it was when David Frost presented on Yorkshire Television his –Global Village" programme about Rhodesia.
Technically it was a startling and daring programme, linking. live by satellite, Ian Smith in Salisbury, Joshua Nkomo in Lusaka, Harold Wilson in London and Andrew Young in New York, and several others concerned in one way or another with the Rhodesian situation and the forthcoming elections there.
David succumbed slightly to the almost irrestible temptation to play God, and the in-jokes and familiarities on so solemn a subject were fairly irritating.
One might have wondered why, for instance, he allowed himself the luxury of taking a swipe at Britain's Foreign Secretary, David Owen, when he explained his absence from the programme along the lines of a snide: "He's busy at the moment, out looking for a policy".
I suspect the truth of the matter is that Owen declined to appear on the programme and was receiving the television equivalent of six of the best.
However, what gripped me most of all to the end of this astonishing programme was the gulf which in every sense, separated lan Smith and Joshua Nkomo. Nkomo kept asking what was an election without a register of voters and, I'm afraid, got no good answers but, sadly, failed to come up with any answer himself when challenged to offer a solution to the deadly dilemma.
Ian Smith, all urbane and reasonable, suddenly cast sneering doubt on his sweet reasonableness when he said he'd had difficulty in hearing something Nkomo had been saying. "Maybe he was talking mumbojumbo, for all I know". Nkomo beamed on, but I felt diminished and disillusioned.
For all that, it was well worth showing, if only to teach us what a back-breaking and brain-numbing task the world's peacemakers have. All we can do is stay in the armchair and pray for therri.
Small niggle about Carter
WHEN IT COMES to peacemaking, blessed is President Jimmy Carter too. He certainly tried hard with Israel and Egypt. Whatever hispersonal political motives may be — and they've taken many an international jibe — he, nevertheless, deserves a place in our armchair prayers.
One small niggle. I recognise that he has to have support from
Senate and Congress. 1 recognise that he has to have support from the American public. not only willing him to win his battle for peace, but acknowledging — in whatever way millions of people acknowledge anything — that they are prepared to pay for it generously too. The niggle is this. When the political commentators talked about the billions of dollars that would need to be funnelled towards Israel and Egypt for this, that and the other, that deadly word "Defence" somehow or other always crept in. It always strikes a chill in my heart when weapons of death and destruction are described as instruments of defence. Apart from that, however, and apart from the balance of power complexities of the Arab world, isn't it a sad day and age in which a peace treaty has to include an arms deal.
Tonga in cheek?
HISTORY, they say, repeats itself, and it almost did when I read about the King of Tonga arriving in London recently and driving City-wards in a car bearing the registration I TON.
Many of my generation will remember the gorgeous and statuesque Queen of Tonga being the most eye-catching and popular royal guest at the Coronation of the present Queen. She drove in the royal procession in an open carriage, seemingly oblivious of the pouring rain. Opposite her, a tiny man in a drenched frockcoat and tall hat. Noel Coward and some friends were watching the procession guar from a first-floor window in St James's and all were full of admiration for the visiting Queen.
"Who," asked one of the party, "is the little man sitting opposite her?" "That," said the ever droll Coward, "is her lunch".
The lovable Big Daddy
WELL AWAY front weary world affairs, I met Big Daddy. the wrestler, the other day for the first time.
I haven't watched Saturday wrestling on television for a long, long time now — partly because my Saturdays are otherwise occupied and partly, I suppose, that having sat for years in the World of Sport studios haying to introducc and watch wrestling Saturday after Saturday, maybe save me some sort of complex
on my release. have to borrow a couch some time and check.
So. I was all the more surprised — and I say it not in any patronising tone — at the astounding popularity of balding, bouncing Big Daddy. Everybody seemed to know him and everybody seemed to love him. And there's no doubt that he's a lovable, generous softie — outside the ring anyway. It's quite a phenomenon, this wrestling business, isn't it People used to tell me that women especially watched it for all sorts of convoluted and unhealthy reasons.
I often wondered about it myself. Boxing afficionados seldom take to wrestling anyway. Now. however, I've come to a completely different conclusion and believe that, apart from a certain hard-core of tough and talented wrestlers, the fans have cast characters like Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks (he really is a haystack of a man) as either lovable clowns to be cheered or villains to be hissed as they would at any old-fashioned melodrama.
Women's libbers' other half
MICHAEL ASPEL, the former BBC heart-throb (remember Miss World?) is currently among many, many other things, the invisible heartbeat of Capital Radio in London.
Not unacquainted with matrimony himself, I feel he may have taken a particular, wry pleasure in broadcasting this little telephone snippet: "No, she's not here at the moment. She's at a Women's Lib meeting. This is her equal speaking".