Posted on 4th November 2017

Slane Castle

As I sit writing this article, gazing out of the window at the wonderful colours of the trees changing along the banks of the Boyne, I should feel at peace, but I don’t.  As the Castle gears up for Christmas and the joyful noises of children echo through the reception rooms at the Enchanted Kingdom, the Castle’s Christmas event, I should be able to relax and focus on my grandchildren but I can’t entirely.  To be fair, I always feel a bit strange at this time of year.  It’s all about the passing of the old and the anticipation of the new, but this year it is different.  I sense the oncoming of a Black Swan event.

What do I mean by this ?  In short something wild happens in world affairs that has a chain reaction with some very unanticipated consequences.  An outbreak of war, a financial crash, the assassination of a major political figure, or something less obvious but perhaps more sinister –  the start of something ominous in the world’s climate.  Some people count sheep to help them fall asleep.  I am counting black swans and they are keeping me awake.

You’ve guessed it.  I am going to start with Donald Trump   The noose is starting to tighten around the neck of the orange-faced, hair-glued and unglued U.S. President, and apparently he is not reacting to it very well, including, it is reported, by starting to turn on one of his key political advisors and son-in-law Jared Kushner.  To be frank, Jared is supremely unqualified to be hold such a key role, but then being married to Ivanka makes him part of the Trump brand and this White House is more like a court than an administration, although it would be fair to say, a lot more vulgar.

Now Special Prosecutor Mueller has indicted 2 key players in the Russia investigation for such wonderful activities as money laundering and he has done a deal with another, who appears to be singing like a canary.  Will he get to Trump ?  Nobody really knows.  At the moment that is not what I’m really worried about.  What matters now is how this is affecting an unpredictable and increasingly unhinged Commander-in-Chief, who is lined up against the utterly ruthless Dictator of North Korea.  Black Swan event – Good heavens a whole line of them.

The other is Catalonia.  We are naturally focused on Brexit but the possible fracturing of Spain must be making Jean-Claude Juncker spill his claret at dinner.  It threatens the EU and the euro.  To settle my stomach, I look back at the trees, think of rail strikes, whether water refund cheques will be sent out at Christmas and whether the Minister of Transport is watching black swans.

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