The Race. July 1016.

Dear Rowley,

In breaking news, further evidence that US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour might be losing her touch. Apparently, she’s been advising Democratic US Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton on image. If the outfits she’s worn for the Democratic nomination rally are anything to go by, Old Mother Wintour might  be a closet Republican.

Mrs Clinton is a diminutive, matronly lady – nowt wrong with that I know – and yet Vogue  puts her in a white trouser suit that makes Hilary look like Boss Hogg. Furthermore the jacket was cut in what can only be described as a Merkel Line. It was a truly horrible garment. Neither was I taken much with the Chairman Mao chic electric blue trouser suit she wore when appearing after President Obama’s endorsement. Two words: Shirin Guild.

Granted, Hilary Clinton does not have the figure for the beautiful sharp-shouldered and soft skirted dresses that Robin Wright wears as Claire Underwood in House of Cards. Neither could she rock a sleek elfin crop  a la Claire. Put it this way, it is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel when Tracey Ulman’s impressions show returns for a new series.

You would rightly say that female politicians are unfairly judged on appearance and that it couldn’t matter less whether Mrs Clinton wore a MuMu and carpet slippers as long as she is a competent Commander-in-Chief of the USA. I agree as it happens.

As far as I am concerned, having Mrs May in No 10 Downing Street and Mrs Clinton in the White House is a progressive, sensible step. The world needs a woman’s touch right now. I had a date with a thirty-year-old City boy working in HR who told me deadpan that women were too emotional and thus temperamentally unsuited to lead in the financial services industry. I looked at my watch and it was 1972.

When Mrs Clinton said she had shattered a glass ceiling,  I didn’t underestimate what an important moment her nomination was for feminism. But – and there is a big but – I would have been more comfortable had she not been a member of the Clinton dynasty. American politics is a glorified aristocracy as it has been since the Kennedy and Old Bull of Bush eras.

Seeing Chelsea Clinton introduce her mother at the rally, I had a premonition of a third President Clinton in my lifetime. A hereditary right to power is the reason we no longer have the divine right of kings and our constitutional monarchy is so effective. I notice that the Clintons are playing down the idea of having two Presidents in the White House and no wonder considering Bill’s contribution to world history is a stain on Monica Lewinsky’s Primark dress.

I am equally uncomfortable with endemic racism in the Untied States. Yes, we’ve had eight years of Obama but I can’t see that his administration has significantly healed the racial divide in America.  Nor has he controlled gun laws. Hilary promises right to bear arms reform but I was chilled by the line in her speech when she said ‘we’re not going to take your guns away from you’. Well, you bloody well should lady!

Coincidentally, I happened to be at a performance of Showboat at the New London Theatre last night with the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Though the performance was a triumph at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre, it is now playing to more than half empty houses in the West End.

When Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s musical about race opened on Broadway in 1927 it caused a scandal. The first line is ‘Niggers all work on the Mississippi’ and the backbone of the story concerns the unfairness of bigoted, decadent ‘white folk’ who behave appallingly while the dignified, downtrodden black population labour under the cosh.

The music in Showboat is sublime and the subject still controversial. The scene when ‘mulatto’ songbird Julie Jordan is thrown-off the Cotton Blossom showboat with her white husband is still shocking. I still cry when I hear Ol’ Man River because it reminds me of Garland’s version and Bill is just a beautiful love song.

The voices on the New London Stage were the finest you will hear in the West End: not over-miked, totally pure and technically faultless. So why was the show half-full? Well, it is an old fashioned musical and the subject isn’t particularly ‘feel good’ like The Bodyguard or Beautiful. The audience was largely made-up of pensioners and I don’t think I saw a single black face in the auditorium: just saying.

For me, the evening belonged entirely to Sandra Marvin who plays the saucy black mama Queenie. The character is as stereotypical as Mammie in Gone With the Wind but she is the heart and the the soul of this Showboat revival. A question thought. Why was Queenie’s Ballyhoo cut from the show? I love that number almost as much as Queenie’s Hey Fella.

In many respects, gay rights have been fast-tracked in the Western World while race is still a seething cauldron of hatred. The terrorist epidemic that has swept Europe in latter years has reignited the ugliest face of racism that might have been dormant but never went away in the UK and the US.

I find Donald Trump unforgivable because he is a racist as well as a hypocrite, bigot, hothead and pig-in-a-wig-in-a-trough. The man is loathsome. Bravo Illuminati for putting him forward thus guaranteeing President Clinton’s inauguration later this year.