mesmile Champions may be only one small step up from Chimps, but in a dangerous World, they’re exactly what we need


Do you know how they stopped the fire of London in the end? Everyone knows where it began but almost nobody knows how it ended but I do and I don’t care if the whole world hates a wiseass so there.

They cordoned off a street two downwind of the flames. Then they blew up the street in between. Then they blew up the street behind them. Then they set fire to the cordoned off street. By the time the Great Fire got to the third street, it was exhausted and short of inflammables. So it died.

Hence the maxim, “fighting fire with fire”.

Fighting fire with fire since the more radically realistic Seventeenth century has  usually involved “firing back”; but that’s how wars start, and it really wasn’t the original concept. The idea at the outset was “take two utterly anti-social things and set them to cancel each other out”. So it was that fire was defeated by explosives and burnt out wrecks.

In mediaeval times and earlier, there was an equally terrific wheeze called Champions. This was where two uppity trouble-making rivals assembled an army behind each other and then turned up at an agreed Field of Valour in order to fight. Quite often, however, the two leaders would settle the issue by riding out into no man’s land and slicing the shit out of each other. But then it dawned on the troublemakers that they had a 50% chance of winding up in pieces, so the hugely self-interested scam was hatched whereby Stalin and Hitler could nominate a champion.

It is difficult from this distance in time to explain just how infinitely dense you had to be in order to take a job as a Champion. This was the deal: because de Boss man and his 2,000 Yeomanry all had a yellow streak, you got to fight it out with the other side’s Champion without any death except the other guy, or you. You didn’t get any lands or titles or stipends or anything: just all the haunch of venison you could eat and mead you could drink plus any groupies who, you know, sort of…oh for heaven’s sake, you know what I mean.

Bottom line, long story short, Sun headline: cancel out the core arseholes, save lives.


Even as a relatively recent convert to pacifism, I find myself attracted to that way of thinking about pointless violence. As in, Homo sapiens is an intelligent thug, so lets use the sapiens bit to allow the thug to enjoy his violence, but on a relatively harmless scale viz, two really thick as pigshit evolutionary dead-end Goliaths get to die as opposed to 4,002 reasonably bright folks. One side then slopes off disappointed, but the argument is over, man: no Supreme Courts or recounts involved: end of dispute, back to a normal life of domestic arguments, football, harmless darts down the pub and poaching the King’s deer.

Everything’s a trade-off, but this one I like. It’s not perfect, but it’s temptingly close.

The question that now hangs in the air is, “How could we apply this to 2016?”

Are you kidding? How long have you got?

I suspect my starting – or even startling – point on this journey of discovery would be a 15-Round contest to the grisly death between John McCain and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Reverting to 11th century rules here, the good news is that you get to kill your nemesis; the bad news is, you have to shut TF up about this issue forever. Button your lip. Bite your tongue. No leaks allowed. Or else.

Next up might be Piers Morgan versus Philip Hammond. I reckon this would be a sellout: the mortal tussle between two smoothy pricks, each wedded to a daft ideology which – a millimetre below the surface – both men see as nothing more than their greasy pole-vault to vicarious fame and flimsy power respectively

Champions are an idea neglected for far too long: Merkel v Erdogan, Schäuble v Tsipras, Hollande v LePen, Corbyn v May, Juncker v Farage, and perhaps now Trump v Xi Jinping. In the nuclear age, it is the safety valve we need.

This sort of analysis is why I should, with almost no room for doubt, be the Supreme Ruler of Earth.


Earlier at The Slog: Can the World resist Trump’s planned hegemony?