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Dreams

DREAMS are dangerous.

They fuel ideals, run counter to reality and can quickly turn to nightmares.

My own sleepy-time dreams are a joke. Nothing much happens in them. Last night, I dreamed that someone had a bottle of sea water, and I drank some, and he said: "What a berk." The end.

As if that weren't enough, I daydream too, though at least here one has more command over the content. I drink sea water. Someone says: "What a berk." And I say: "No, I'm not." In my dreams.

Jang Song-thaek had dreams. Alas, they were the wrong dreams. Or, as his uncle, the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, had it, they were "different dreams". So Kim had him purged.

Jang was a big player in North Korean politics. Kim thought him too big for his totalitarian boots.

He was accused of faction-building and of "dissolute and depraved behaviour". In North Korea, this can consists of guffawing in a libidinous manner. But Jang was accused of more than that: to wit, drug use, womanising and gambling.

His purging was public. He was forcibly removed from a meeting by two uniformed men. Here's some tourist advice if you're thinking of Pyongyang rather than Troon this year: avoid anyone in uniform. Which is pretty much everybody.

Experts describe the purge as the most significant in North Korea's history, since Jang was such a prominent figure in the family business (dictating). It was another example, too, of young Kim securing his reputation as top hot-head.

Part of the charge sheet against Jang included being "wined and dined at back parlours of deluxe restaurants".

Deluxe? Who talks about deluxe nowadays? Still, it's a sign that North Korea is catching up. With the 1950s. That said, Jang's crime seems to have been having a 1960s sensibility. As well as "dreaming different dreams", he was further accused of being "easy going".

How awful. No one knows what will happen to him now. House-arrest for the moment, certainly, though there's also talk of his being "moved to the countryside", which is a fate worse than death. Well, actually, it is death.

That'll learn him. Dreaming on the job. And different dreams at that. I'm not sure what you are supposed to dream in North Korea.

Kim scoring the winning goal in the cup, I expect. And no-one shouting from the terraces: "What a berk!"

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