trumpOn paper, it’s already beginning to resemble a bizarre social experiment – replace the time-honoured tradition of a country being run by career politicians schooled in years of public office and hand over the reins of power to a man whose sole working experience has been within the field of big business and entertainment. Light the blue-touch paper, stand at a safe distance and watch the fireworks.

It won’t be until next Monday that Donald Trump marks just one month as resident of the White House, yet so much has been crammed into the last four strange weeks that it feels much longer. Just this week has seen the first resignation from his administration – his National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, over allegations of uncomfortably close associations with the Russian Ambassador to the US; the FBI are currently investigating Flynn and perceiving his relationship with Sergey Kislyak as part of the ongoing suspicions over the Kremlin’s involvement in the Trump Presidency.

Trump has already set himself against the judiciary following the ramifications and legal challenges to his 90-day ban on visitors from seven selected Islamic countries, not to mention invoking the ire of those who were opposed to his Presidency from day one. Ordinarily, Americans will display inbred respect towards their President, whichever side of the political divide he stands on; all of this has been turned on its head by Trump; displaying that inbred respect in 2017 is the aberration, not the norm. Every policy so far announced has been a red rag to the liberal bull, yet every policy also appears to have reinforced the majority of his campaign promises – something most imagined would be quietly swept under the carpet once he took the oath of office. Even that bloody wall has been threatened. This isn’t what usually happens when people are elected.

Then again, under normal circumstances, when people are elected they’ve usually become so skilled in the art of saying one thing when in opposition and then doing another when in government that the public are accustomed to being let down. Lest we forget, however, these are not normal circumstances. Donald Trump is not a normal politician. In fact, I’d question whether or not he’d even find that job description as applicable to him, despite the lofty position he now finds himself in.

Previously, outsider was a term political observers had used to describe the likes of Jimmy Carter or Margaret Thatcher. In the case of Carter, he was a State Governor barely known outside of that State, but a country decimated by the fallout of Watergate turned to him as a break with the established Washington elite that had let the nation down; in the case of Thatcher, she may have had prior government experience, but she too was seen as a break with the recent past of continuous industrial turmoil that had characterised the British 70s; and, of course, she was a woman. Both were outsiders, albeit outsiders on the inside. The same could be said of Barack Obama, who was at least a State Senator before running for President. Trump has never been on the inside and that was his genuine outsider’s sales pitch; it worked.

Disillusionment with the old order has been gathering speed for the last decade, with the 2008 economic meltdown cited by many as the moment when the public realised things were not going to get better and the powers-that-be had no interest in making any country great again. The ground had been laid for a figure like Trump to come along a long time before he actually emerged as a candidate, yet a media machine in bed with those powers-that-be was not going to benefit from them being deposed; therefore, Trump’s campaign was understandably mocked and ridiculed from day one – an eventuality he himself aided and abetted with his behaviour. Even some of us not belonging to that media machine couldn’t really foresee Trump actually going all the way because it was such a dramatic severance of the world order as we had always known it that it seemed impossible to imagine that kind of surreal scenario. But it happened.

I often doubt the sanity of those who hanker after the highest office in the land, whether President or Prime Minister; we can all cite examples of past Presidents or PMs who were either chronically stupid or criminally devious – or both; the aphrodisiac of power has always eluded me, but there’s no doubt it serves as an irresistible element for the men or women in public office who crave it like a drug. That in itself suggests to me symptoms of mental disorder and potential demagoguery, so amateur diagnoses of Trump’s state of mind shouldn’t be restricted to him alone; they should be applied across the board.

Former Labour Foreign Secretary and founding member of the SDP, Dr David Owen combined his medical knowledge with his political experience by covering the subject in a couple of books, ‘The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair and the Intoxication of Power’ and ‘In Sickness and In Power: Illness in Heads of Government during the last 100 Years’; and I reckon the connections are entirely relevant. You’d have to be mad to want to run a country, and I guess that’s why so many world leaders are.

As for the Donald, what happens next is anyone’s guess. 2020 seems a hell of a long way off at the moment and right now it’s difficult to picture him reaching the end of four years, let alone contemplating a second term. But for all the wishful thinking by the left of impeachment, we shouldn’t forget his Vice President Mike Pence. Trump may be an outsider, but he’s chosen to surround himself with some Republican stalwarts whose narrow minds make Trump’s stated vision of America seem radically liberal. Many may not be comfortable with the thought of Trump’s finger hovering above the button, but the prospect of President Pence is considerably more concerning; Pence is an insider, the kind of establishment figure Trump was supposed to be a break with. So, be careful what you wish for, you Twitter Oswald’s.

© The Editor

5 thoughts on “28 DAYS LATER

  1. “The ground had been laid for a figure like Trump to come along a long time”…or Bernie Saunders, but the party for whose nomination he was running corrupted the selection process to make sure their entitled shoo-in (ha!) got the nod. Idiots.

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  2. There’s no doubt that the USA’s ‘liberal establishment’ is still suffering a profound case of PTSD – they really can’t believe it happened and have no idea how to handle it, other than by displaying daily tantrums at every opportunity they can create. Whether this will calm in the coming months or become a crescendo of crippling cries and stamping toddler-feet remains to be seen.
    There’s equally no doubt that Trump’s demeanour, particularly in setting out to implement his radical campaign promises (whether you like them or not), is adding further to their grief, as most high office-holders very soon ‘go native’ when faced with the continuous, concerted and subtle pressures of all the resident back-office administrators – Trump’s apparent immunity to all this must be driving them crazier than usual in uncomprehending frustration.
    It is interesting that the UK’s establishment now seems to have worked out how to accommodate their own ‘Brexit shock’ somewhat more easily than the younger American one has managed – maybe their greater maturity and experience helped, or maybe Trump’s win helped to put the relatively mild Brexit trauma into its proper context.
    One thing seems certain is that, if Trump survives a full term (or, shock-horror, even two terms), then the political landscape of the USA and much of the developed world will be changed for generations. Whether that is for good or ill, we must wait with some not-inconsiderable degree of trepidation.

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  3. Many may not be comfortable with the thought of Trump’s finger hovering above the button
    Trump actually used the term “nuclear holocaust” in his press conference yesterday. It was something to do with Russia, though what point he was making was lost on me. He rambled and blustered away about the negative bias of the media (including the BBC, as he told Jon Sopel when he tried to get a word in edgeways), winning the election (yes, we know), Hillary Clinton (again), talking over journalists trying to ask him questions (“ExCUSE me!”), denying business interests in Russia, denying Russia was trying to test him. It was as if he was on day release from the old folks’ home.

    This is off topic but might you consider reviving your excellent “Exposure” spoofs and doing a Rolf special? One that supports his case, of course! Perhaps a private edition for his team of lawyers and private investigators to boost morale? He seems to be getting the DLT treatment, with the CPS creating an extra charge by splitting one to make two. He was due for release in July but will be retried in May. Who knows, they might actually manage to kill him off. More information on the Support Justice for Rolf Harris Facebook page and http://www.rolfharrisisinnocent.com

    Your Witchfinder General (“a committed crusader who will not rest until every paedophile in Britain has been brought to justice“, according to his IMDb bio, written by “Anonymous”) broadcast Rolf’s name to the world in the midst of the Savile scandal (https://twitter.com/mwilliamsthomas/status/274181776283406337?lang=en), showing an apparently close link with Operation Yewtree, as he was able to say the interview was taking place “currently”, and including hashtags next to “Savile” and “sexual offences”, thus presumably drawing more attention to the tweet, and to Rolf’s name in that context. The tweet certainly attracted attention, as it was retweeted over 800 times. Moreover, it went out on the day the Lord Leveson published his report saying “I think that it should be made abundantly clear that save in exceptional and clearly identified circumstances (for example, where there may be an immediate risk to the public), the names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released to the press or the public” (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140122145147/http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780_ii.pdf). What with the regular reports of elderly men being tried for historic sex offences, it seems that the Witchfinder’s pronouncement in a BBC interview has come true “if we can ta… if we can prosecute or have prosecuted the most untouchable, then everybody is fair game” (@4:00 https://audioboom.com/posts/2867220-mark-williams-thomas-on-bbc-radio-5-live-gary-glitter-csa-inquiry?utm_campaign=detailpage&utm_content=retweet&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter) [I suspect when he said “ta” he was about to say “target”, then caught himself]. Maybe an “Exposure Update” on his latest heroics would also be appropriate. I would have thought Rolf might have had grounds to sue, but perhaps he won’t get the chance.


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