Being “Trumped” is going to take on a whole new meaning from now on. Over the last year I have found it very hard to work up any enthusiasm for the US elections – which is unusual for me – but I will certainly be enthused about American politics for the next four years.
Having worked in Tunisia following the “Arab Spring” I thought Hilary Clinton a dreadful Secretary of State who was completely out of her depth. Donald Trump offered me no solace as I doubted his credentials as either a committed Republican or a conservative. His style is too boorish, too provocative for me but there can be no mistaking that he has tapped into widespread dissatisfaction with the American political establishment.
Not having any political experience has been an asset rather than a liability for Trump and his election is the culminations of the Tea Party movement established over a decade ago to take that establishment on.
President Obama’s legacy is already looking thin and is likely to be eroded further as his “Obamacare” health insurance system will become a target. The rise of health insurance premiums – often by huge amounts – in the run-up to the election undoubtedly contributed to some of Hilary Clinton’s unpopularity, as she had been a big supporter of the health programme.
The biggest challenge for Trump will not be unifying the American people – the majority of them will give him the chance to be a leader for all of them – no, it will be delivering on the expectations he has created.
Will he really be able to build a wall along the Mexican border, and get the Mexican government to pay for it? Will he really be able to double economic growth when he talks of abandoning various trade deals that are central to US exports? Will he be able to restore the American manufacturing jobs and can his defence posture be as isolationist as he has vowed?
Fortunately he has a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate that will help to pass his business tax cuts. Just as important is the fact that the Republicans now have the most State Governors in their history. Governors are far more powerful than is appreciated in Britain and will help him get the economy moving as he spends more money on roads, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure.
In two years’ time there are 28 Democratic senators up for re-election and if they are seen to have been obstructive then Trump and the Republicans might strengthen their grip further.
Trump may do only four years – or he may get the bug, become popular and be encouraged for a second term.
Home truths in the Frost report
The people of Edinburgh owe a debt of thanks to David Frost, the departing director of the Scotch Whisky Association who is returning to the diplomatic service, taking up a post at the Foreign Office to advise Boris Johnson.
In a not so diplomatic parting shot he has written frankly about his impressions of Scotland – and Edinburgh in particular. His honesty was refreshing.
Much as he appreciated Edinburgh’s beauty and its many attributes and advantages he also called out the city’s “filthy” and pothole-ridden appearance. Nor did he spare Edinburgh Airport for its manifest problems with disembarcation.
He is right in every respect. Anyone who has travelled as much as David Frost has can see Edinburgh’s potential, but our visionless and parochial council holds us back. Next May’s council election is our opportunity to put that right.
Sturgeon seeks to divide and rule
Nicola Sturgeon is never one to scorn an opportunity to take up a fight with our UK Government, no matter the cost or the irrelevance to her legitimate responsibilities and now forgotten priorities of education and health.
By wading into the Supreme Court appeal over how to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that will start the process of Brexit she will further divide rather than heal our country after two punishing referenda. She divides Scotland between ourselves and she divides England against Scotland – rather than heal our differences and bring us together.
It is for SNP members at the House of Commons to record their views when the legislation required comes before them, as it must and will – not for the Scottish Government to waste our money on political posturing. With or without their approval Article 50 will be triggered one way or another, for there is little prospect of our MPs rejecting it and forcing a general election that would lose many of the objectors their seats.
Broken down by constituency 408 voted for Brexit with 242 against, including a majority of Labour seats. There will be only one winner between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. Maybe permanent turmoil is what Nicola Sturgeon wants – it certainly takes our eyes off the shambles her government is making of running Scotland.
My book will be a load of tripe
After many years of researching at the expense of my waistline I am about to write a new book on the wonders of Offal. I kept putting it off due to the demands of those darned referenda but I am now hoping next year might give me the time to type up my notes, recall my experiences and reveal unusual recipes.
Spicy black pudding from Trinidad, monkfish liver from the Atlantic Ocean, foie gras from the Tarn, fried tripe from Botswana, roasted marrow bone from Amiens, and my own homemade haggis will all feature in The Offal Cookbook. If you have any offal recipes you would like to share with me I’d love to hear about them via the Evening News postbag.