Scottish independence, Brexit and now Donald Trump: I'm so proud Edinburgh South rejects division in all its forms – Ian Murray MP

A poll found Edinburgh South had one of the highest rates of support for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the UK (Photos: Getty)A poll found Edinburgh South had one of the highest rates of support for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the UK (Photos: Getty)
A poll found Edinburgh South had one of the highest rates of support for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the UK (Photos: Getty)
Who said politics wasn’t interesting? I am sure there were a lot of very bleary-eyed political animals who stayed awake through the night, glued to the coverage from any television station acronym reporting on the US elections – BBC, CNN, NBC... SOS!

At the time of writing, the knife-edge US presidential election has just tipped towards Joe Biden. Fingers and toes crossed.

Who knows if Biden will be President by the time you read this, as President Trump made clear in the early hours of Wednesday he would petition the US Supreme Court to halt the counting of postal ballots and declare the election in his favour. The irony is if he had made that call just a few hours later he would have halted the election and lost as some states turned blue.

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In the hours since he made that bizarre statement, it is clear why he did. Those who have decided to participate in record numbers by mail, facilitated by the Covid crisis that ironically Trumphas tried to deny, have largely cast their choice for Biden.

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The drama aside, does it matter for us in Edinburgh who the US president is? Well, I think it does.

A major poll for Politico this week showed that three-quarters of British voters would back Biden if they had a vote in the US election, with no UK constituency voting in favour of Trump.

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I am not surprised by those hypothetical results. The majority of people in the UK are disgusted by Trump’s racism, misogyny, mocking of disabled people, his silencing of journalists, the lies and, of course, his Twitter feed.

That’s not to say that some here haven’t adopted his political methods – just look at the way that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage lied to the public in the Brexit referendum. We have our own brand of politicians who peddle impossible solutions to the challenges we face.

But division is certainly something the people of Edinburgh South have rejected time after time.

That’s why we recorded one of the highest votes in the UK against Brexit in 2016 and one of the highest votes against independence in 2014.

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The overwhelming majority of people in the constituency have an inclusive, internationalist outlook.

And, like so many people across the city and the entire country, there is an enduring fondness for the USA – despite the antics of the current tenant of the White House.

That’s why we’re so engaged with what happens in this election. And it has a material impact on us too.

Even if Biden wins (or has won), it will be bittersweet for our planet as the US left the Paris Climate deal this week. That’s a hammer blow to the global fight against climate change as America is the second-largest polluter in the world and a key player in persuading others to take their responsibility for our planet. Let’s hope that COP26 in Glasgow next year can address that.

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Biden has said the climate emergency will be at the top of his agenda. For that alone, it is right for the good voters of Edinburgh South to back him for US President.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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