The World Needs A Trump Presidency 

America and The West has been sick for years. The fever had to break sooner or later.

Before I start this, let me make myself abundantly clear: I have not, am not, and never will or could be a supporter or fan of Donald John Trump Snr. This living breathing clown shoe represents everything that is wrong with America, and the world. His words and actions showing support for racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia (to name but a few faults) are beyond my comprehension and barriers of taste and decency. That said, these do not appear to be beyond the boundaries of others. 

We’ve been hearing more and more over the last few months, and especially after the election, of the surprise in Trump’s following. His pledges pandering to the basic fears of the ill informed American (banning Muslims, reversing Obamacare, punishing abortion, building “The Wall”) has drawn back a curtain on a country so utterly divided it no longer deserves the title of United States. I mean it must be bad if an entire state like California wants to remove itself from the union. Right now America is no more united than England can realistically be part of a United Kingdom after Brexit. 

Given the frankly awful options America was forced to choose their next Commander-In-Chief from , I always saw Hillary Clinton as the least worst option out of her and Trump. But now, given this deep nationwide divide I do wonder if another President Clinton would have been a bigger mistake than Trump in the White House. Yes, you may say that’s crazy, nay impossible. But consider Clinton for a minute. Firstly, a female president, while very welcome by many and indeed needed, is clearly too big a step for a country, of which half its population  simply couldn’t cope with something just as progressive and hopeful as a black US president. Hillary Clinton’s presidency would have been blocked at every turn by the Republicans, and achieved less than Mr. Obama’s time in office, because she would be another Democrat in a Republican house. And God forbid, a female Democrat in that house! At the end of the day, being the first serious female contender for President is not enough to qualify you for the highest office in the land.

Hillary Clinton is also part of the very system that Trump supporters and those oh so important swing voters feel has let them down. All those jobs going to “foreign lands”, being “taken by those immigrants” (just one of the staples of many a Republican campaign that horrendously simplifies a complex situation to dangerous racial bias, yet which Trump claims he can magically fix). 

Ultimately, Clinton couldn’t be trusted because of her history, both in her career and personal life. Whether or not you believe the laundry list of corruption allegations going as far back as the Watergate scandal, to the perfectly timed FBI investigations in to (disproven) security breaching emails, whether proven false or not, mud like that sticks. And in a career spanning 40+ years, that amount of mud becomes a straightjacket, impossible to escape or convincingly hide from observers. For these (admittedly oversimplified) reasons, Clinton was the wrong choice for President, and for the Democratic nomination. The DNC failed to recognise that the people simply wanted someone they could trust and that a female candidate, while a great achievement, is pointless if she’s wearing one of those straightjackets. By pushing Clinton to the forefront, the Democrats failed the country they claimed they wanted to govern.

Source: CNN

And if, in some alternate reality, Mrs Clinton did become president, of course there would be elation from her supporters, but I do believe the backlash (or “white-lash” may be more appropriate) from disgruntled Trump supporters would have been just as disappointed/heart-broken/frustrated/angry (and possibly more violent) as what we’ve been seeing from the millions of Clinton/anti-Trump supporters. But this is the nature of democracy, heck any contest; to have a winner there must be a loser. You may argue that (see above CNN graphic) Clinton should have won based on the popular vote and that the Electoral Votes don’t truly reflect the views of the people. There’s only one problem with that; a victory of 0.1% isn’t a mandate to go against the rule of the land, or change the wishes of 52.6% of the country that didn’t want Clinton. As a Brit who voted remain in our ridiculous EU referendum, I can say this from experience; all your protests, your petitions, while valid and even required to voice your concerns and fears, ultimately accomplishes nothing except to further highlight the chasm within America. You have already spoken with your vote. You live in a democracy, you champion it. This is it. Deal with it. Fight your corner, please fight, but recognise that this is not just a battle against the next president, but against the very system that gave him not just the opportunity to be considered a candidate, but also the keys to the White House. 

The 45th President of this so called United States of America is a test. Half of Americans got what they wanted, which I believe will be a step back to the worst ideals of the 20th Century. The other half are now in absolute dread at the prospect of being dragged by there by their ankles. Like Brexit before him, Candidate Trump gave political validation to the worst aspects of modern society. But now he’s President Trump he claims he wants to unite the country, and in order to do that, the vile rhetoric of the last 18 months has to be dialled down. This inevitably means that some of his (often half baked, if not, raw) pledges that he has made to his baying rally crowds will have to be flipped. When 2017 starts let’s see what happens to that stupid wall of his that “Mexico will pay” an estimated  $25bn for. Let’s see what really happens when he tries to deport an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants from US soil. All of America will be watching to see if he can deliver on these and other ridiculous, populist pledges; half hoping he can, the other half praying he can’t.

Even up to the beginning of November the idea of President Trump was always a joke. The reality of it just isn’t funny. What this clown shoe represents isn’t just a failure of America, but a failure of the so-called “Civilised Society”. Across the Westernised world, its people are rising up and rebelling against authority like a hot headed teenager screaming “you don’t tell me what to do”! With President Trump, Brexit, and the growing popularity of right wing politics across Europe, we face the mother of a globalised hormone charged tantrum. So maybe it’s time to let loose the reigns. Let these societies, these metaphorical spoilt brats go out and make their mistakes. Indulge in their ill advised and poorly thought out vices. Then hopefully, in time, they’ll wake up with their heads in the metaphorical gutter, vividly remembering and forever regretting the stupid mistakes they made. Because they clearly have not learnt from their elders, or paid attention in history class when being told about the catastrophic rise of the right wing across Europe just 80 years ago. Or worse, maybe they just don’t care.

There are two further outcomes from this election that I’d like to quickly share. The first is that we now have concrete proof that time travel does not and will never exist, because no one in the future would look back at the last year of this destructive freak show of an Democratic election campaign and say “no, I wouldn’t change a thing” and not do something about it! And secondly, amusingly, possibly childishly, here in England Trump means “fart”. Next year we will be witness to the Fart Presidency. “Ladies and gentlemen, President Fart”!! Purile I know, but if simple pathetic jokes like that can still make you laugh this week, then we’re in with a shot of cleaning up this mess. You could say let’s wait for Trump’s follow-through.

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I agree with Donald Trump, but not for the same reasons.

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This week was the 35th anniversary of the death of Mr. John Lennon; the man who sang at Christmas “War is.over if you want it”. Well it turns out we don’t want it, at least certain Powers-That-Be don’t. After multiple “military interventions” in recent years, in Libya, Afghanistan and twice in Iraq, it seems we still think dropping bombs will solve the problems we face – problems that our esteemed leaders created, by dropping bombs. Seriously, rats learn quicker!

Of course America is in this coalition against Cystitis (there’s so many names for these “Islamic militants” I thought I’d use the one comedian Adam Hills came up with), and in America there’s a man with a plan. A plan that he thinks will stop terrorist attacks in the United States. That man is Donald Trump, and the plan is to ban Muslims from entering the USA.

Now I know there are those of you that think this is total overkill, but I think Mr. Trump is right. Go on, do it. Ban Muslims from entering the US. Seriously, do it. And while you’re at it, why not ban Jewish people as well. And don’t stop there, why not ban homosexuals too? Add Hispanics to the list. Heck, just include any religious, sexual orientation, ethnic or other group of people that you blame for the problems in your America. Ban them all, and then sit back in your white ivory tower and watch as the problems you thought you could solve through banning select groups of people instead of, oh I don’t know – GUNS, continues unabated.

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We’re always told not to give in to fear, that we should rise above it – conquer it. If you have a fear of heights, you climb to the top of the tallest tower. If you have a fear of dogs, get a dog! (Friends quote there.) That’s what this is all about; fear. The very word “Islamaphobia” denotes a fear of Islam. And as the saying goes,’we always fear what we don’t understand’. So surely we should rise above the fear and try to understand Muslims and their place in the world, instead of demonising and destroying their way of life.

Now I know there a people out there who looks at these “militants”, guns and knifes in hand, faces obscured by headscarfs, and see them as nothing short of evil. That they’re trying to destroy our way of life  And you’re right to worry, but the actions of terrorists ultimately has nothing to do with their beliefs, ethnicity or anything else. At the end of the day I don’t care what group you’re from; if you’re black or white, Muslim or Christian, gay or straight, blonde or brunette, Star Trek or Star Wars – the minute you slit someone’s throat, or shoot them in the head, or drop bombs on innocent civilians, you lose the right to any of those labels and are stuck with just one: murderer. Hiding behind a twisted version of an ancient belief structure is nothing more than an excuse. Many believe that religion is responsible for many of the worlds conflicts, a view I also subscribe to. Heck, it can also cause conflict in the family – what about the adage of the two topics you should never discuss around the dinner table; politics and religion? Ever since the dawn of mankind people have subscribed to various belief systems, and it has always caused conflict. You would think that after a millennia we as a species would have been able to evolve past the ignorance and violence to acceptance and tolerance of other peoples views and ideas, but here we are in the 21st Century, still being held back by our fears. And it’s fearmongers like Donald Trump that are holding us back.

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In the wake of Mr. Trump’s fearmongering, there’s a petition doing the rounds calling for Mr. Trump to be banned from the UK – hardly surprising when you read that a quarter of the British public support Trumps immigration policy. Not surprising either that UKIP have jumped on the bandwagon, although even the party’s leader and Mr. Toad lookalike Nigel Farage called Mr. Trumps language a “political step too far”. Banning Mr. Trump seems like the right thing to do at first glance, but once again it’s ignoring the issue. It’s not addressing the intolerance of this man and those who subscribe to his view point, of which there are many. Like I said, people are afraid, and the only way to get past this fear is to discuss it – show evidence to the contrary. Maybe we should be discussing religion around the dinner table after all.

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Now with Mr. Trump, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows the mood of America right now, and he’s stirring it up – he’s creating a tidal wave of hate and fear that could well give him the Republican candidacy for the White House. Ultimately, no matter how much evidence and facts you present to debunk his arguments, he’s hardly likely to listen. It’s fascinating that someone so well known for “reality TV” seems to live in a world of such abject fantasy. So for him we make an exception to the rule; we ignore him. Don’t interview him, don’t give him the time of day, but don’t ban him either because then he’s the victim, that’s how he feeds – he draws power from negativity. Cut him off!!

This post was brought to you by The Wishful Thinking And Pigs Might Fly Society. Because sometimes, common sense really isn’t that common.

 

Fear and Loathing in Great Britain: The Real Legacy of David Cameron

4It’s totally normal that when a person is nearing the end of a job, they would want to leave knowing that they had some kind of impact. Barack Obama is clearly thinking of his time in office. I’m sure Zayn Wotisname from that boyband my little girl likes did the same thing. Our illustrious leader, still with four and a half years of premiership left, is clearly doing the same. After all, he said even before the election he would be stepping down after this term in office. He clearly wants to leave the impression on the world stage that he created a “Greater Britain”, yet as I sit here now, I can see David Cameron’s legacy as British Prime Minister will be one of scaremongering, manipulation and segregation (and to a certain degree, swine based debauchery). He believes in a country that cares nothing for its own citizens. He believes in a country more concerned with money than with humanity – a country that he is turning in to a corporate playground with little hideaways for tax evaders. Now you could probably say that this is just the angry rant of some anti-Tory leftie who doesn’t respect the democratic process. You’d be wrong. I accept the result of the General Election. What I deplore is the lies Mr. Cameron told to win that election. I have no problem with the Conservatives. I know many Tories and they are genuinely nice people. What I question is whether the party in power is really a Tory party, or is it like it is in America, with the Republicans being infiltrated by the infamous Tea Party? Now I’m not quite sure what our version of the Tea Party would be called, but I’m pretty sure it would still begin with a ‘T’. Heck maybe it’s UKIP, I don’t know. Either way, if you look at the actions of our six month old government (not the lies we have been told), they do appear to be very similar to a small section of our American counterparts.

2David Cameron’s new Conservative party claims to be the party for working people; that they have the UK citizens best interests at heart. This years Conservative Party Conference seems to suggest otherwise, with every major speech or claim made by a senior Tory minister expertly dissected, derided and more often than not, dis-proven.

1Theresa May stated that we need tighter controls on immigration, repeating the claim she made back in November 2010. It was seen as nothing more than an attempt by the Home Secretary to lay blame on the (apparent) state of the country on people from other countries; people whom, as it has been proven time and again, make more of a contribution to our society than they do a drain. (A full dissection of the Home Secretaries claims, and evidence to the contrary, can be found here). Her speech, whilst trying to make clear that there needs to be a difference between refugees seeking asylum, and “economic migrants”, still left many, including myself, in doubt over David Cameron’s pledge to take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. This renewed demonisation of migrants, which is “almost devoid of a single factual accuracy”, coupled with the governments increased attacks on the low paid, hard working families, public sector workers and the disabled goes completely against the “cohesive society” soundbite that the Home Secretary coined, with great futility.
imageThis leads neatly in to George Osbourne, as he continued on his austerity journey by announcing he will cut tax credits, despite Mr. Cameron promising before the General Election, that no such cuts would be made. The Chancellor has also gone to great lengths to ignore serious human rights violations as he negotiated trade deals with China recently. A step that even former Tory party chairman Chris Pattem described as “lax” and describing Mr. Osbourne as “very far from traditional Tory instincts”. Showing support for China, as well as Saudi Arabia in a recent back-room deal that saw the worlds dominant oil producer gain a place on the UN Human Rights Council also calls in to question our governments feelings on human rights in this country. This remains a concern as Michael Gove continues to work on repealing the Human Rights Act – a fact that was carefully swept under the Party Conference carpet but is due to progress in the Autumn. It remains to be seen how much the public will find out about this step from the government directly, but I suspect little will be made by them of our links with countries that flaunt human rights to secure multi-million pound trade deals for oil and arms.

1jeremy-huntAnd then there was our trusted Health Secretary and rhyming slangs best friend, Jeremy Hunt. A man who has made no secret of his ambitions to be Tory party leader once Mr. Cameron steps down (Mr. Osbourne and Mrs. May are also considered contenders). A man who treats the country’s health service, its employees and its patients with such contempt you have to wonder if keeping Cameron around as leader a bit longer is the lesser of two evils. Mr. Hunt has had a busy month; from insulting Junior Doctors with an enforced (non-negotiated), unworkable, immoral contract, (a story I will be looking at in greater detail in my next piece) to insulting anyone in this country with a pulse by saying they need to work harder, like the Chinese. I’m all for hard work, but that alone isn’t enough. You need investment as well, plus recognition that there are those that are physically unable to work. What happens to them? This poisonous rhetoric of ‘survival of the fittest’ spouted by Mr. Hunt and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith (or IDS as he’s become known, which doesn’t at all sound like an expensive treatment for infected hemorrhoids) is just another spit in the face for those who struggle, who need help. People who genuinely need a welfare state that is being ripped out from under them. Never mind this being un-British; it’s inhumane.

Then there was the grand finale of the Conservative Party Conference, where David Cameron stood up on stage and performed the biggest work of modern day fiction over seen in a party conference. From describing Jeremy Corbyn as “a threat to national security” by cleverly quoting the new Labour leader but removing any context, (you can see Mr. Corbyn’s full thoughts, in context, here) to proudly declaring that his policies are helping the country’s poor when the opposite has been proven, he has shown nothing but barefaced contempt for the people of this country through twisting facts and figures, or just outright lying to support his own self/friends serving narrative.
imageMr. Cameron has this dream of turning the UK in to a country of “high wage, low tax and low welfare”. In theory this is something that I’m in favour of, well two-thirds anyway. I mean what family doesn’t want more money in their pocket and less to go to the tax man? The thing is that we have tax for a reason; to fund our schools, our hospitals, the upkeep of our roads and waste disposal services etc. This government, as with several before, have gone out of their way to demonise tax when they should be relying on it, championing it. People want more money, obviously, but they also want to live in a country that is kept functioning properly, You only need to look at a survey showing that a vast majority of people in this country would back a tax rise to support the NHS. I honestly do believe that if we could see our tax money in real action, making a difference to our country’s infrastructure instead of just lining politicians pockets, then we would have no real problem with it, but to live in one of the highest taxed countries in the world and to have the problems we have is just plain negligence, It is the reason why we are losing our welfare state and our other vital public services, and it’s clear evidence that the government is not listening to and does not represent the people of the UK.

3There is also the divisive subject of national defense, in particular Trident. Now I totally understand the need to defend your nation’s borders against external threats, but you have to ask if nuclear weapons are really the way to go. Mr. Cameron has gone on record as saying that he would have no problem pushing the button, and that Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to commit to such a stance undermines national security. Be in no doubt, this is scaremongering at it’s best. Firstly, if David Cameron were to press that big red button first he would be nothing more than a highly paid murderer. Secondly if the Trident missiles were to be launched in retaliation it would not have been that much of a deterrent in the first place. We are constantly told that the biggest threat to our national security right now (current Labour leader excepted) is So Called Islamic State. They don’t have nuclear weapons, they have propaganda, ideology. There is more chance of an IS member already in this country getting in to the Trident system to launch the missiles on our own soil than there is of us needing to fire them off to Syria, Iraq or any other middle eastern country our government has a vested interest in. It makes no sense. Trident isn’t a nuclear deterrent, it’s a political one – something our government can shake to make themselves look big in front of other countries.

5It’s the same argument as in America – calls are growing louder for stricter gun controls because of multiple mass shootings this year alone, yet the trigger happy faithful believe such a move will strip them of any defense against ‘the enemy’, constantly invoking their second amendment right to carry fire arms – an amendment that was invoked in 1791 when muskets were the weapon of choice, not semi-automatic rifles. Times have changed, war has changed. I wish I could say war will stop one day, but I can’t honestly say that, simply because we’re so damn good at it. We always find an excuse to pick a fight, and as we all know, nothing drives the economy faster than war. So why would we stop? The way war is fought has changed – much more divisive, much more guerrilla-like than ‘the good old days’ of the Cold War. Trident is irrelevant. Even military spokesmen have said this, saying that funds would have greater effect being used on weapons and equipment for soldiers on the front line, the ones in all the conflicts we have our feet in around the world. We sit here and berate the Americans for their stupid, antiquated, 200-year old guns laws, and yet we have exactly the same problem here with Trident. The governments priorities are totally out of touch with those of the people.
wpid-img_20151007_175119.jpgDavid Cameron’s legacy will speak for itself when the political dust has settled around his tenure as Prime Minister. The facts above will break through the spin and innuendo that this Conservative government relies so heavily upon, but by that time it will be too late. Austerity will have pummeled those already in financial hardship. Our hospitals will be run by profit hungry conglomerates rather than care providing doctors and nurses. Our children will be packed in a hundred to a room because of the 50% reduction of teaching staff.

One of my favourite phrases is this: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. So what if it’s from Star Trek that’s how it should be. For so many people that’s how it is. You only need to look at the public reaction to the plight of the Syrian refugees to know that in spite of our own problems, when there are others in trouble we step up to help. Even if it’s just to give a terrified kid a stuffed toy, we step up. Sadly, there is the minority who thrive on secrets, lies, under-hand trade deals and ill-gotten gains. Mr. Cameron and his government has taken that powerful line and changed it to something far more sinister, but appropriate for their view of this world – “The wants of the few outweigh the needs of the many”. Maybe that should be the real New Conservative logo. At least then we’d really know where we stand.

When Humanity Rises

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As we get in to September there will doubtless be many looking back over this year known as 2014 and starting to compile their own End Of year Review. You know the one’s, where we are reminded of various events and facts from the previous 12 months, often using a mildly witty and amusing point of view. Thing is, as I look back from my point of view, 2014 could be seen as, well, not the best year we’ve had. In fact I could go on record and say 2014 sucks. Look at what’s happened recently (no, Wonder Woman’s costume in the Batman V Superman film or someone leaving someone elses ice cream out of the freezer did not make the list. And yes, that was a Great British Bake Off reference!):

  • Escalated conflict in Gaza
  • Chemical warfare in Syria
  • Militant uprising in Iraq
  • Race related riots in Ferguson, Missouri
  • Plane crash and invasion in Ukraine
  • Young girls forcibly taken from their schools and still missing in Nigeria
  • A 9 year old girl killing her gun instructor with an Uzi
  • The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa
  • The mysterious missing Malaysian Airlines plane
  • The prosecution of many public figures for abuse charges, and their subsequent convictions. 

In many of these examples, and many I’ve not even mentioned, you could argue that this year has not been humanities finest hour.

Or has it?

I started thinking about this when I saw this recent excerpt from the Adam Hill fronted “The Last Leg” (Channel 4). For those who haven’t seen the preceding clip, a certain extreme church in America (I’m not even going to write their name on this article as they’ll probably take it as some kind of promotion) announced they were going to boycott Robin William’s funeral. Adam Hill was so outraged, he announced live that he would “personally pay for every member to fly first class to Iraq”. And then this happened.

This is just one of hundreds of examples of basic decent humanity standing up to any form of negativity, any form of hate, and turning it around. It happened when Jon Snow returned from Gaza and put his feelings on YouTube which kickstarted a massive outcry for more awareness to be raised. It happened with the #BringBackOurGirls putting social pressure on Nigerian powers-that-be to find kidnapped children. It happened with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which incidentally caused some in Gaza to do their own Rubble Bucket Challenge. Yes it was a blatant sarcastic jibe at the ALS campaign, but at least it proved they still had a sense of humour!

Humanity is flawed – governed by emotions feelings and beliefs that not everyone can agree on, but as we’ve seen through the various awareness and fund raising campaigns, humanity always rises to the occasion. Many of the events in this year have been of terrible, catastrophic, heinous levels, the likes of which should make us ashamed of ourselves as a species. But it’s our reaction to these events, how we’ve been so outraged by these acts and what we’ve done to make even a small difference to the outcome that proves we do care. We want to be better. We want to do better. As long as we can hold on to that desire, then humanity can defeat it’s own inner demons, and when you see the inevitable 2014 End Of Year Review you will know that we are not beyond hope. 

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