Although the petulant rants and insubstantial accusations of fraud by president Donald Trump will eventually cease and Joe Biden will become US president in January, the long-term damage he may be causing is a salutary warning for other democracies.
Trump’s legacy will be to leave a country bitterly divided, with a majority of Republican voters believing that their democracy is corrupt. He is, therefore, souring the legitimacy and credibility of the Biden presidency before it starts, all the better to prepare the way for another run at the top job by Trump – or one of his shallow dynasty – in 2024.
There is a more serious, longer-term issue. When democracy is discredited and significant numbers of voters blame the politicians for economic, social and cultural decline, the way is open for an ideologically driven dictator to fill the breach and offer simplistic solutions to complex problems. Although Trump has no ideological foundations, other than the fact he uses crowd-pleasing rhetoric and expansive gestures to persuade others to support his fragile ego, he has prepared the way.
The foundations upon which our democracies are built – in the UK as much as elsewhere – are not secure and need to be the subject of continual review and realignment by those who are committed to the welfare and security of all human beings, rather than those who are driven by the exercise of power and their own personal aggrandisement.
First past the post
I agree with Ken Simmons’s letter that it's time the voting system had an overhaul. I am not in the 43 per cent who elected these bumbling buffoons, but we all have to live with the consequences. Over the past 40 years, I have had the same recurrent dream: the end to first past the post. Though now I am not so sure. Every vote counted in the Brexit referendum and look where that has taken us.
Recently there have been a number of reviews of Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land and, without exception, they were all glowing reports about the book and the author. The collection of material concerning some of his time in the White House should be interesting.
There has also been some discussion online about a Trump presidency memoir, although it may be too early to consider this, as he is hoping to be there for another four years (even though that would seem to be a fading dream now). As Trump uses Twitter as his main form of communication, the memoir would be rather brief.
His memoir can actually be written in under 280 characters and even under the original limit of 140 characters, “Veni, Vidi, Vici. Ipsi circumvent”, which translates to “I came. I Saw. I conquered. They cheated”. This tweet also allows a reader to devote the amount of time the memoir would deserve.
UK owes aid money
Overseas aid is not charity, it is a small step towards justice. Garment workers in Bangladesh have allegedly lost £12bn that, because of Covid-19, importers failed to pay for the clothes they had ordered and been supplied. Reportedly, UK retailers were the worst offenders. The UK supposedly owes at least 0.7 per cent to the global south in reparation for unjust trade; 70p in £100 leaves £99.30 of gross national income for our own purposes.
Seems like Boris Johnson is now following his backbenchers rather than the science. And while he seems happy to publish an economic impact assessment of the tier system, he still seems reluctant to similarly publish one on the effects of deal or no-deal Brexit.