If I had a vote it would be for Hillary Clinton
Some people might wonder why I am commenting on the USA elections when I am a politician and citizen in the UK. Well there are two reasons. Firstly I have noticed that there have been more than 2,000 hits on my blog site from the USA already this year so I might just influence one or two people. Secondly however, the election in the USA will affect the rest of us just as the UK BREXIT vote caused tremors through the world economy and could do even more damage.
In my previous blogs about the USA I have always made clear that I am a critical friend. On my visits there I have been struck by the friendliness shown to visitors and the respect shown to our Country. I don’t believe that we should have followed you into so many wars but generally we stand together on the right side of the line. I am amazed that a so-called civilised country can allow almost unrestricted gun sales and allows capital punishment often of poorly defended people with limited mental capacity. I am amazed that a wealthy Country should so viciously debate free health care for all its citizens. BUT I do like you honest!!!
So I watched the first Presidential Debate with incredulity. I concentrated on listening to Donald Trump because he is a phenomenon that I find fascinating. The question that most of us ask over here (which was the same we asked about Sarah Palin) is, “How can such a stupid and nasty person possibly be a contender for the highest elected position in your Country?”
Someone here has analysed the speech patterns of Trump and apparently he has the speech patterns on an 11 year old. He seems unable to speak in complete sentences. He seems unable to keep the thread of a conversation going. He has little knowledge of the world outside America; how it works; who its key players are. He has no policies at all for inside your Country. He comes over as a charmless, racist buffoon.
We know that in this Country have has not kept his word. In at least three places in Scotland promises were made about building hotels etc around golf complexes which have not been delivered. He started off with money and has kept money but there is no evidence that he has made new money. We do not have a tradition here of publishing our tax returns when running for public office. In your Country there is such a tradition. There is no legal reason that he cannot do so but he refuses to do so. That must show a problem with his leadership and his concept of openness and transparency.
You may say that we have a Trump of our own – Nigel Farrage. But there are two differences. Firstly that Nigel Farrage would never have been selected by a credible Party as its candidate for high office. The second is that detestable though I find the man he is not illiterate or innumerate. He can string whole sentences together and he knows his maths although he chooses to ignore the results of it!
The USA like most of the developed world is suffering at least some crisis in its democracy. During most of the time that I have been in politics (50 years next April) most people have been part of an upward spiral in living standards, education and quality of life. For many of our citizens that spiral has at best plateaued and at worst has begun to spiral down. No wonder that people are looking at extremist people and crackpot notions as they see the very rich getting very much richer; the rich doing OK; the middle classes stagnating and the working classes falling behind.
Our societies must address that problem. When the top 1% of both our populations own as much in terms of wealth and assets as the bottom 50% there is a serious problem of distribution. You don’t have to be a communist or even a socialist to know that there needs to be a better, fairer distribution. A stable society is own where most of the needs of most of its people are met. Needs include a decent house, a decent job; a decent education; a decent environment. These things and more with a little left over for a holiday and some cash for relaxation.
The brash Anglo/Saxon way of doing things exemplified by your Country but glorified in ours does not leave to individual or community satisfaction. We need to learn from the Nordic Countries where a higher taxation level with less tax exemptions for the wealthy allows for better public services and for the highest levels of satisfaction with life in the developed world. Perhaps we could take that learning curve together?
I have no doubt that the election of Donald Trump will cause major problems in the relationships between your Country and most fog the rest of the World. Treating other Countries as American satraps will not develop joint working and cooperation required to develop trade and peace.
Hilary Clinton might not be the best ever candidate but she is sane, credible, knows her stuff and is well regarded outside the USA. Yes she is, in some ways, the establishment candidate. Sometimes however, being establishment does mean that you know how things work; how to get things done; when to be forceful; when to give way. It means that you have been thinking about a lot of things for a lot of time. Your conclusions might not always be right but they are hopefully informed and rational.
Okay rant over. It’s your decision not mine. It’s your Country not mine. Bur be aware that the World is looking to you as you make your choice. We are concerned about how it will affect us. We do hope that Hilary Clinton, the continuity candidate, will be the one that prevails.