Nemo autem regere potest nisi qui et regi.
No one is able to rule unless he is also able to be ruled. – Seneca, De Ira – On Anger.
So Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States.
A sentence that I hoped I’d never have to actually write in a non-fictional article.
I’ll leave much of the “what went wrong” analysis to others except to say that maybe the “centre-left” (however broadly you want or need to define it) will finally come to realise that the short term gains of triangulating towards your right-wing opponents and just banking that your left wing base support will carry you through because they have no-where else to go has hit its limits. It didn’t work for Pasok. It didn’t work for Labour. It hasn’t worked for the Democrats.
Because, of course, the base does have somewhere else to go. They can choose to simply not vote or they can vote for the charismatic but context free option. Both of these choices happened last night. (Of course, there are other factors too. There seems to have been a very significant “Urban vs Rural” split just to name one).
What’s done is done though and now we need to adjust to our new reality as best we can. Scotland will feel the impact of this vote, so we need to have a think about where and how we can react.
As with so many things, Trump has made deeply conflicted statements regarding his view of international trade agreements. He has both come out strongly against TTIP, TPP and NAFTA (mostly because Clinton was in favour) whilst also saying that post-Brexit UK would be “front of line” for a trade deal (mostly because Obama said we wouldn’t be).
For opponents of TTIP it may well be that the final nail in the coffin could come from an unlikely ‘ally’ indeed. Of course, if Trump manages to square his circle and fulfill both of his promises then independence may well be our bolthole to get away from them.
Trump is about to become the most powerful climate change denying leader on the face of our planet. I really do feel pity for folk in places like Florida who have voted for a series of polices which may well erase significant chunks of their state from the map.
Scotland should absolutely become the counter-example to his fossil energy expansion plans. If America is not going to be the world’s hub for renewable research, development and deployment then we should take it on (we’ll even welcome immigrant scientists and engineers who want to come and help us do it!).
We absolutely cannot sustain a fracking economy in the face of this. For a start, if Trump goes full frack then it may depress prices below the point of sustainability without subsidy. This is my warning to anyone hoping to kick the Scottish fracking can down the road till it’s safely after indy. There’s no mountain of cash for Scotland here. Turn away.
Trump has made several rather worrying comments about NATO. It looks greatly as if he will push hard for all members to raise defence spending up to the target level of 2% of GDP per annum (amongst other requirements). Right now, the UK is one of only a few member countries to do this (despite slashing spending within Scotland…but that’s a story for another time). More worryingly is Trump’s threat to hang NATO allies and even members out to dry should they “fail to pay”. I believe it is time for Scotland to revisit the discussion on our independence being predicated on NATO membership. For our own security, could it be that the EU’s proposed joint defence plans offer better security than the uncertain and unreliable ‘protection’ offered by Trump? Would Scotland be a better force for good in the world if we placed our efforts into UN Peacekeeping missions rather than by being part of an alliance built up to bulwark ourselves against a Warsaw Pact which no longer even exists?
These are, of course, the earliest of days and we’re going to have to wait to see both how President Trump differs from Candidate Trump (if, indeed, they do). Who Trump places in his cabinet (I’ve heard from friends in the States that VP Mike Pence may well be the one who does most of the day-to-day work behind the throne…except his record as governor of Indiana is far from stellar both within the economic and in social policy).
My slight hope is that Trump ends up surrounded by a very thick layer of advisors who are able to..”filter”..his outbursts and orders into something that’s a little more suitable for humans living on planet Earth. If that happens, maybe we’ll just about get through this.
Postscript:- At time of writing, Clinton is still (marginally) AHEAD of Trump in the popular vote despite Electoral College going decisively to Trump. Come on America. It’s actually quite hard to create a voting system which is even worse than FPTP for selecting a single nationwide seat but somehow you’re still clinging on to it.
(Before anyone asks, my pre-result gutfeel prediction was that Clinton would win the EC and Trump would win the Popular Vote, the exact opposite of what appears to have happened. Rant still stands.)
3 thoughts on “Trump Tops It”
Hello doctor Craig.
Interesting session at ‘Be more YES Brechin’. I’ll come to that when I’ve responded to your latest blog offering.
I can’t be the only person who wasn’t surprised by the Trump election but I’m surprised at the number of pundits who called it wrong on the grounds of a complacent belief that the electorate would go for the myth of a safe pair of hands. Opinion polls again played a possibly decisive role in persuading a lot of people it was safe to not bother voting.
If I’d had a vote I’d have voted for the candidate whose idea of enlightened foreign policy is to build golf-courses rather than destroy cities.
Trump’s climate change denial is not really a problem. Elon Musk is not going to stop developing his business and solar is going to be so much cheaper than any form of fossil fuel generation. The greenest people on Earth are in the US – they just aren’t the majority yet. The ‘market’ will go green out of financial self preservation. ‘Tis pity our (UK) government can’t see the utter folly of building a white elephant park at Hinkley. Anyone want to wager a fiver? I bet it it will never produce any electricity? The government has specified the future price for nuclear power and the renewables will undercut that by a large margin. Shame we’ll still be paying for it.
Re currency for an independent Scotland. I believe you said there isn’t enough gold to operate a gold-backed currency system. I think we’re talking global here. I think if that’s what you believe then you are wrong. The rationale is that, even if there were only a finite amount of gold, it is enough. Because if you divide the amount of money you need by the amount of gold available (or vice versa) that defines the value (price) of gold. There is therefore inevitably enough by definition. What there is is what there is.
I accept you can’t eat it and it has few practical uses (King Midas realised that a while back) but as a base store of perceived and trusted value it stands alone and has done since forever. Paper money is inherently unstable and reverts to its true value over time. The new plastic fivers won’t even be useful as toilet paper!
At £973 per ounce (as I write) and with ‘free money’ flooding the world the Scottish treasury should be buying by the truck load. I think we’ll need it and when that sinks in it’ll be rather more pricey.
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