Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The End Of The World

Have you ever seen that scene from The Young Ones in which Vyvyan walks around the house hitting himself over the head with a cricket bat shouting ‘armageddon, no future!’? I think we all feel a little bit like that today following Donald Trump’s bewildering US Presidential Election victory.

We shouldn’t be all that surprised by it. It’s totally in keeping with a 2016 that has seen the deaths of David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali and er……Paul Daniels and which stooped to a ludicrous low with the still baffling Brexit. By the way, has anybody actually figured out what ‘we want our country back’ means yet? If you do then please let me know, because as far as I can make out it just means that we want to catapult a lot of sane human rights legislation to the moon along with pesky things that stop rich people making even more money like maternity leave, sick pay and annual leave. Those bloody Europeans with their crazy liberal laws. Glad we’re shot of them, aren’t you? They were just getting in the way of our barely concealed bigotry in any case.

So anyway, the US election has certainly Trumped all of that. Sorry, such an obvious joke. In their wisdom the American people have managed to elect a racist, sexist champion bigot to a post they refer to as leader of the free world. Don’t you just love democracy? Of course they refer to their own basketball, baseball and American football teams as ‘world champions’ so maybe we should take their titling habits with a healthy helping of salt. Still, it’s a remarkable result all the same.

It’s possibly going over old ground to point out that Trump is a man who wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. He wants mosques kept under surveillance by law enforcement to keep an eye on those Muslims who have already gained entry or, heaven forbid, might have been born in the US. He would also like the Mexicans to pay billions of dollars to have a wall built between their country and the US to stop the flow of what he calls ‘criminals’ into the ‘land of the free’ (another shit, self-important title), and he thinks it is perfectly acceptable, desirable even, to treat women as sex objects to the point where you should, if you feel so inclined, feel quite within your rights to just cop a handful of their most private areas whenever the mood takes you. All of which makes former Republican nutcase Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Mary Poppins.

That a sub-human with a terrible wig has been elected President of the United States says little for his vanquished opponent Hillary Clinton, who right up until the early hours of this morning was expected to follow in the footsteps of straying husband Bill and sweep to the White House. She was few people’s idea of a perfect candidate. But this is America we’re talking about. It’s a conservative country in which rampant capitalism reigns supreme. You’re never going to see a President who is what we would call left-leaning. Socialism is a dirty word in the states, much like scrotum is here. Whatever ills would have been foisted upon us by Hillary pale into insignificance compared to the berserk aims of a Trump regime. There were certain controversies surrounding Hillary but they were relatively tame compared to the outrageous hate spread by Trump. So she set up a private email account when she was Secretary Of State which apparently was a threat to America’s favourite phrase, ‘national security’. It almost certainly was not, and so doesn’t rank alongside say……storming in to a room full of blokes and grabbing them by the knob as Trump would no doubt endorse. Meanwhile every scandal Trump has created has just bounced off him. Clearly America wanted something different and it was prepared to let a loudmouthed letch seize power in order to secure change, any kind of change.

But what a change. Think Nigel Farage becoming UK Prime Minister and you have some idea of the scale of barminess involved in Trump’s election. Fucking Farage can’t even win a seat in the House Of Commons which is only right and proper since he is the face and voice of UKIP, or as it is otherwise known, the fucking loony wing of the Tory party. The one vestige of hope we can hang on to is that the machinations of the American political system are so complex that they will possibly stop Trump from implementing some of his nastier ideas. Trump cannot just turn up to work on a Tuesday and sign off an order for the deportation/execution (delete as appropriate) of all those he considers unattractive, for example. Half of the insidious shadowy figures within the Republican party recognise that Trump is probably too far past the signpost marked ‘bigot’ to be a credible President while to a man (and woman) everybody in the Democrats’ number will already be thinking of ways to diminish Trump’s power. Between them the real politicians should be able to keep Trump in check.

Further hope is offered by representations of Presidents and US politics in TV drama. If The West Wing is anything to go by then White House politics consists mainly of people in smart dress talking in indecipherable political jargon while walking through corridors side by side. Meanwhile in preposterous but undeniably entertaining TV drama Scandal the President has virtually no power at all and is instead a mere mouthpiece for the decision makers scurrying all around him. If we can put our faith in scriptwriters having given us an accurate portrayal of American power games then nothing meaningful is likely to happen in the next four-year cycle. Not as a result of any decision made by Trump anyhow.

So maybe it is not the end of the world, which in one sense is a shame because I have been abusing the possibility that it might be for pretty much the whole day in work today. It’s amazing how low the bar is set for ‘banter’ when it is End Of Days. And we’re back to Arnie, aren’t we? Regrettably what the continuation of life on Earth also means is that I will probably have to sit through another episode of Victorian Bakers at some point in the near future. Or I could just wander around the house hitting myself in the head with a cricket bat.

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