SIX MORE YEARS OF TRUMP?

STILL A BIG CHALLENGE FOR THE DEMOCRATS

50 years ago, Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States. He went down in disgrace because of the Watergate scandal. Until Donald Trump burst on to the scene, Nixon was generally regarded as the President who’d most debased the office in modern times.

Nixon was flawed by his awkward manner and paranoia, seeing enemies around every corner. But his weaknesses seem small compared to Donald Trump. In his midterm campaign, Trump ignored the good news he had to tell on the economy in favour of a racist message to get out his base vote. So toxic did it become that even Fox News refused to run one of the Republican ads. In his demeanour, attacks on the media and institutions Trump increasingly reminds me of the pouting former leader of Italy, Benito Mussolini. Trump is not a fascist, but he threatens the fabric of America. Words have consequences, especially amongst the unstable.

May I also share another nagging thought with you. Whilst in no way questioning the desperation of the people on the Central American refugee “caravan”, the timing was so convenient for Trump. Could it be that these poor people have been manipulated by shadowy figures to begin their march at this time?

This vile campaign turned off voters in the American suburbs and lost him the House of Representatives. But Trump increased the Republican majority in the Senate by getting out his base vote in the more rural areas.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama lost the House in their first terms and went on to be re-elected. This could well happen to Donald Trump. Democrat morale will be boosted by winning the House, but if they only use their majority to block the President’s measures, spend ages investigating his taxes and links with Russia or even, very foolishly, contemplate impeachment, voters will conclude they are only interested in beltway politics and not their concerns.

Added to that there is a huge debate going on within the Democratic Party about how to deal with Trump. Should they abandon their centre left posture and the acceptance of big corporate funding in favour of the socialist platform advocated by Bernie Sanders? And who is going to be the candidate? It is true that winning candidates for President can emerge from nowhere, but obvious Democratic contenders seem particularly thin on the ground at the moment. Could it be the ageing socialist Bernie Sanders, the reassuring former Vice President Joe Biden, or the narrowly defeated Texas Senate contender Beto O’Rourke?

One feels Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey would give Trump a run for his money, but they have ruled themselves out so far.

Many people who despise Trump’s crudeness nevertheless voted for him because of the economy. If that tanked the Democrats might have a chance. They have the big issue of health care which, polls show, mattered more to voters than immigration.

THE WAR THAT DIDN’T END IN 1918.

I love my history and my mind keeps going back to the momentous events exactly a hundred years ago. The collapse of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, the consequences of which we are still living with today.

We will rightly celebrate the guns falling silent on the Western Front after all that dreadful suffering. However, it wasn’t the end of the war for many. Conflicts involving Poles, White and Red Russians, Greeks and Turks went on until 1924. Indeed, conflicts arising from the Versailles peace settlement in places like the Balkans, Iraq and Syria are still not resolved.

Lest we forget indeed.

Follow me @Jim HancockUK.

IF ONLY…..

 

 

MOVE ON

If only Jeremy Corbyn hadn’t been elected leader of the Labour Party. If only people had voted to remain. If only Donald Trump hadn’t been chosen as President of the United States.

Amid the quite legitimate concerns about Corbyn’s sluggish reaction to anti-Semitism in the party, Cambridge Analytica’s role in the Brexit vote, and constant questions around Trump’s fitness for office; there is an underlying feeling that some are motivated by an inability to accept decisions of the people or party members.

DON’T REFIGHT 2016.

I desperately want to stop Brexit by parliamentary means or by a vote on the final deal. However, I don’t think the cause is helped by trawling through the alleged financial chicanery by Vote Leave. Is there the slightest prospect of the 2016 Referendum being declared void? No, so let’s focus on the major task of changing public opinion.

It is a major task because top pollsters are reporting that a year before we leave, public opinion is where it was in 2016; divided down the middle. Furthermore, pollsters believe that won’t change because people are resistant to arguments that potentially could alter their minds.

When Remain focus groups are presented with expert findings that Britain will be fine in a global market, a substantial majority not only reject the findings but also express distrust of the expert. Experts fare no better when Leave focus groups are faced with gloomy forecasts for post Brexit Britain.

So, there is work to do, but trying to invalidate the 2016 Referendum isn’t a productive course of action.

HILLARY IS HISTORY.

Turning to Trump’s victory, it is deeply disturbing to realise that the huge viral growth of slogans like “crooked Hillary” was orchestrated by Cambridge Analytica. We have had wall to wall coverage of Stormy Daniels allegations of having sex with Trump. There is also the ongoing Mueller investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

None of it matters a damn to Trump supporters who look at the improving economy and give him their approval. Again, Trump opponents should stop trawling the last election, warn people not to be fooled by orchestrated social media next time and present some convincing arguments to vote Democrat this autumn in the midterm elections.

LABOUR IS A SOCIALIST PARTY.

Finally, we come to all the flak that Jeremy Corbyn has been facing over anti-Semitism. The problem here is that Corbyn and those around him feel passionately about Palestine and rightly so. Palestine deserves to be a state and Israel should not be putting settlers into the illegally occupied territories. However, Israel has every right to exist within internationally recognised boundaries, respecting the civil rights of all its citizens.

Criticism of the Israeli government is completely legitimate but when that spills over into anti-Semitism, it is completely wrong. The problem is that some pro-Palestinian organisations that Corbyn, and his top aide Seamus Milne, support have anti Semites on their fringe.

Labour needs to act more quickly to identify and expel those who are anti Semites, campaign for a Palestine state and an Israel that once again has its own strong Labour Party.

Corbyn opponents in the Labour Party need to realise that they are now in a party that,in its internal structures, personnel and policies, is a socialist party. If they want to represent the huge disenfranchised middle ground, they need to forget the “sins” of the Lib Dems over tuition fees and questionable campaign tactics and link up with them to give the centre a voice.

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GOOD CHEER FOR FOES OF BREXIT AND TRUMP

 

IS THE CENTRE FIGHTING BACK IN THE UK AND U.S ?

 

Over the last year it has often felt that the hard right is leading the UK and USA over the cliff. President Trump’s boorish behaviour was excused by his supporters. In this country the narrow vote to leave the EU was being used by hard line Brexiteers as a licence to cut us adrift from our European friends to set up a low tax/low standard economy linked to a trade deal with Mr Trump.

Well the House of Commons and voters in Alabama have given notice that there are limits to what we’ll take. The victory for a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal and the defeat of the awful Republican candidate, Roy Moore, in the Alabama senate contest should cheer all who occupy the centre ground in politics.

These victories will not be significant on their own, but they must encourage MPs who want the British people to think again about our membership of the EU to be bolder in the face of people like Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. In America the Democrats must raise their game to inflict bad mid term results on the Republicans who will then be so spooked that they will deny Trump renomination in 2020.

These two events may be false dawns. Taking Alabama first, Roy Moore has been described as the worst Republican candidate ever fielded. With serious allegations about his sexual behaviour unresolved Moore was disowned by most of the Republican Party, apart from Trump who knows what its like to face claims of improper conduct with women. The Democrats won’t face many easy targets like Moore. That said it was their first Senate victory in Alabama in 25 years.

Now to the victory by Tory rebels which ensures parliament will have a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. You could call it taking back control of parliament’s sovereignty, a concept that will be familiar to Brexiteers. It opens the possibility that when the poor terms of Brexit are finally exposed, MPs will have a chance to say no. But much needs to happen before Remain parliamentarians would feel bold enough to reverse Brexit rather than just ask the government to renegotiate the terms of leaving.

The British people need to have a change of mind. They took the decision nearly two years ago at a dreadful time for the EU. They can now see the huge complications involved in leaving and what’s it all for. Mrs May is now signed up to a bill of forty billion, a role for the European Court of Justice over EU nationals, respect for new EU laws during the transition phase and full alignment with the single market and customs union unless we can work out a border agreement with the Irish.

If the public change their mind, the ranks of Tory rebels will grow and Jeremy Corbyn will seize the chance to change his party’s stance even though he’ll always remain a Eurosceptic.

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SIGNIFICANT BATTLE OVER GAMES

 

GOLDEN GAMES.

Next week business and council chiefs from across the North will meet to demand a fair transport deal for our region. The summit, backed by Downtown in Business, comes in the wake of a watering down of government pledges on connectivity for the Northern Powerhouse (NP) and the simultaneous approval of Crossrail 2 for London.

We’ll see what the response is from ministers. They’ll need to bear in mind that the Conservative conference is in Manchester this autumn and the issue could be an embarrassing one, if not resolved.

But there is another decision to be taken shortly which will indicate whether the NP is still a priority for the government or if the Midlands Engine is to be favoured in the future. The question before ministers is whether to back Birmingham or Liverpool as the UK’s nominee to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Liverpool bid has brought rivals together like never before. Everton’s proposed new ground at Bramley Moore Dock would host the athletics, Anfield would stage the rugby sevens. Manchester’s velodrome would be the venue for the cycling. Wayne Rooney, who has played in both cities, has just announced his support for the bid which it is hoped will accelerate a billion pounds of investment in the north docks area and 12,000 jobs.

Liverpool would be a great venue for the Games with other venues like St George’s Hall and the ACC Arena also being used. The North West has already staged one of the most successful Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and ministers should show confidence in our region again.

This is especially the case as bid chairman Brian Barwick and Mayor Joe Anderson have responded to a crisis following the withdrawal of Durban earlier this year. Liverpool originally intended to bid for 2026. Let’s hope doubts over the city’s ability to deliver to the shorter deadline won’t scupper the bid. Particular focus will be on the ability to deliver Everton’s new stadium. That saga has been dragging on for most of this century.

Birmingham already has a stadium which is the home of UK athletics and claims it is 95% ready to host the games although it does not have an Olympic size swimming pool.

Certainty about facilities being ready on time are important, but so are politics. Conservative Andy Street was recently elected as Mayor of the Birmingham City Region and will be expecting the backing of his government in this important decision.

But as the Liverpool Echo said recently “Birmingham? As the Capital of HS2 and so close to the gold-paved streets of London, they don’t need any further help.”

TRUMP’S WINK TO THE NAZIS.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the Trump family could rule America till 2033. Now I wonder if Donald Trump will last the year. The laughable clown has now become sinister. There is a difference between fully armed Nazis and Anti-Nazi protesters reacting unwisely to provocation. Trump either doesn’t understand this or regards the far right as part of his blue-collar coalition.

He is alienating the business community although the turmoil doesn’t seem to be affecting the markets. If it does, the cry for Vice President Pence to steady the ship will grow, although such a transition would be fraught with danger particularly after the scenes in Charlottesville.

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