After the latest act in the extraordinary pantomime that is the Trump presidency, some are concluding that The Donald’s impeachment is just around the corner. I think they are wrong and if by any chance there were right, moves to remove the President, America could face widespread social unrest.

“It’s the economy, stupid”, was the quote hung on the Clinton campaign HQ in 1992 to keep everyone focused on what mattered. It is the same today. It is easy to get distracted by the comings and goings from the White House, but the American economy is doing well under Trump. The Dow Jones Index is at record levels, more jobs are being created, business confidence is high and growth for the year is predicted to be 6%.

Trump’s supporters in middle America either don’t care about the Russia scandal or see it as the liberal elite trying to get their hero. They voted in anger for Trump last autumn and would likely take to the streets if impeachment proceedings were started. That eventuality is unlikely anyway because both Houses of Congress are controlled by the Republicans. They are going to take some persuading to turn on their President despite his past strained relations with the party’s establishment.

So where does the Trump dynasty come from? I merely want us to think more widely about what might happen in America. It remains possible that the multiple investigations into the Russia business turn up some smoking guns that finish Trump or that his erratic behaviour becomes intolerable. It is also possible that the new Chief of Staff, John Kelly, will get a handle on the dysfunctional White House, Trump will quieten down and if the economy remains in decent shape, he could win a second term. After all there is no obvious Democratic Party challenger. Three women are being spoken of; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama (my choice) and Oprah Winfrey. Trump versus Winfrey would be a colourful race!

If The Donald successfully serves two terms, watch out for his daughter Ivanka who has far more political skill than her father. There, I’ve given you a scenario where Trumps could be in the White House till 2033. What a nightmare, no its goin’ to be great, goin’ to be great!


The excellent people at the British Election Study based at Manchester University have just published their analysis of June’s General Election. One of the most striking findings was that Labour picked up substantial support from Remain voters. This despite the fact that the party’s position on Europe was, and still is, opaque and the leader Jeremy Corbyn has always resented the EU rules that prevent state intervention to protect failing industries unfairly. Despite also the clear offer from the Lib Dems of a second referendum

The vagueness is skilful politics to try to keep on board northern Labour voters worried about immigration and southern ones who want either a soft Brexit or none. On the latter point, a recent survey funded by the Economic and Social Research Council called the Party Members Project showed a majority of Labour members now want a vote on the final EU package. Jeremy Corbyn should be pressed to move to this position. If he refuses he will be exposed for the anti-EU politician he has always been.

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Some parents won’t let their children watch coverage of the American Presidential election. I’m not surprised. On a personal level the revelations concerning Republican candidate Donald Trump’s encounters with a host of women make him unfit to hold the high office to which he aspires. On an international level the thought of this erratic man getting anywhere near the nuclear trigger doesn’t bear thinking about.

Trump is the least suitable Republican candidate since Barry Goldwater in 1964. He was trounced by Lyndon Johnson after declaring “extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice.” That sort of sentiment has run through much of Trump’s rhetoric. Talk of Mexicans being rapists, of building a wall to keep them out and banning Muslims from entering America are the modern day expressions of the ugly Goldwater campaign all those years ago.

So where is the landslide for the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton? It may come, but with a few days to go to the election some people are still talking about a Trump victory. Why isn’t America set to embrace its first woman President with the same enthusiasm that accompanied the election of its first black President in 2008?

After all, the choice is stark if one is judging the candidates on qualification for office. Hillary Clinton is a former First Lady, senator and Secretary of State. Trump has never held political office.

The answer is that with thirty years in public service, Clinton has attracted “baggage”. She is regarded as arrogant and did herself no favours by describing Trump supporters as “deplorables”. For many in the Democratic Party she is not radical enough. That is why Vermont senator Bernie Sanders put up such a strong showing against her. The biggest problem though has concerned her use of a private server for classified emails. What she did was not criminal and there is no evidence of a security breach. However it has allowed Trump to call her a crook. She had appeared to have put the problem behind her until the issue was reopened last week.

There are so many issues that this campaign should have been about; the American economy, gun control, climate change, foreign policy, policing of the African American community and health care. Instead most of the time has been taken up with Trump’s sleazy behaviour and Clinton’s emails. You can imagine dictators and theocratic tyrants around the world being reinforced in their contempt for democracy. That is why America has been demeaned by this contest.

Clinton will probably win, Trump is behind in too many of the swing states like Colorado and Ohio. Florida is in the balance and The Donald is ahead in Iowa and Ohio. However perhaps this year of surprises has one last twist. How many people have concealed their support for such a disreputable candidate as Trump?

A Clinton victory will be good for the world. A stable presence in the White House is essential. Her winning will encourage other women and girls to break the glass ceiling and she will attempt to implement a programme of social justice and international resolve

The question next Wednesday will be whether Trump accepts defeat. And how the millions of Americans bewildered by the modern economy and displaced from their jobs in coal and steel who the Trump campaign has tapped into, will react.






Perhaps fate has helped decide that Labour’s most dramatic conference in years should be held in Liverpool. The city will always be associated with the last time the party was under attack by Trotskyists with intimidation replacing reasoned debate at party meetings.

Liverpool,as a city, has been transformed since the 1980s so let’s hope television reporters don’t use too much sepia footage of the Militant rallies outside the Town Hall. The city is run by a moderate mayor with mostly moderate MPs, but they have faced party meetings where the old bullying tactics have returned along with the new phenomenon of anti-semitism.

The leader Jeremy Corbyn is probably unaware of much of this. The dirty work is done by people in his name. Corbyn points to the huge increase in Labour’s membership. In isolation it is a great achievement to have become the largest political party in Europe.But how many of them are caught up in a Corbyn fan cult unaware of the Trotskist plotting and unwilling to do the spade work alongside established members to get Labour elected?

In this year of uncertainty we have to allow the possibility of an Owen Smith victory, but let us consider the consequences of Corbyn winning again.

I have spent the summer talking to some of the 170 Labour MPs who voted no confidence in Corbyn, to see if there was an appetite for a split to form a new Social Democrat Party. I would be surprised if that happens. It is more likely that they will stay until many are deselected Labour during the boundary changes. Others will be defeated in the 2020 Conservative General Election victory.

Why is this when the need is for a centre left party embracing Lib Dems, Greens and Labour moderates to fight for Britain’s place in the European Union, social justice and responsible capitalism? One MP told me that when it came down to it, he was damned if he was going to let the Trots force him out of his party. I can respect this. It is easy for a journalist to move the pieces around the chess board of politics and not take account of the deep allegiances that MPs have to their party. I would only ask him and others to look at the bigger picture as the Tories career on with their Brexit madness, social unfairness and cuts.


How good it was to see Lib Dem delegates waving the EU flag at their conference in Brighton. They are the most pro European of the political parties and on my visit to the seaside I found them devastated by the referendum result but with a determination to fight it in a responsible way.

It would be reckless for a party with Democrats in the title to defy the Brexit vote, but they are right to demand that whatever deal is cooked up by the Three Unwise Men (Fox, Davis and Boris) must be put to the British people. They can then decide between the known reality of the EU or the Brexit deal. In the summer they chose between the EU and promises of £350m a week for the NHS and the prospect of 80 million Turks coming to stay.

Alongside Brexit the talk in Brighton was of centre left cooperation but I found it pretty unconvincing. Ex Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown was pushing his More United project. He says it isn’t a political party, more a movement. That won’t butter any politcal parsnips.

Then we had two of the most impressive women in politics, Green co-leader Caroline Lucas and Wigan Labour MP Lisa Nandy, telling a fringe meeting how much they had in common. But how could that be given politcal expression? The only idea to emerge was to find constituencies where the Greens, Labour and the Lib Dems could decide to field one strong candidate and 2 “paper” ones. Such manoeuvers insult the voters intelligence. If you stand you should always want to win.

What is required is action from the leadership of the Greens and Lib Dems along with Labour moderates to form an election pact, anything else is just meaningless hand wringing.

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The extraordinary last minute surge in people wanting to join, affiliate to or support the Labour Party ahead of the leadership election deadline, makes a Jeremy Corbyn victory very possible

Corbyn is an outlet for frustration after years of top down leadership where activists were told what the policy of the party was to be. But if Corbyn wins, what happens then? Well the first thing that will happen is the election of a Deputy Leader. The last two Deputy Leaders of the Labour Party have had important roles in a post that can often be pretty low profile. John Prescott was the party’s link with the working class and trade unions when middle class New Labour was all the rage. Since 2007 Harriet Harman has held the post being loyal to the leader and party and championing the cause of women.

Next month the deputy’s star is almost certainly going to be pinned on Tom Watson. I think it is an unimaginative choice and will leave the party with two men at the top. I discuss the other candidates below, but for the moment let us consider a Corbyn/Watson leadership because Corbyn’s opponents are already discussing how the left winger can be contained and many see Watson as the man to do it.

Watson is certainly a party bruiser with a background in the old Amalgamated Engineering Union. He called for Tony Blair to quit in 2006 and was forced to resign as Labour’s election coordinator in 2013 when he became embroiled in a row over the role of Unite in the Falkirk Labour selection contest.

One journalist has written that a Corbyn/Watson pairing would be like Trotsky and Stalin, a reference to the perception that Corbyn is an ideologue whilst Watson is a party fixer. The thought is that Watson will try and keep the party together organisationally during the expected mayhem of a Corbyn leadership.

Watson is certainly to the right of the potential leader. He wants a tougher line on immigration and Russia, and wants bigger Armed Forces. He probably has the toughness to stand up to Corbyn but it says much about the state of the party that some are looking for a deputy with the potential determination to remove his leader.


My choice for Deputy would have been Ben Bradshaw the MP for Exeter. One of the biggest challenges facing Labour is how to win in the South. In May Bradshaw’s big increase in the party’s vote in Exeter was in sharp contrast to its general failure in southern England. Bradshaw is a winner in a tough part of the country for Labour, and deserves a senior position in the party.

Liz Kendall is not going to become Labour leader and if Yvette Cooper fails too, the party will have two men in the leadership positions. This despite the fact that three credible women have put themselves forward for Deputy Leader, Stella Creasy, former minister and Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, and Wallasey’s Angela Eagle.

Eagle has been a voice of calm in recent days when many of her Labour MP colleagues have been calling for the election to be stopped or for candidates to stand down to stop Corbyn. There seems little prospect her voice will be heeded.

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