I’m trying desperately hard not to write something about Donald, but it’s impossible not to. As I start to pen this he’s just announced he’s going to complete ‘the wall’, between the southern US states and Mexico. There is already a 700 mile section of wall – which was started in the Bush presidency and finished under Obama (yes, it takes that long). It doesn’t work, mostly because those who really want to come, come – including drug smugglers digging tunnels. The wall isn’t going to be 2,000 miles long, but just over half that, the rest covered by other natural obstacles, which do a much better job than any man-made structure. And it’s not going to cost $8bn, which Donald says it’s going to. Estimates vary between $15 and 25bn. And that doesn’t include the $700m-a-year it will cost to keep the wall in shape.
And the Mexicans – all of them (which is something as they never agree on anything), say they’re not going to pay for it. Currently Donald hasn’t made it clear how he’s going to recoup what is likely to be about 3% of Mexico’s GDP – generally countries have about 8-10% of their GDP available for public spending, so they’ll have to close a few schools and hospitals to make it work. Or sell a lot more drugs.
Then there’s the ‘alternative facts’. Apparently, now that all members of the press are liars and cheats (including the Washington Post who brought down a previous president), the White House now has ‘alternative facts’. These facts are different versions of the same facts (blue isn’t blue, it’s mauve), which the press used to report and we used to believe. It’s a clever strategy from Donald and his team. If everyone hates you, then surely they’re going to write bad things about you. Always. Every time. And that can’t be the way, surely – we can’t be wrong about everything? So, you can’t trust them. Any of them. About anything. On the other hand we can present the public with ‘alternative facts’, which, among many other things, say that more people attended the inauguration than 4 years previously, and that 3 million dead people and unregistered voters, voted for Hillary. (Dead people, it seems, are not allowed to vote.) Donald really did win the popular vote – although, he’s happy to accept that dead people don’t like him (and they’ll be more of those when the CIA start waterboarding again…)
And if painting all journalists as liars and offering alternative versions of the truth doesn’t work, then it doesn’t matter because Donald has Twitter. Which, as we know, is bombproof to fake news. The future of the world abbreviate to 140 characters; unless you tweet twice on the same subject one after immediately after the other – which, if you ask me, misses the original point of Twitter.
And then there’s the two new oil pipelines – one of them straight through an Indian funeral site. Of course, Donald is a self-proclaimed environmentalist (‘I’m a big man for the environment’). But, with China cancelling 104 coal-fired power plants this month, and with a massive stretch targets for new sustainable power sources, Donald may be backing the wrong horse.
And it’s only Wednesday.
I could go on. I won’t, but I will make a prediction. He will not get re-elected. He’s a child, and not a very bright one. In the meantime he will disappoint his supporters, weaken the US in the eyes of everyone else, and create a power vacuum that sees both the Russian and Chinese premiers rubbing their hands so hard, they’re likely to spontaneously combust. It’s such a shame.
Finally, if you have two minutes, have a look at this: Netherlands Second
For the record, two days with Mum and Dad (depressing) and now with Mary before heading off to Bristol on Friday.
Have a nice day…